Streams

Bailout Fallout

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The NY and NJ delegation had a big effect on the defeat of the bailout plan. Republican Scott Garrett (R-NJ 5th) and Democrat Jose Serrano (D-NY 16th) voted against the proposal, while Democrat Gregory Meeks (D-NY 6th) and Republican Vito Fossella (R-NY 13th) voted for it.

Guests:

Vito Fossella, Congressman Scott Garrett, Gregory Meeks and Jose Serrano

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Comments [52]

Payday Loan Advocate from Washington

In 2006, both current presidential candidates, Barack Obama and John McCain, gave ardent support to a bill that took away a select group’s access to no fax payday loans. The bill, which went into law in October of 2007, capped the interest rates that payday loan stores could charge military personnel at 36 percent. The reasoning behind such a measure stemmed from an increasing number of American soldiers in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, National Guard, and other branches, discovering that loans had been taken out, in their names, without their knowing. Sometimes, they wound up being victims of identity theft. Other times, their spouses took out loans in their names without their consent, and then defaulted on them. Even worse, claims were made and accepted by the public that members of the military, who traditionally are low-income folk, also have little to no fiscal know-how. Therefore, in the interest of preventing these folks from compromising their security clearance, the government ruled in favor of the measure. Now, Obama has gone on record, declaring that he supports a measure that would impose the same interest cap for everybody, thus driving the entire industry out of the country. With the option of financial freedom at stake, think about this before casting your vote.

Oct. 21 2008 02:29 AM
McPrimm from Kansas

I am one of the "common men". No millions stashed away, no corporate parachute awaits, did save a bit through frugal living. A pessimistic optimist, I pondered on a few clear points.
A. Could those who grabbed millions in these schemes have predicted what would eventually happen? Well, yes.
B. Could they have orchestrated the market through massive sell-offs into this "crash"?
Well, yes.
C. Could they have predicted government bailout in response to their combined massive sell-off "crash"? Well, yes.
D. Will they indeed benefit from government intervention? Well, yes.
E. With their millions stashed away, will they benefit from being able to re-buy all the stocks that the scared masses sold at a loss? Well, yes.
F. Will they ever be brought to justice for what they have done (by their friends and cohorts)in the mass confusion that followed their deeds?
G. Will the common man continue to invest in the market once the current "crisis" is solved at the expenses of all the commonmen?

Oct. 12 2008 10:55 AM
A. Flynn from Bergen County, NJ

Yes I too am angry about the bailout or rescue or whatever they are calling it today. However I really do think that we Americans need to do a little self examination regarding our part in all this. I live in northern Bergen county NJ--land of the shopping malls-- and on the very day they were to vote on the first bailout plan --the one that had all the urgency and dire warning of the collapse of the world--the shopping malls had traffic backed up onto the highways of people trying to get in to spend more money most likely on CREDIT CARDS! I just don't think Americans think this has anything to do with them or their spending habits. Yes this is a bailout--not only of the fats cats but of the average joe's. Instead of politicians arguing about teaching sex ed in kindergarten maybe they should start teaching finance!

Oct. 02 2008 10:10 AM
christian from brooklyn

Regarding previous comments, what did Nancy Pelosi say that was untrue?

The Senate proposal is superficially revised, still represents the most colossal transfer of wealth from taxpayers to corporations that exploited, pillaged and bet on a bailout.

A horrendous deal for the citizens of this country. Paulson is acting like the Master of the Universe, head of government and Wall Street combined. He is a huge part of the problem, cannot be trusted to be part of the solution and should be replaced with Paul Volcker. Rep. de Fazio of Oregon has proposed the best plan of action I've heard thus far.

Oct. 01 2008 11:22 AM
Myriam F. from New York


Dear Mr. Lehrer,

Well, here we are a whole day after the NO vote. I am delighted to see the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Accounting Standards Board, and the FDIC actually doing their jobs. Apparently, all of the above are working on some provisions to protect US depositors--you know, normal people like you and I. A bit of regulation will not kill the markets and might actually deal with part of the problem.

