September 22nd, 2008
09:06 PM ET

Evening Buzz: "Mother of all Bailouts"

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer
$700,000,000,000. There's a lot of debate over all those zeros. The Bush administration and congressional leaders are trying to hash out details of the proposed $700 billion bailout for America's financial firms.

"This is the mother of all bailouts", said Senator Richard Shelby, R-Alabama.

Democrats are demanding some changes. They want more government ownership of the companies the government would rescue, more congressional oversight of the Treasury Department and help for Americans facing foreclosure. There's also disagreement between Democrats and the Treasury over so-called "golden parachutes", the fat cat payouts to company executives when they are let go.

There's also this big question: Is the crisis so urgent there is no time to read the fine print?

Tonight, we'll talk in-depth about the proposal.

In the meantime, share your thoughts. Do you think this is the right step?

Tonight, we'll also look at John McCain and Barack Obama's financial ties. Remember Fannie Mae and Freddic Mac? Well, both campaigns have their connections to the mortgage lenders. We're keeping them honest.

And, we'll also give you an up close look at the man of the hour: Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. He's the one asking all of us to take a tremendous leap of faith and basically trust him and his successors with nearly a trillion dollars in taxpayer money.

All that and more tonight on 360 at 10pm ET.
Hope you can join us.

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (85 Responses)
  1. Steve

    Please give me and other regular Americans out here some idea of just what, would, happen if our government did not pay the $700 billion dollar bailout? We are not as smart as your (some) of your guests.
    If these companies made poor decisions, and their people are walking away with lots of cash, and will be walking away with lots more of my hard earned tax money I say let them sink. Buy the way I own a small business and could use some cash too. Can U say Bailout please.

    September 22, 2008 at 11:42 pm |
  2. miles

    I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it any longer." No, this wasn't said today or yesterday, but in 1976 by Peter Finch in the film, Network. While on the air as a news type, he was lamenting a decaying economy, lost jobs,a buck buying 5 cents worth of goods and . . . "banks going bust". Sounds verryyyy familiar now. And, yes, we should be all mad as hell if any bailout bill does not provide for protections for main street and penalties for those on Wall Street who caused the debacle that is devouring it.

    September 22, 2008 at 11:42 pm |
  3. shernel

    I have an idea let's take the 700 billions and invest it in the national education "fund"

    September 22, 2008 at 11:40 pm |
  4. Nina

    I don't understand!!!! Since the tax payers are going to have to pay all this money back anyway. Why not allow the bail out to help everyone. Start with the source of the problem....mortgages.
    1.) Allow every homeowner who has a ballon mortage interest rate to re-finance at 5-7% (fixed).
    2.) The government can use the bailout money for "forgivness grants" to every homeowner who is behind on their mortgage. Use some of that money to pay directly to the mortgage company "in the name of the homeowner" to totally catch the homeowner up on all past payments.
    3.) For approx. one year the governement pay 1/2 of the homeowners morgage (directly to the mortgage company). Now the homeowner can use the money they would have spent on half the mortgage back into the ecomomy. Then there would no need for "stimulas" checks.

    With this plan everyone wins....the mortage company is paid...the homeowner keeps their home....and the big investors i.e. AIG and Morgan Stanley are also paid. And money goes back into the economy. Aditionally, the consumers gain faith in the governement again. Win..win

    Just my 2 cents

    September 22, 2008 at 11:37 pm |
  5. bill karrow

    Why not make the "bail-out" fair to the "people" who will have to pay
    for it? Extend the benefits to ALL and wipe out OUR credit card debt, too! If your going to reward bad behavior, and erase the mistakes of the people that got us into this mess, and WE have to pay for it, then truly make it fair & beneficial to all, and give us a clean slate as well. Wipe out all OUR debt, and we'll ALL start all over!

    September 22, 2008 at 11:35 pm |
  6. Ron , West Coast

    YES, YES , and YES.... They are just going the way they always go, straight to those Wanna-Be`s , who call themselves Moral Conservatives....Or Republicrooks......

