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Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke may find the next fronts of the financial crisis to be just as chilling as last month's downfall of Wall Street titans: its spread to corporate America and state and local governments.
Companies from Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and Duke Energy Corp. to Gannett Co. and Caterpillar Inc. are being forced to tap emergency credit lines or pay more to borrow as investors flee even firms with few links to the subprime-mortgage debacle. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger says his and other states may need emergency federal loans as funding dries up.
A cash crunch on Main Street would endanger companies' basic functions -- paying suppliers, making payrolls and rolling over debt.