Perhaps overnight, during the much-needed pause, people read dissenting commentaries, such as the article by Nobel-laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz (mores recent issue of The Nation - http://www.thenation.com/doc/20081013/stiglitz). Stiglitz has warned about adopting JUST ANY BAILOUT. He writes: "If we design the right bailout, it won't lead to an increase in our long-term debt--we might even make a profit. But if we implement the wrong strategy, there is a serious risk that our national debt--already overburdened from a failed war and eight years of fiscal profligacy--will soar, and future living standards will be compromised."

Between the views of Stiglitz or Paulson/Bush & Co., the choice seems clear. The 48-hour delay, if used wisely may only benefit the American taxpayer. It appears the Senate will have a vote on Weds.

*Love your show!*

Sep. 30 2008 09:50 PM
voter

thank you for those who thought thru this bill...i like the idea that money problems can take us beyond the political b.s... i am def considering voting for those who voted against this bill irrelevant of their party affiliation. please continue to consider the problem holistically rather than as a patchwork type of thing to be fixed immediately... this is not a bleeding artery or something, the health of the entire economy is dependent on thoughtful legislations taking it piece by piece rather than as one document. thank you to the house of representatives for not letting us people on the main street down!!

Sep. 30 2008 07:08 PM
Peterson from Westchester

Serrano and Meeks are great examples of why approval of Congress is less than 10%. Their ignorance of economics is breathtaking and that fact that they have power is disheartening.
Markets work far better than self-interested politicians.

Sep. 30 2008 05:54 PM
eva

Seth,
thanks, I'm sure they already thought of it, tho!
It's a great article, kind of an amazing scoop for the reporter - how many people get to interview such articulate pirates? It's very strange reading the article, tho, because you get the impression that, as they are joking around, these guys are in denial about the seriousness of their situation... I mean, do they really think they are going to get away with it? I imagine they'll meet an unfortunate ending...

Sep. 30 2008 04:14 PM
seth from Long Island

#43

Nicely done Eva. You have a good sense of humor.
You should forward this to Jay Leno, David Letterman, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Bill Maher, Conan O'Brien, Craig Ferguson, and Jimmy Kimmel.

Sep. 30 2008 02:33 PM
eva

here's the money quote from today's NYTimes exclusive on Somali pirates:

"Mr. Sugule said that his men are treating the crew
members well (the pirates would not let the crew
members speak on the phone, saying it was against
their rules). “Killing is not in our plans,” he said.
“We only want money, so we can protect ourselves from hunger.”

When asked why the pirates needed $20 million to
protect themselves from hunger, Mr. Sugule laughed
over the phone and said: “Because we have a lot of
men.”

end quote.

(Replace "crew members" with "congressional morons"
and replace "Sugule" with "Paulson".)

Sep. 30 2008 01:49 PM
robert from new york

dear mr. lehrer

hi,
in these days of "country first" slogans delivered by president nominees how looked members of house of representatives, going for the vacation in the time, when their country was in crisis. i was and still am so disappointed, not to use the stronger word. how can we trust these people in a future? robert

Sep. 30 2008 12:39 PM
Stef from LI NY

End the "Party System"

We have laws against price fixing why not government fixing ? When I think about how many millions of people there are in the US and I watch the debate I wonder where the "American Freedom" is.

1. Get rid of the long standing divide of Dems & Reps. I fail to see the benefit to the American people of having two leading parties. Let politicians stand on what they and the people who elect them believe in. Too many times good people don't get elected because people vote their party and those people who get elected vote their party who in turn as a party put forth their candidate. I find it hard to believe that among the millions of Americans that these are the best two people ? You want to fix Washington ? Get rid of the two party system. How many Fortune 500 companies have grown with two CEO's ?

2. Taxes - The current tax system only continues to fuel a divided country. Forbes in my opinion hit it on the head when he proposed a flat tax or VAT as the rest of the globe has already figured out.