    September 22, 2008 at 11:31 pm |
  7. JAG

    This is Canadian capitalism, where backs own 50% of wealth and everyone pays high taxes for bad government and banking service.. with fake free markets

    September 22, 2008 at 11:29 pm |
  8. Homer Pratt

    I don't know what or who to believe as far knowing what is right on this bail out. One thing I know for sure is that the bail out will not help me financially but it will put the U.S. in a more deficit position. Also I hope that the managers of these financial institutions will not reap any kind of profit or financial gain out of the bail out. I think they should forfiet all of their financial package, pay and bonuses, for the entire year of 2008; and they should lose all of their stock options that have not been exercised. I mean all of the upper level management. It is not right that the American taxpayer should give up one cent to come to the aid of the financial elite.

    September 22, 2008 at 11:28 pm |
  9. craig

    before we take wall street and the banks at there word has any outside agency gone in and audit there books,lets face it when it comes to telling the truth wall street and there budies stink at it,when i make a huge finacial mistake i am the one who pays for it the fed does not help me,i think this whole thing stinks,the fed will bail them out,give them the keys to the federal reserve if this does not cry out for a change in leadership oh (the lack of it meaning none) why are these ceo's not charged for defrauding the American public

    September 22, 2008 at 11:28 pm |
  10. shernel

    we should you that 700 billion dollars to invest it where we can have more substantial gain and invest in our educational system

    September 22, 2008 at 11:27 pm |
  11. Paul

    The crisis of wall street is evident as our society shows our greed. Supporting the bail out would only cause more problems. Instead maybe other companies from different countries should have an opportunity to buy share and help companies in distress. Furthermore, in order for this event not to repeat salary caps should be voluntarily created for every company so that any revenue over the salary cap could be donated to support the community, and help out tax payers in hopes of lowering the tax and mortgage.

    September 22, 2008 at 11:26 pm |
  12. Jim McCanna

    You all watched while the "Kingdom of Bush" floated their so called tax break for the rich, giving up over a trillion dollars in taxes over 6 years and replacing it with loans from foreign governments and now you all seem to think that bilking the taxpayers of another 2 or 3 trillion will straighten things out, in truth you are just delaying and creating a basis to leave our country in complete ruin. When are you all going to realize that in the past 7 years the National debt has been doubled and we are paying $441 billion in interest on this debt before this latest 2 or 3 trillion is added on. You can't buy an economy no matter how hard you college grads try.

    Not smarter than A fifth grader

    JJ in Nv

    September 22, 2008 at 11:24 pm |
  13. rebecca baker

    this can not be an open endedl"loan "without consquences.we should first freeze george bushes assests that he has made from the citizens with his oil royalities.use his money first.then john mccains and on down the line of the rich who have become richer .if this is not enogh to correct this grave situation, then ask the middle class and poor to bail the greedy sob's out. what does it say about a company that will not or has not taken responsiblity for their actions. we have yet to hear from anyone aat aig.whats up with that? i fell if they need us the poor tax paper who supports this country to bail them out we deserve to hear from them with and an explaination and apology.is this to much to ask? as far as not rushing into this i think they are trying to do the right thing abd protect this country as best they can.once something is given it]s damn near impossible to take back. it is quite republic to act first .ask questions later.

    September 22, 2008 at 11:24 pm |
  14. Cathy

    Bail out the American People who have lost jobs because of cheap labor overseas and send us each $30.000.00 of the taxes back that us hard working people have paid. That would stimulate our economy. It is our money that they are giving away! OH MY GOD!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

    September 22, 2008 at 11:22 pm |
  15. Jimmy


    September 22, 2008 at 11:20 pm |
  16. Jeremy Danielson

    I guess this whole situation slightly confuses me because I thought there were supposed to be government officials placed to watch over these differing markets. If that is that case, how did $700 billion miss the books when the time came to check the figures? If government officials were not involved in this way, were these companies supposed to"truthfully" watch over themselves?

    September 22, 2008 at 11:19 pm |
  17. Rachel F.

    I find this whole thing sickening. I am seriously considering a vote for Ron Paul. I've been reading the blogs all day and the consensus from Democrats and Republicans alike is clear: WE DO NOT WANT THIS BAILOUT! Congress is supposed to be the voice of the people, if they work against us I, for one, will vote against the incumbent regardless of party affiliation this November.


    September 22, 2008 at 11:17 pm |
  18. afisher

    Each member of congress who votes for this bailout will have a whole lot of explaining to their constituents when they go home...they would have a better chance of re-election if they stayed in DC and got to the bottom of this plan...because there is sufficient time to the American people to see the "fruits of their labor" before Nov 4, 2008. That should be a word of warning to them.

