Even as the Bush administration insists it won't risk public funds in a bailout, American taxpayers may already be liable for billions of dollars stemming from Federal Reserve and Treasury efforts to quell a financial crisis. History suggests the Fed may not recover some of the almost $30 billion investment in illiquid mortgage securities it received from Bear Stearns Cos., said Joe Mason, a Drexel University professor who has written on banking crises. Treasury's push to have Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac buy more mortgage bonds reduces the capital the government-chartered companies hold in reserve at a time when foreclosures and defaults are surging. Regulators ``are playing with fire,'' said Allan Meltzer, a Fed historian and economics professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. ``With good luck, none of these liabilities will come due. We can't expect that good luck, and we haven't had it.'' Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson were forced to respond after capital markets seized up and Bear Stearns faced a run by creditors. In an emergency action that jeopardizes the dividend it pays the Treasury, the Fed authorized a $29 billion loan against illiquid mortgage- and asset-backed securities from Bear Stearns that will be held in a Delaware corporation. JPMorgan contributed $1 billion. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aNXDBlrk1H1s&refer=home Tax payer money ? So, one part of society is paying for the other part of society ?