Pay the taxes when you spend it and let's get rid of all of this waste of time. Rich people will always be rich and buy expensive things and pay more taxes. Poorer people will not spend as much and pay less.

US politics has displaced passion for reality tv !

Sep. 30 2008 12:30 PM
eva

6, Tony,
Let's concede that New York was a world leader before the "financialization" of the US economy, which has created more problems than it has solved. Yes, New York, like London and Shanghai, has traditionally relied on finance. But financialization at this level was unsustainable. It's time to come up with a new plan.
Note that a few things are already in place.
1) infrastructure - no matter how much you complain about it, the subways, already constructed, provide something the rest of the country doesn't have and NEEDS - cheap and efficient transportation that doesn't rely on gross amounts of fossil fuel.
2) an educated and diverse workforce that should be able to adapt to new challenges - and innovate
3) the sheer amount of work that needs to be done. I've read recently that NYC is the most fuel-INefficient city in this country, I'm guessing a lot of that has to do with antiquated heating systems that can be remodeled. This is the time to do it. (Also the obscene amount of air conditioning that runs all summer - bear in mind that for most of its history, New York didn't require ANY air conditioning, much less absurdly cold offices and stores.)
4) better leadership. Don't laugh. Bloomberg is one of the more far-sighted leaders in this country right now. (And yes, I know how he made his money.) But his longterm environmental and public health goals are wisely geared toward reducing unnecessary costs.

Sep. 30 2008 11:48 AM
seth from Long Island

We need a better class of politicians in Congress.

We should be able to trade in Pelosi and the Republicans who claim their feelings were hurt for grown-up statesmen.

At a time of great crisis, Congress is filled with stupid, selfish, obnoxious, good for nothing, Democrat and Republican partisan hacks.

Sep. 30 2008 11:47 AM
mc from Brooklyn

seth,
You may be right vis-a-vis Nancy Pelosi. However, I think it may be too much to ask the Dems to swallow this, push this bill through, and say nothing about how we got here. And my support of the Dems at this point is lukewarm.

The deregulators pooped in the pool and now they don't want to be held accountable.

Sep. 30 2008 11:33 AM
Alex from bk

Rachel from Brooklyn is absolutely right. This bailout does nothing for anyone if it does pass (despite all suggestions to alter it). Yes there does have to be regulation on sordid financial practices, however most regulation of the free market system just forces harsh trade restrictions which keep prices up. The problem is too much credit and inflation. Prices go up based on false/fixed determinations of their market value. Bottom line is the country is in trillions of dollars of debt. We have to live within our means. That doesn't mean we exactly have to reduce spending, only if the market prices are allowed to rightfully drop and balance out. From there we can have a more responsible use of credit lending. How long did this country survive by people saving their money and using credit wisely? A long time. If people profit, then government can profit and hopefully save funds to deal with issues such as poverty, education, industry and defense. Clinton actually made a good point that when we had a surplus so many years ago, we could've put that money into the auto market and helped develop alternative energy vehicles, which would have put people back to work, restored our standing as an industrious exporter of high quality goods, and helped people save gas money and spend more.

Sep. 30 2008 11:28 AM
eva

Seth,
I only partially agree.
I think the congress should be locked in a room.
I'm not sure I care what happens to them after that.

Sep. 30 2008 11:25 AM
seth from Long Island

Shame on Nancy Pelosi for her stupid, childish, over-the-top, obnoxious, partisan speech. I'm a Democrat and I'm disgusted by her lack of professionalism, her lack of common sense, and her lack of good judgement.
Shame on Hank Paulson for asking for dictatorial powers.
The Dem and Repub Congressional should be locked in a room and not released until they reach an agreement

Sep. 30 2008 11:07 AM
Bob

Meeks is one of the enablers of the Franklin Raines led Fannie Mae that encouraged sub prime loans to lower credit worthy borrowers that is what caused this mess! In 2004 as a member of the House Finance Comt. he belittled Dir. Amando Falcon when he called Fannies lending practices into question. If you go to this web address you can see for yourself how culpable the Dems are. patdollard.com/2008/09/2004-dems-say-no-crisis-here/

Sep. 30 2008 11:02 AM
SF from NYC

If most of American wealth is owned by the 10 percent of Americans. Why cant they, the people who have benefited the most from Bush/Republican free market principles, bail us out?
Oh sorry... they are busy shopping on Madison Avenue or maybe yachting in the Hamptons. Lets not bother them.