    September 22, 2008 at 11:16 pm |
  19. Francis Mulcahy

    So the same people who cried wolf about Iraq are now saying be very afraid your house, retirement, and all things you use credit for are now threaten by Weapons of Mass Financial Destruction. We now know that WMDs were a ruse for some other hidden agenda in Iraq. In the lead-up to the war in Iraq, we were made to feel very afraid of immanent disaster and rushed into a war. We were told that by giving the President the power to declare war without oversight, he could negotiate from a strong position.
    Now, with even less hard facts, we are being asked by this same Administration to give their Secretary of Treasury the same unfettered power over our assets. We may never know with complete certainty why Bush went to war with Iraq. We do know we were lied to.

    This financial crisis does appear to be real. But is the only solution to have the average American and our all-volunteer army bear the burden of this as they are in Iraq? It seems to me this is a great place for the rich, who benefited the most from this trickle down deregulated economy of the past 2 decades, to be part of our all-volunteer financial army and take on this burden. If there are not enough rich volunteers, then an income tax might be needed.

    A bailout paid for by the rich (tax on incomes over $1,000,000) would eliminate the idea that the American taxpayer will reward the greed and mismanagement of the rich. The over sight that would follow tapping the rich would be amazing.

    September 22, 2008 at 11:15 pm |
  20. CarenS

    I liked hearing the views of the financial panel, and wonder if congress is also soliciting opinions from 'outside' the political domain. I have no confidence that congress can deal responsibly with this situation. At the same time, the problem is way above the 'paygrade' for both Obama and McCain!

    September 22, 2008 at 11:14 pm |
  21. Kathy Trimble

    I'm hearing the same scare tactics as "Sadam has weapons of mass destruction" all over again. I know we are in a financial mess but will the entire world spin off it's axis if we just say Hell No?

    I just don't trust anybody in Washington to tell the real truth. What if they are? Who really knows? The little boys cried Wolf one time too many to suit me.

    September 22, 2008 at 11:14 pm |
  22. Kathleen

    It sounds extremely dangerous and a green light for more to come. They need to get it right, however long it takes.

    September 22, 2008 at 11:01 pm |
  23. Kathleen

    Let me get this straight,

    We the people, gave our hard earned money to our government, fiduciary funds, and now the gov is saying OOPS! MY BAD! I made a big booboo, give me some more money and i'll fix it before I leave. Give it to me now ...no questions asked and don't give me no crap about how I cant give some of it to the my CEO buddies... they gots needs too!

    Does that about cover it?

    September 22, 2008 at 10:58 pm |
  24. Barbara

    I think John McCain is showing an early sign of alheizmer. One min. he is not for taxes and another min. he want taxes. He have lost his mind.

    September 22, 2008 at 10:28 pm |
  25. anteup

    I would not let one person have this much power. Have we not learned anything from the past. The average citizen is getting taken to the cleaners while the rich just keep on making mistakes and no accountability. The same goes for our politicians they all want to be Professional Career Politicians, when I look up jobs that is not one that I see, but people in washington have made it.

    September 22, 2008 at 10:28 pm |
  26. Robert Bick

    Whether this bailout is necessary or not, how did we let the Fed Chairman and the Treasury Secretary, two unelected officials, spend billions of taxpayer money without Congress being involved?
    Congress wasn't involved in Bear Stearns, Fannie and Freddie, money to overseas banks, etc., and the Constitution gives the power of the purse to the Congress alone.
    Now , for the mother of bailouts they want Congress to rubber stamp their bailout plan,and don't think about it just hurry up and do it!
    This Country is broken beyond repair.......................

    September 22, 2008 at 10:27 pm |
  27. Keith

    Neither of these idiot candidates has any understanding of what is happening with the economy; they are both just too busy trying to become POTUS and that’s all they both care about. They are both blinded by ambition.

    September 22, 2008 at 10:19 pm |
  28. Larry Law

    As a Canadian watching all this unfold, I think the US Gov't has got it all wrong. They are bailing out the wrong people, what about the average citizen that is losing everything,they are the ones needing help.
    The US gov't is taking you and us Canadians down the road to a crash that will make the one in 29 look like childs play.
    I really hope they get it together,God Help us All

    September 22, 2008 at 10:19 pm |
  29. Matthew Washington

    This situation just shows me who my government works for and it is not the American People but Corporate America. Neither Democrats or Republicans care they only care about getting elected and will do anything include lie and cheat to the American People, they are no difference then Corporate American.

