Finally, a working example of the public and private sectors cooperating to address this whole asset backed securities thing: JPMorgan Chase revealed today that it had been selected to run a program through which Federal Reserve will buy mortgage-backed securities issued by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae.

"The program, which began on January 5, 2009, will purchase up to $500 billion in MBS," a press release said.

JPMorgan will act as custodian, while four investment companies-BlackRock Financial Management, Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Pacific Investment Management Company, and Wellington Management Company-serve as investment managers, choosing which MBS to buy.

Back when the Treasury Department was still going through the motions of setting up a troubled asset relief program, it hired investment managers and custodians too. But it has nothing to show for those moves in terms of helping to stimulate the secondary markets. If the Fed MBS purchase program is successful, then one piece of the puzzle of how to orchestrate government purchases of complex securities in order to end the drop in their values could be in place.