Sep. 30 2008 10:56 AM
anonyme

why is everybody so sure that capitalism is the only way? For a long time, western Europeans have lived waaaaaaaaaay better than we do in social democracies (5 week vacations, health care, universities)

Sep. 30 2008 10:55 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

Lots of luck congressman Serrano.

Sep. 30 2008 10:54 AM
Mike from NYC

So when we're in the middle of the biggest downturn since the Great Depression, where does Rep Serrano think the revenue to fund his constituents assistance is going to come from? This $700b is nothing compared to the losses to the coffers if it's not passed.

Sep. 30 2008 10:42 AM
Michael from NYC, Inwood

What about the 10 Trillion dollar Federal Debt that we already owe. When the world cuts up our National credit card will that not cause hyper inflation?

Sep. 30 2008 10:42 AM
Ken from Brooklyn

The issue is not "putting partisan politics aside". The issue is putting flawed economic ideology aside.

Most Republicans that voted down the package said that they "voted on principle." Now I'm not saying that the bailout package will work, but Republican Economic principles including Trickle Down Economics are fundamentally flawed. Free Market Economics with limited or no-regulation hurt 90 percent of Americans.

Maybe the entire economy needs to fail in order for all of us to get the message. I hope it doesn't, but it is time for the Republicans and their supporters to take responsibility.

Once we put aside failed principles, then in true American spirit we can come together and create something better.

Sep. 30 2008 10:41 AM
KC from NYC

It's pretty telling that representatives who are up for re-election voted against this bill, pretty much across the board. If that's what it takes for reps to actually represent the will of the people, that's too bad, but hey, I'll take it.

This was a terrible plan, manufactured "panic" or not. If we're going to spend money like this, we need something a lot better than "passable", or we need to let the market correct itself, catastrophic as that may turn out to be. I don't often say this, but good job, Congress.

Sep. 30 2008 10:40 AM
Emm from NY, NY

I learned in grammar school about "caveat emptor"... "let the buyer beware". I have little sympathy for the over mortgaged homeowners and the greedy who were persuaded by their real estate and mortgage agents that it wasn't too good to be true... they could own the home of their dreams.

Despite my disdain for the overspending Americans who are just as responsible for this mess as the greedy lenders, this problem reaches far deeper into the American economy. What happens when companies can't get the short term loans and other cash that is fundamental to how to do business? They go out of business. More people lose jobs. So even the responsible home owners face unemployment and the inability to pay their mortgages.

I'm VERY disappointed that congress can't get their act together to figure out a bailout and quick. There is no time in this context to go from the bottom-up.

Sep. 30 2008 10:39 AM
Hugh from Crown Heights

Two example in support of Jose Serrano:

If Congress wanted to help regular folks, they would kill the bankruptcy legislation they passed a couple of years ago (which served only the interests of creditors).

Congress could also restore the notion of usurious loan terms -- killed in the early years of the Reagan regime. There is NO LEGAL LIMIT on the interest we can be charged on credit card debt. NOR is there any limit on when or how often credit card issuers can raise interest rates.

Sep. 30 2008 10:37 AM
RJ from Brooklyn

But Paulson gets to hire whomever he wants to carry out the bailout. Why not carry it out the way it *should* be--through appointees of our elected officials, *not* through hired 3rd parties??? They have an interest in their own profit, an add-on cost we don't need to pay. Elected officials' appointees have salaries, *not* fees!

Sep. 30 2008 10:35 AM
John from Joisey

If I never heard the words "Wall Street" and "Main Street" in the same sentence again, it will be TOO SOON.

