September 29th, 2008
07:14 PM ET

Recovering from today's disgrace

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/29/art.capital.dark.ap.jpg caption="The Federal Bailout plan did not pass through Congress."]David Gergen | Bio
AC360° Contributor
CNN Senior Political Analyst

The financial markets have sent a clear signal of just how reckless the House of Representatives was today in rejecting the compromise bailout plan - no less than $1.2 trillion in stock values were wiped out in just a few hours.

What can be done to get a bill through in the next few days? Here are some initial thoughts:

First, a ton of bricks needs to be dumped on the heads of those who voted against - if they can't see the light, make them feel the heat. Democrats ought to be ashamed that 95 of their Members voted against; but it is the House Republicans who deserve the greatest blame - a significant majority of Democrats voted in favor of the bill, while conservative Republicans - defying the White House - voted against by over 2-1. I hear that some in the White House think the GOP vote was a disgrace; they are right.

Second, Nancy Pelosi has to remove the sting she created through her speech on the House floor. Republicans now blame her for the defeat, arguing that she was so partisan that some of their "yes" votes flipped and voted no. She may think this charge is unfair but since so much is at stake, she needs to go overboard to clear the air.

Third, the White House and Congressional leaders should count heads to make sure that everyone who voted "yes" today will do so again in a second vote. If the 228-205 margin holds, that means they have to flip at least 12 Members for a second vote. It will be much more difficult to get all of the switches from the Republicans. Solution: put in enough sweeteners so that each side has a bit more and get an agreement between Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner: "I will deliver 6 from my side if you deliver 6 from yours."

Fourth, Hank Paulson must take another look at the idea at the idea of bankruptcy courts being able to review and help to rewrite private mortgages. How many Democrats would come over to "yes" if that were done? And what can he do to sweeten the pot for at least a half dozen Republicans?

Fifth, Barack Obama and John McCain should now join up with President Bush and the Congressional leadership to give this bill a much more vigorous push. After his ill-fated intervention of last week, McCain turned surly today, blasting Obama - unfairly - for the defeat in the House. That is ridiculous. But it is true that Obama could be a lot more forceful than he has been in working behind the scenes to round up votes. Both men need to show much more leadership here. President Bush obviously has so little clout that he can't get this done. Obama and McCain should step up to help him - and good grief, avoid trying to claim credit or elbowing the other guy in the eye.

This is big time stuff. Washington isn't playing with matches here; it is playing with dynamite. For the sake of the country - and for our standing as a world power - we need LEADERSHIP!

Filed under: Bailout Turmoil • Barack Obama • Economy • John McCain • Raw Politics
soundoff (264 Responses)
  1. George

    With the bailout the foxes are still in charge of the hen house! How stupid does the Congressmen who voted for the bailout think the American people are. It was Congress who forced banks to make loans to unqualified buyers!! Nancy Pelosi says how great Barney Frank is? He is the same person that said there was NO problem with Fannie and Freddie!!!!!!!! Can Nancy say DUHHHHHHH!!!!!

    September 29, 2008 at 9:42 pm |
  2. lapernia

    Again lawmakers not thinking about global issues and only about reelection! Did you see how the market responded to their hesitation and bullheadedness? More money lost in one day than any money promised as "bailout"? Even though I am a teacher and don't "play" the market, my retirement is tied up in mutual funds, my son's future college funds are in a 403B: this affects us all, even the little people, and anyone who thinks they will not pay, either as a bailout or a huge depression, is more naive than any republican zealot down my block!

    September 29, 2008 at 9:42 pm |
  3. Sam from Seattle

    Goodness people, don't you understand? This bailout is not about Wall Street or any Street, its about all of us. The fact is that the US does not save enough as a nation, we are a country of borrowers. Once the Treasury let Lehman fail, it put a question mark on top of every American financial institution. And they are falling like dominoes, and will continue to do so – until the government steps in and says enough!!! At this point, the credit markets are freezing up. Banks are not lending to each other. Industry could come to a standstill. We may not be able to withdraw money from our bank savings. The entire monetary system could collapse if all the foreigners asked for their money back at once. Companies would have trouble meeting payroll. This is not about any "fat cats" on Wall Street – who will sadly, be better cushioned than the rest of us.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:41 pm |
  4. George

    The biil should not pass.

    If you reverse the mortgage value decline, it will solve all the other problems. If a home(owner occupied) is appraised below the mortgage value, issue a tax credit belonging to the property to make the mortgage value "whole again".

    As far as those who cannot afford the mortgage in the first place, let them go back to renting, or they can use the tax credit to see if they can work it out, the tax credit would transfer with the property, unless used up some % per year.

    No money to wall street banks, make the home owners "whole again"

    September 29, 2008 at 9:41 pm |
  5. Dave

    There is much anger out there about the proposed legislation that is, quite frankly, misplaced. It is not intended to "bail out" Wall Street or irresponsible home buyers, both of whom richly deserve the scorn currently being heaped upon them by the general public. It is intended to unlock the credit markets, which are frozen up because the banks are no longer willing to lend to each other.

    Why should you care about the credit markets?

    Because they affect YOU. If capital cannot flow freely between banks, banks are forced to drastically tighten lending restrictions. If as a result, companies cannot get loans from the banks, those that need regular seasonal financing are more likely to go out of business. Perhaps you work for one of these companies. Perhaps these companies are your customers. Perhaps you work for one of the larger companies such as our automakers, which are currently losing huge sums of money and require financing to stay afloat. Do you want GM and Ford to go bankrupt?

