Another week, another government bailout announcement, and another push-me, pull-you week on Wall Street. Last Thursday, of course, was especially dramatic, with all the major indices vaulting to infinity -- and beyond. Not so much on Monday, however, and as of yesterday's close, the Dow was down more than 500 points since last week's pop.

A head-scratcher
What to make of the market's latest head fake? Well, for starters, at this point Webster's may have to redefine "capitalism." Even USA TODAY -- America's newspaper, judging from the thousands of crumpled copies that can currently be found in airline waiting areas everywhere -- has weighed in with a riposte to bailout fever.

In last Friday's edition, a sardonic headline writer summed up the accompanying article this way: "U.S. bends the rules of free markets." Three paragraphs in, after a review of the "tough love" stance we've taken in relation to other countries' economic meltdowns, a California State University economist puts it succinctly: "We're not doing what we preached."

You can say that again!
Setting aside, for a moment, any consideration of the financial tsunami we'd likely face without the miles of safety net Uncle Sam keeps unfurling, that econ prof has it exactly right.

The government's actions are dubious on at least two fronts. (1) They invite "moral hazard" by signaling to reckless risk-takers that U.S. taxpayers will pick up the tab for their bad bets. (2) What's next? With each bailout, the government's money men further erode their credibility, diminishing the ability of their Green Lantern-esque power rings to ward off impending financial disaster with yet another blast of cash.  

In other, pop-culture words -- and to quote the ever-quotable Elvis Costello -- "How many times can you jump out of the cupboard / Before someone gets suspicious / Or someone gets discovered?"

Dukes of Moral Hazard
That said, I'm no moral-hazard purist. Indeed, when the likes of Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-B) great Warren Buffett and PIMCO's Bill Gross have sounded supportive tones about the government's aggressive response, I'm loathe to second-guess them. Buffett, of course, is in a party of one when it comes to real-deal investment luminaries, and not for nothing does Gross preside over PIMCO Total Return (PTTAX), a fixed-income fund that boasts more than $130 billion in assets under management.

On the topic of Freddie and Fannie, for instance, Buffett recently opined, "The government really had no choice. For years, they have encouraged the belief that there is an implicit guarantee behind Freddie and Fannie’s guarantee of mortgage instruments.”

Gross was, as ever, colorful in his own reaction: "Investors are saying, 'We want to see [the Treasury] in there with us.'" He argued that the Treasury will have to "swim in the pool, not just be a lifeguard."

So given the market turmoil that's emanating from the meltdowns, bailouts, and turnovers, what, pray tell, are these two mavens investing in?

Aside from the just-announced investment in Goldman Sachs, which will give Berkshire a substantial stake in the company if it exercises stock warrants, Berkshire has also recently made a $4 billion investment in Dow Chemical (NYSE:DOW).

At the end of June, Berkshire's stock stake found dyed-in-the-wool blue chip General Electric (NYSE:GE) -- which sports a price-to-earnings ratio that falls below the broader market's -- plunked down beside comparative upstart CarMax (NYSE:KMX), a company whose stock was more than 30% below its 52-week and five-year highs as of last Friday's market close. Financial concerns Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) and American Express (NYSE:AXP) are represented in the Berkshire lineup as well.

As for Gross, at the end of June, Total Return held a significant stake in debt issued by Fannie Mae (NYSE:FNM). Fannie debt, of course, came up smelling like a rose in the aftermath of the government bailout. Coincidence? We report, you decide.

Follow the leaders?
Money managers like these have made their reputations the hard way -- they’ve earned them -- and while, as every prospectus fan knows, past performance is no guarantee of future success, savvy types have to like their chances. I know I do.

That said, there is a clutch of companies -- and mutual funds -- whose prospects I'm even more sanguine about, and we've brought them all together in the Fool's newest investment service, Ready-Made Millionaire. The Fool has invested a million bucks in our compact, set-and-forget lineup, and we think it's an ideal portfolio for busy investors who don't have time to conduct their own deep-dive research, much less discern the market's head fakes from its next legitimate bull run.

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Shannon Zimmerman runs point on Ready-Made Millionaire and owns shares of Fannie Mae, but none of the other securities mentioned above. American Express, CarMax, and Berkshire Hathaway are Motley Fool Inside Value recommendations. Dow is an Income Investor choice. Berkshire Hathaway is also a Stock Advisor choice. The Motley Fool owns shares of American Express and Berkshire Hathaway. You can check out the Fool's strict disclosure policy by clicking right here.