Sep. 30 2008 10:34 AM
RJ from Brooklyn

There need to be 4 points that do not seem to have been considered in the plan:
1) No contracting out of any of the necessary functions of the bailout; the appropriate federal agency *must* conduct the work itself, whether Treasury, SEC, etc.
2) There must be a revival of relevant regulatory statutes--such as Glass-Steagall--and the knowledgeable people hired to carry out the essential oversight.
3) There must be *major* penalties for any violation of these rules.
4) There must be a similar, *direct* "bailout" of the distressed homeowners in danger of losing their homes, whose incomes can therefore be directed into their local economies, thereby helping to stabilize local businesses.

Sep. 30 2008 10:31 AM
rachel from brooklyn

This is not a path to socialism-this is a path to fascism...

Unchecked nationalism is always dangerous... the stock markets are falling because the political machine is instilling fear in the people. Let's all take a deep breath... turn off our TV's and think about what this bill means.

From The Grand Council of Fascism Article 9

"State intervention in economic production may take place only where private initiative is lacking or is insufficient, or when are at stakes the political interest of the State. This intervention may take the form of control, encouragement or direct management."

Sep. 30 2008 10:27 AM
norman from nyc

Here's another question David Cay Johnston said you should ask:

If AIG and others are too big to fail, what does that tell us about government anti-trust policy and regulatory policy and inaction?

More at
http://poynter.org/forum/view_post.asp?id=13610

You can also hear an interview with Johnston in the latest episode of On The Media.

Sep. 30 2008 10:26 AM
norman from nyc

Here are the questions David Cay Johnston said you should ask:

Do we need a bailout of American and foreign banks? Show us in detail the reasons for this, and the numbers: make the case.

Is there a market solution to this? If so, why impose a government solution? If not what does that tell us about our entire economic theory?

Is there a less expensive solution?

How do we know this will not just be a downpayment on a much bigger
bailout?

Is there a solution that provides direct help to those who took out these loans, rather than those who sold them?

More at

http://poynter.org/forum/view_post.asp?id=13610

Sep. 30 2008 10:23 AM
norman from nyc

Here again for your conveninece is a link to David Cay Johnston's letter, which was discussed in On The Media this weekend.

http://poynter.org/forum/view_post.asp?id=13611

From DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: Journalists, start your skepticism.

In covering the proposed $700 billion bailout of Wall Street don't repeat the failed lapdog practices that so damaged our reputations in the rush to war in Iraq and the adoption of the Patriot Act. Don't assume that Congress must act instantly, as so many news stories state as if it was an immutable fact. Don't assume there is a case just because officials say there is.

The coverage of the Paulson plan focuses on the edges, on the details. The focus should be on the premise. And be skeptical of what gullible Congressional leaders, most of them up before the voters in a few weeks, say after being given a closed-door meeting on supposed horrors.

(continued at Poynter)

Sep. 30 2008 10:22 AM
Elisabeth Thibideau from Valley Stream Long Island

I realize i am pretty ignorant about financial matters, but is it such a bad thing if credit is harder to come by? I have 2 children in college who are racking up thousands of easy-credit loans. This is with no guarantee that at the end the degree will produce wages which enable them to pay off the loan in any reasonable time period. Would colleges have been able to ratchet up their costs over the last few years at a pace which far outpaces inflation if this easy credit were not there for the taking? Maybe harder-to-obtain credit is merely credit which is based on reality.

Sep. 30 2008 10:20 AM
gary g from NYC

quoted from Nina Easton's article in CNN-Money

"there are plenty of economic experts to choose from on the other side, starting with the
group of 200 economists who signed a letter opposing the Paulson plan. Former FDIC Chairman William
Isaac was on the Hill yesterday, peddling his own, radically more limited federal assistance plan, to the
House Republican Study Group."

Listen to Congressman Peter DeFazio...of Oregon
why not have him as a guest as well as William Isaac...

Sep. 30 2008 10:17 AM
Michael from NYC

We couldn't afford the S-chip.
We must privatize social security.
Don't even mention the cost of health care for all Americans.

