Federal government help for Bear Stearns and other Wall Street firms increases the chance that assistance for those facing foreclosure will be approved http://money.cnn.com/2008/03/26/news/economy/bailout/index.htm?postversion=2008032614 NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The federal government is keeping Bear Stearns out of bankruptcy. Are you next? Momentum for federal assistance to struggling homeowners, a non-starter with the Republican administration and many members of Congress only a few months ago, has picked up steam in Washington. The tipping point came March 16, when the Federal Reserve agreed to back up to $30 billion in Bear Stearns (BSC, Fortune 500) losses as part of JPMorgan Chase's (JPM, Fortune 500) fire sale purchase of Bear Stearns. (The Fed cut its guarantee by $1 billion earlier this week when JPMorgan boosted its offer for Bear.) "I think there's a growing populist feeling that if you're going to bail out Bear Stearns you better bail out individuals," said Greg Valliere, political economist with the Stanford Group, a Washington think tank. And some consumers clearly are in an uproar about the bailout. According to a Reuters report, about 60 protesters entered the lobby of Bear Stearns's New York headquarters Wednesday and made a fuss about how consumers needed more help from the government than Wall Street investment banks. The Bear Stearns deal isn't the Fed's only direct exposure to the problems in the financial markets either. The Fed also announced earlier this month that it would make billions in loans directly to Wall Street firms at the Fed's so-called discount rate, a right previously reserved for commercial banks. In addition, the Fed has said it will now accept troubled mortgage-backed securities as collateral on up to $200 billion in loans to Wall Street. But some economists think the Fed's moves are only the beginning. Mark Zandi, chief economist with Moody's Economy.com., said he thinks the Fed is telling the presidential administration that more needs to be done to fix the mortgage mess.