Neil

Who Pays for the $700 Billion Bailout? You Already Know the Answer!

Wall Street is nervous. Main Street is angry and Congress is, what else, busy playing the blame game. The Senate is expected to vote on a new version of the $700 billion bailout tonight (Wednesday). The move comes after the House’s stunning defeat of the Bush administration’s bailout proposal on Monday. That defeat prompted the blame game as members on both sides of the aisle started their political posturing. The bottom line, right now, voters don’t care about the politics. They care about their wallet, their life savings and their family’s future. It’s time Congress paid attention.

Let me tell you how it will be
There’s one for you, nin’teen for me

Cause I’m the Tax Man
Yea I’m the Tax Man

Should five percent appear too small
Be thankful I don’t take it all

Cause I’m the Tax man
Yea I’m the Tax Man
                                          -The Beatles


Wall Street is nervous.  Main Street is angry and Congress is, what else, busy playing the blame game.  The Senate is expected to vote on a new version of the $700 billion bailout tonight (Wednesday).  The move comes after the House’s stunning defeat of the Bush administration’s bailout proposal on Monday.  That defeat prompted the blame game as members on both sides of the aisle started their political posturing.  The bottom line, right now, voters don’t care about the politics.  They care about their wallet, their life savings and their family’s future.  It’s time Congress paid attention.

Financial experts are lining up on both sides of the argument.  Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson have urged swift action on the bailout.  They use terms like “dire consequences”, “recession”, even the word “depression” is circulating as a possibility should Congress not pass some type of bailout.

Are these merely scare tactics to gain public support?  If so, it doesn’t seem to be working.  Yes, average Americans are concerned about their future.  Just take a look at what’s left in your 401K.   Still, people seem more angry than scared.  There is a growing distrust of both parties.  I have yet to see any poll suggesting support for the bailout.  Take a look at two recent WYMT on-line polls.

Do you support the government's 700 billion dollar bailout?

Yes - 15.5%
No - 73.8%
Undecided - 10.7%
Total Responses - 701

Should the government use your taxpayer dollars to bail out private firms?

Yes - 3.9%
No - 93.4%
Undecided - 2.7%
Total Responses - 486

 

Granted, these are not scientific polls but the results do represent the general conversation around the dinner table. 

Granted, these are not scientific polls but the results do represent the general conversation around the dinner table. 

I’m no financial expert.  So, I invited two well-respected financial gurus, Syndicated Columnist Don McNay and the President of the Kentucky Bankers Association, Ballard Cassady, to share their wisdom and insight on WYMT’s Issues and Answers program. They make this mess a little easier to understand.  They also provide some sound financial advice.  Here is a link to Issues and Answers if you would like to watch the interviews.

Don McNay has appeared on numerous radio call-in shows during the last two weeks.  He says there is a groundswell of public outrage.  “People don’t like the idea of the bailout.  These big corporations screwed up and now they’re getting rewarded for bad behavior.”

To an economic novice like me, there seems to be two sets of rules; one for Wall Street and another for Main Street U.S.A.  Don McNay agrees.  “The presidents of these companies are driving their companies into the ground and they’re walking away with million dollar bonuses and my thought is that if you drive your company into the ground, you go home.  If I drive my company into the ground, I go bankrupt.  I don’t have any more money.  I think if you’re running a company with taxpayer dollars involved and stockholders involved, you shouldn’t walk away with a yacht for doing that.”

The President of the Kentucky Bankers Association says parts of the bailout are a good idea.  Ballard Cassady says people have to have confidence in our economy and this bailout is a move to restore that confidence.  And while he says something needs to be done, Cassady admits he was not 100% behind everything in the original bailout package.  “I would like to see Congress slow it down a little bit, just to hear out some other issues.  The problem with that, if they slow it down too much, it’s like any other piece of legislation that goes through Congress.  It’s like a Christmas tree.  It starts out as this nice little Pine tree and then by the time it works its way through, its got all kinds of ornaments on it that you really don’t need.  My fear is the longer it stays in Congress without a decision, is the more of those ornaments, the more of the things that we really don’t need are going to be hung on it.”

Doesn’t our system of capitalism mean businesses have the right to succeed and fail?  If we take away that possibility, just because its big business; doesn’t that mean the end of traditional capitalism?

And now we get back to the blame game.  Have you noticed how the national media is no longer calling this a bailout?  Some lawmakers say the media’s characterization of the plan as a “bailout bill” hasn’t helped them win support with voters back home.  So the media is now calling this a “Financial Rescue Plan” or an “Economic Recovery Plan”.  It’s all about perception and public opinion.  The Bush administration admits it made some blunders and missteps in presenting the bailout the first time around.  Now, everyone is insisting it’s not a Wall Street bailout.  Now it’s about financial institutions.  The focus has switched to everyday Americans.  And it’s not an expenditure of taxpayer money, now they’re calling it an “investment”.

Let’s face it.  No matter what you call it, and I will avoid the lipstick on the pig analogy here, the bottom line is this; in the end … you and I … the taxpayers will ultimately pay the 700 billion dollar price tag.  Congress should have only two goals; 1) restore the markets and 2) protect the taxpayers.  This should result in long-term economic stability, greater transparency in government spending and tax cuts for working families.

Here are a couple of links I wanted to share.  Check out Don McNay’s weekly column and Syndicated Radio and Television Financial Guru Dave Ramsey has come up with “The Common Sense Fix” to our current economic crisis.

I look forward to your comments.


As always, thanks for making WYMT-TV your source for news and information.  We appreciate your trust.
 
Neil Middleton
WYMT Mountain News
Appreciate Freedom – Thank a Vet!

“You can not escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” – President Abraham Lincoln

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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