But sure, we can without a thorough debate throw 700 Billions to keep a bubble filled.

How come everybody's not reading the Shock doctrine on the subway?

Sep. 30 2008 10:14 AM
Hugh from Crown Heights

That Vito Fosella -- liar and philander -- should have voted for the bailout boondoggle tells us a good deal.

The Washington criminal class likes the bill. Enough said.

Sep. 30 2008 10:14 AM
Wendy Caster from Manhattan

We Can Only Lose

Without some sort of government intervention, our economy probably is genuinely in trouble.

But would we really be any better off with an intervention? That 700 million would quickly turn out to be a trillion or more. Where would we get it? Would the govt raise interest rates on bonds to entice more foreign capital--and thereby slow down the economy and leave us even more in debt? Or would it just print more money, eroding our salaries and savings?

I'm very glad that the house of reps said no. Yes, something needs to be done, but, no, the powers-that-be can't just shove a ill-thought-out bill down our throats.

Brian, you are an American hero. Wendy Caster

Sep. 30 2008 10:13 AM
smidely


didn't npr learn anything from "the runup to the war?" ANALYZE! THINK!

Stop talking about congress already (in a crisis wouldn't they be meeting, anyway?)

I suggest you copy Leonard and talk about Tuna fish today.

Sep. 30 2008 10:04 AM
AWM from UWS

This entire saga, from deregulation to the creation, positive rating and circulation of financial instruments based on valuless mortgages to this "we don't know if it will work but we don't have any other options" bill, is based on a recurring theme. Those who are in power or hold economic power operate in a different world than "Main Street." However, this is perpetuated by the fact that "Main Street" is, by and large, uninformed about what happens in the world beyond their street... many are just plain ignorant.

So, as with the phony lead up to the Iraq disaster, "Main Street" is now playing catch up. And rather than learning about why this bailout is necessary in some form, the consequences of not having a bill and how it affects them, they call their Congressperson and scream about bailing out Wall Street.
The ignorance is palpable and as toxic as the CDOs and MBSs that have poisoned the financial system.

Sep. 30 2008 10:03 AM
LeeNYC from New York City

Bailout Loses - Democracy Wins

While most agree action is needed re: the financial turmoil (and was needed long before this), the vote gives many hope that we still live in a Democracy.

We've seen this movie before: the Administration uses fear and crisis to
demand unprecedented powers (Iraq war, Patriot Act, wiretap legislation). For Congress to rush to judgment on this, without considering viable alternatives, makes a sham of our Constitutional process. No wonder so many protested. At least this time, Congress did
its job to represent the People.

Hopefully, Congress can come up with a real counter-proposal, and not just a watered down version of the Bush-Paulson plan.

Thank you.

Sep. 30 2008 09:58 AM
SF from NYC

How 'bout this-

Take out all executive pay from the bill. I think men who make millions of dollars over the years will survive one year without another million or billion. most of us survive on 40,000 a year. I think they can too.

Just put enough cash back in the system to keep home owners and working people afloat.

Sep. 30 2008 09:49 AM
Susan from Kingston, New York

The US Congress needs to step up to the plate and revise this legislation to protect the middle class in this country. Smart regulation needs to be reimposed over the markets and negotiations need to go forward to address the mortgage crisis and foreclosures. There also needs to be limits on the power of the Secretary of Treasury.

Sep. 30 2008 09:42 AM
jennifer from manhattan

Who could be truly surprised by this result? Politicians and talking heads alike have been saying for weeks that the current crisis was caused by "wall street greed" and "fat cats" and "wheeler dealers" with absolutely no macroeconomic context. Here in America we can't help ourselves but to turn everything we don't understand into a moral issue of "bad and "good" -- even the securitization of adjustable rate mortgages!

What was really needed was a 60 second animated commercial exlaining the whole shebang to mom and pop coffeeshop owner. Maybe Mr. Paulson could do it as Mr. Magoo.