    September 22, 2008 at 10:18 pm |
  30. Barbara

    Please tell me if Paulson or the President think we American people are so stupid to hand over $700B. dollars so they can go and retire in (4) months? We need strict rules to help the people in Foreclosue!!

    September 22, 2008 at 10:17 pm |
  31. Andrew Ballard

    If people would read this bill they would see a dirty little secret hidden inside. 32 words that change the entire dynamics of this bailout and future bailouts. This is the financial equivilent to the Patroit Act. Read carefully,

    "Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency."

    Put simply, all transaction are hidden and un-reviewable by courts or other government agencies. This power is 100% in the hands of the executive branch, and we've seen how Bush has spent our money even when he needs to get re-elected, how do you think he'll spend it with no restrictions and no legal recourse with just over 3 months left in his presidency. This is scary stuff and it is appauling that no news orginization has picked up on this.

    September 22, 2008 at 10:17 pm |
  32. elaine

    How can I convince GMAC mortgage tommorrow to provide me with an emergency bail out so I can help my son with his college tuition; replace my 11 year old vehicle with a new hybrid and take long overdue vacation?

    September 22, 2008 at 10:17 pm |
  33. Lauren Conley

    The irony of this bailout to me means that my taxes are going to bail out some bank that made bad loans, even while I struggle to recover from having my own home foreclosed on. Nobody bailed me out, and I don't think it's fair that big business gets a free ride while I had to go live in a homeless shelter. Throw the bums out of business, and let THEM sleep in a Salvation Army. It's called, learning from past mistakes, which I guess, the rich don't have to do, not in America. Go into debt 50 grand, you're on your own, but go into debt 50 billion, and the government bails you out? Huh?????

    September 22, 2008 at 10:12 pm |
  34. tammy Pierce

    We should not bail out the mortgage banks, unless the homeowners are allowed to requalify for mortgages at decent interest rates. If you dont help the middle class people to stay in their homes, the economy will never get better. Remember the middle class pay for everything in America. We have to give the middle class the confidence to start spending money again.

    September 22, 2008 at 10:10 pm |
  35. Jan from Wood Dale IL

    American taxpayers are struggling to bail themselves out of credit card debt, student loans, 2nd and 3rd mortgages, increasing gas prices, and utility costs. I have no sympathy for any of the investment banks that are now facing a crisis.

    Also, I heard earlier today on Lou Dobbs someone indicated that AIG has $20 billion in off-shore tax-exempt accounts. Let them draw upon those accounts to bail themselves out. Like many small companies, they can restructure including suspending pay increases and bonuses to their company directors.

    September 22, 2008 at 10:07 pm |
  36. KIm

    When is this big economic meeting and we heard today McCain was sending a few from his team to over see the deal. Who's going in from the Obama team ? Who was the man standing on Wall Street today when the bells rang and what country was he from ? What does Paulson mean by bail out the foreign banks plus the $700,000 billion ? Peter ! We are not selling our souls to the devil !

    September 22, 2008 at 10:07 pm |
  37. Pete Kent

    Notice how Obama has really not taken a position on any of this. He is just voting "present" again.

    September 22, 2008 at 10:04 pm |
  38. maureen o. a.v. california

    We need to find a way for this country to get out of debt without going into debt. We need to focus more on inside this country than outside of this country. We need to be worried on who we 'owe' things to. This can lead to a large smelly pile of political and national 'dog mess' if we do not watch what we do as a country.

    September 22, 2008 at 10:01 pm |
  39. bcdavis

    $700 BILLION??? You want $700 BILLION???

    The Republican Convention was less than three weeks ago and there we heard we had too much government, too much spending and the markets need to sort this out.

    Now they want $700 BILLION to bail out the millionaires who made loans to tens of thousands of unqualified borrowers which on their face anyone with a credit rating would not touch - and did not touch.

    Regulation? This is not about regulation. This is about common sense and the lack thereof.

    This is about poor business judgment done by people who claim to live by the market place now foisting lies on the American people at a time when we can't handle the debt that existed before this situation.

    Pay these institutions 20 maybe 30 cents on the dollar for the trash loans they made and let the chips fall where they may.

