Paulson's plan would not be the largest government intervention in the private economy since World War II. That distinction still belongs to Richard Nixon's imposition of wage and price controls in August 1971. True, Paulson would socialize unprecedented amounts of private debt, but Nixon asserted control over the entire economy. What's fascinating are the possible parallels between the two episodes, starting with a shared irony: Both came from administrations committed to "free markets."
Robert Samuelson offers an interesting observation, as always. He adds:
The rescue is being constructed so hastily that it may include all manner of flawed provisions: too much power for the Treasury secretary; authority for bankruptcy judges to modify mortgages. Congress faces a wrenching dilemma, imposed on it by financial markets and Paulson. If it dawdles, it may invite the panic that Paulson has brazenly predicted. But if it acts quickly, it may create a monster whose full implications emerge only with time.