How will the U.S. government spend the $700 billion bailout funds?
What's the $700 billion bailout going to buy?

The economic crisis has everyone, not just the traders, worried.

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­Of a­ll the questions that have been on people's minds this year, particul­arly in the United States and particularly as the most financially tumultuous year in decades ends, perhaps no question was as pressing as this one -- how would the U.S. government spend the gargantuan bailout it announced in September 2008. Certainly, anxious homeowners biding their time against foreclosure wanted to know. Baby boomers sitting on depleted retirement savings wanted to know. Banks definitely, desperately wanted to know.

­So far, it's good news for the banks during the first round of the two-phase plan to dole out the funds, much to consumers' chagrin. As of the time we wrote this, about $159 billion had been awarded to a veritable who's who list of troubled banks and insurers, such as AIG, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America. Overall, the United States may spend trillions to fend off an already deepening recession. It may be too little, too late. Many worry that the bailout has set an alarming trend of looking to the government for handouts. Read more about the scary economic history that's unfolding before our eyes in How will the U.S. government spend the $700 billion bailout funds?

­That's it. We covered autism, algorithms and much, much more during our survey of the top 10 questions of 2008. We have many more stories for you on the next page if your curiosity isn't easily satisfied.