    Sarah Palin ain't the hunter out here and no, we don't need no stinkin' Wall Street.

    September 22, 2008 at 10:01 pm |
  40. lynn

    Only in communist countries do they let one person control finances with no oversight, no structure and not even legal accountability. If Paulson is such an expert and can get America out of this mess why didn't he see it coming and have to wait until there was a crisis?? I don't trust his judgment.

    September 22, 2008 at 9:55 pm |
  41. Ann

    We need to find a way the community financially makes there own world strong and somehow dismantle wall street and these high price pay offs...

    To my eyes, Wall street is no different than gambling in Las Vegas

    September 22, 2008 at 9:50 pm |
  42. Brenda Harris

    All I can say is be careful! This is election time and this could be a trick to injure someones campaign. Or it could be a means to an end. Taking all the money and running. You know their record. stealing the americans blind. Don't trust the current administration.
    Don't rush into anything. If we fall down, we'll get back up under new management. Let go and Let God fight our battle. The guilty will not go unpunished no matter how long it takes.

    September 22, 2008 at 9:30 pm |
  43. Annie Kate

    This bailout can't be just a free handout to these banks, etc. for doing highly risky loans nor should there be any sort of golden parachute for anyone they let go. The big execs should have minded their "store" better and done due diligence on the risk of the instruments they were dealing with; it is not fair to the people who have lost their houses, or to the taxpayers for these execs to be awarded some huge amount of money for doing their job badly. That is adding insult to injury. Additionally, the government should definitely get a ownership share of each and every bank or institution that this applies to commiserate with the amount of the bailout for that institution. That is the only way there would ever be any possibility of a return on the money.

    Mortgages should be looked at and discussions with the people who held them and see if something can be worked out between those people and the government, etc. to where they can make affordable payments and not be foreclosed on. Sometimes this may not be possible but this cuts down on the suffering to the average American.

    If this turns out to just be throwing money at these places in trouble with no return for the government and no consideration for the people being foreclosed on then we shouldn't do the bailout.

    The SEC might also want to investigate and see if any criminal charges need to be filed against some of the execs in charge of these places. All of this sounded like a pyramid scheme and if those aren't illegal they should be.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    September 22, 2008 at 9:30 pm |
  44. Arachnae

    We'd better get more for our 700B than the warm feeling of knowing we've bailed out a bunch of foolish financiers.

    September 22, 2008 at 9:29 pm |
  45. Heather,Ca,US

    The scale and scope of this financial mess is so big that I feel they had no other option. I just wish the people that allowed this to happen on Wall Street would have to pay from their pocket of compensation. I hope this mess brings back regulations and laws banning what made this mess. Bush is right the world which is a part of this is watching us and waiting.

    September 22, 2008 at 9:29 pm |
  46. Tiffany Clayborne

    BAILOUT!!! Can somebody come and bailout Dallas Independent School District in Dallas, Texas? School Board Members have just discovered an 84 million dollar deficit that keeps growing everyday. We are currently about to lose at least 500 teachers.

    September 22, 2008 at 9:28 pm |
  47. Taaqiya

    The crisis is important but there shouldn't have been such a quick solution to a problem that has so much depth. I think the bailout wasn't properly thought out. The problem is, this 700 million dollar bailout will come out of our (taxpayers) pockets. And John McCain says there will be no raise of taxes what so ever. So tell me Anderson, where's the money going to come from?? The bank of China, AGAIN??

    September 22, 2008 at 9:25 pm |
  48. Patrick

    I own a company in Michigan. My business has been hard hit by both Washington's lack of focus on the economy and the Wall Street fiasco, and would like to know where to apply for my portion of the bailout money.

    September 22, 2008 at 9:24 pm |
  49. Stephen Venarchick

    Hold the presses! The World Bank and the IMF are sending in their experts to help the US from reaching third world status. They have said that usually it takes years and years to fall from such a lofty position, but the US has done this in 24 months. Boy are we smart or what!

    And all the greedy people get a great pay day and us poor smocks get to pay for it all. I guess the constituiton must have been rewritten in part to include greed, no personal responsibility for any actions and let's pile it on the good hardworking people. Socialism here we come!

    September 22, 2008 at 9:18 pm |
  50. Keith

    I'm really against this bailout.

    September 22, 2008 at 9:12 pm |
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