Collapse of confidence in banks
As I said this morning, this is not a bank rescue plan. But if it had been, it would have failed miserably.
Barclays' share price has fallen again today. At the current price of 90p, this bank's entire market value is £7.5bn. And remember, this is a bank that said on Friday night that its profits for 2008 were considerably more than £5.3bn.
In other words, investors currently value this giant international bank at a little over one year's profits. Which is little short of extraordinary.
And let's not even mention that Royal Bank of Scotland's shares are down by more than 50%, on the supposedly reassuring news that taxpayers will be sharing in its future pain.
Confidence has drained from the banking system. And to state the obvious, today's myriad announcements from the Treasury have not succeeded in rebuilding that confidence, which is so vital to a functioning economy.
UPDATE, 04:20 PM: What's going on? Why have shares in RBS, Lloyds TSB and Barclays all been knocked?
Well investors have been well and truly spooked by the sheer size of losses at Royal Bank - especially since these have been incurred before the recession really starts to bite on the ability of households and companies in the UK to pay their debts.
But the other concern is that the banks are - in a way - in the process of being nationalised, without the bother of the government taking control of the shares.
The fear of investors is that with taxpayers providing so much support to the banks, any spoils would go to the state in the form of fees, and to UK households and companies in the form of lending mandated by the Treasury at uncommercial interest rates
As for shareholders they would receive the slimmest possible returns for years to come.