Sep. 30 2008 09:37 AM
Tony from Brooklyn

Eva(2),
New York City is the greatest city on earth. It's the greatest city on earth because of its restaurants and museums and cultural institutions and the people who are drawn here from around the world. NONE of that exists without Wall St. I subscribe to several theatre/dance companies each year and not once have I noticed that those companies were supported in any significant way by nail salons, food co-ops, and taxi drivers. NYC runs on the fuel that Wall St. provides. Without Wall St., we're Cleveland with a more educated and diverse populace.
Sharp, tenacious, and decent don't make NYC what it is in the 21st century. Being the global center of capitalism which allows it to be a cultural capital as well makes NYC what it is.
Having said that, I'm very much enjoying the schadenfreude of vile disgusting yuppies and their misfortune. Its not these individuals who make a contribution to NYC. It's the institutions that they work for.
The democrats should use this crisis to undo as much McCain/Graham/Bush laissez-faire deregulation caused damage as they possibly can. Then they should promptly pass this bill. Without it the economy comes to a grinding and (more) painful halt.

Sep. 30 2008 09:31 AM
Mike from Brooklyn

cont'd

All I can hope is that if Paulson and Bush do manage to get this transfer of wealth from the middle class to the rich passed, I hope that there is some follow-up legislation that addresses the real root cause of the problem: American families who can't pay their mortgage's and are in danger of foreclosure. Maybe then all these mortgage backed securities that the government buys with OUR money will be woth something.

Sep. 30 2008 09:24 AM
Mike from Brooklyn

Dear Congresspersons and Brian,

I can let you all in on something VERY obvious to the American citizenry: If this "bail-out" legislation had some money set aside to help the homeowners actually holding these "sub-prime" mortgages and requirements that the courts be allowed to force the banks and mortgage companies to renegotiate the terms and rates of these mortgages, I'm sure that it would sail through both houses of Congress.

Those of you who would prefer to blame these mortgage holders for "getting in over their heads" are missing the point. These people didn't lie on their applications, the banks and mortgage simply DIDN'T CARE anymore about the time honored rules of making good solid loans: Employment and credit history, realistic ability to pay, etc. All these criteria were thrown out the window and I won't even go into the predatory lending, where borrowers were simply lied to.

I'm not the type who usually believes in the "wisdom of the common man", but in this case, American voters - and armies of economists - who are overwhemingly opposed to the structure of this legislation are spot on.

cont'd:

Sep. 30 2008 09:24 AM
Rob from Stockholm

Well, I sure feel better seeing President Bush looking like a deer caught in the headlights. He so clearly wants to jump on the bike and ride back to the ranch. What a mess.

Sep. 30 2008 03:29 AM
eva

To read the comments of Myriam F, above, and other WNYC listener/posters in response to the bailout over the last few weeks is to realize what a tremendous amount of human capital exists in New York. People who are sharp, tenacious, and... decent.
I think it was one of Bloomberg's aims to diversify the economy in New York City. Obviously, that hasn't been easy amid the "financialization" (Kevin Philips' term) of the US economy - with New York as one of its loci.
Whether or not the bailout gets approved this week (I believe it will in the next few weeks), the New York economy will be drastically changed.
But I have every confidence that New Yorkers will do what they should have been urged to do post-9/11:
Rebuild New York from the bottom up. Make it green. Make it efficient. Keep it the center of learning. Like Norman Mailer suggested during his New York mayoral run, fundamentally change the way the city interacts.

Sep. 30 2008 01:27 AM
Myriam F. from New York


Dear Rep. Hinchey,

Although markets will suffer with yesterday's NO vote in the House of Representatives, it is important to think about this as a much needed pause to present a better bill to the American people. The US Congress needs to DEMAND the following items in any future bailout bill: a) accountability provisions so Wall St. cannot spend my money in whatever way they want; b) regulatory provisions to help fix the mess we are in; and c) assistance to help people who (like my parents) are struggling to be responsible and pay their mortgage every month.

I believe that, in spite of Paulson's irresponsibility and Pelosi's lack of leadership, it can be done.

Myriam F.
New York

Sep. 30 2008 12:08 AM

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