    If people cannot get loans from banks, then I hope that you have no unforeseen large expenditures in the next few years, because the bankruptcy laws are not very friendly these days. Stay healthy.

    The failure to pass this bill was the most irresponsible legislative act I have seen in my life. Our congressional representatives first and foremost serve the public trust, and they failed that trust today.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:41 pm |
  6. Dorothy

    I think we need the bailout, but would it not make more sense for the banking institutions to find a way to restructure the existing loans and allow these people who are in foreclosure to maintain their homes at more affordable rates and payments? Would this not reduce the amount of money they would need to begin to fix this situation, rather than depending totally on taxpayer money to help turn the situation around?

    September 29, 2008 at 9:39 pm |
  7. Arachnae

    I'm frankly aghast at the number of people here saying hurray that the bill failed and the market tanked.

    Don't you people know anyone whose entire retirement is in 401Ks? EVERYONE lost money today, far more money than the 'bailout' would have cost. And we'll probably lose more tomorrow. And when the layoffs start coming down, it's not going to be the CEOs who suffer. Unless you're living totally off the grid and growing your own food, your standard of living just took a major hit, free market be damned.

    Just for reference, after the crash of '29, the market didn't recover to its pre-crash level until 1954. Everyone in their forties and fifties is now wondering if they'll have to work until they die. Assuming, that is, that their jobs don't go away.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:39 pm |
  8. Ann, CA

    It is an easy and vulgar thing to please the mob, and not a very arduous task to astonish them; but essentially to benefit and to improve them is a work fraught with difficulty, and teeming with danger.
    – Charles Caleb Colton

    These blog posts lend credence to the above quote.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:39 pm |
  9. Liv

    i do not care who will be president, i just want someone who is or will hire a genius economist so this country can go back on its feet, and people will not have to struggle. I do not mean the rich ones...they are fine, but the middle class suffering most.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:38 pm |
  10. Sarah Weavr

    First I'd like to point out that this crisis did not happen over night. It all started when the Regan Revolution started to DeRegulate the rules and let the Corporations and Banks do as they pleased. The people of America bears some responsibility for this mess because they have by the large numbers put people in power who are for Corporations and not for the working person. You Americans have done this to yourselves. Look at the mess and start cleaning up your attitudes about people who have your best interest at heart. What Rich person is going to look out for the meek???
    What less educated person will understand what is good for the Country. One that graduated 894 out of 898. Look at the numbers that are putting this type in charge. You Americans need to clean up your own mess by voting these illerates into office. Start with the Movie star and then the latest one GW.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:38 pm |
  11. james

    Anyone that is celebrating this as a victory will probably have a change of opinion in the coming weeks if this or something like this bill hasn't passed. I think there is alot of false bravado being displayed about being able to take the hit and stand up to cooporate greed. It is absolute lunacy, this is a collapse of foundation of our country! Sure it wont last forever, but it aint going to be fun. By the time feelings change people wont be able to afford access to the internet to post these opinions. I seriously hope that I am wrong, and I feel terrible for anyone close to retirement, that has to support a family, or is out of a job. The only increases you will probably see will be unemployment, crime, and poverty as your savings, retirement, and hopes dwindle away. Way to stick it to the Man!

    September 29, 2008 at 9:37 pm |
  12. Rachael

    What if the governement gives each tax payer $20,000. Those being foreclosed will have enough money to bail themselves out. Those not in trouble will spend, save, and invest. The money will reach the banks and stock markets after we get a chance to spend it first. That is the Free Market way. If you're going to inject money into the economy, inject it where the pain began. Nobody threatened a government takeover while people were losing their homes, it was only after banks and stocks fell. It started at the bottom, with the people. If we have to pay for it, we should get the chance to spend it first. The banks can refinance those bad mortgages to keep people in them, especially if those people have $20,000. Those of us who didn't get into the mess are rewarded, and we in turn grow the economy.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:37 pm |
  13. Susan


    I disagree with this bailout bill. I suppose that there will have to some kind of package, but not with a price tag of $700 billion. If they want to increase $$$$ they should stay the capital gain tax on investments and the $$$$ will flow in until we can get righted again.

    They can firm up SDIC and firm up the credit situation allowing credit to flow again . The rest of the chips will have to fall were they lay. There has to be a wringing out of the bad stuff in the markert. The stronger will survive. Bad business deals in a free market should not be rewarded, especially by our tax $$$$.

    The more that that politicians and pundits drone on about gloom and
    doom the more the market is going to take us on this wild ride. There will be many bumps in the road, but the market will get better. It will again become normal without all these inflated prices.


    September 29, 2008 at 9:37 pm |
  14. Franco

    In a weird way I think Capitol Hill got it right, at the help of the House Moron Nancy Pelosi.....what an idiot.

    Many people would like to believe this is the failed policies of President Bush, it would surprise everyone that it is not. this began when affordable housing was introduced under the Democrats. People were given the ability to buy houses they couldn't afford. They borrowed money with low interest rates. The interest rates went up. they defaulted on their loans. The Banks went under. That's what happened people. It is shameless that people like Congressman Frank today is taking the high road. He was warned of today's crisis two years ago and he said that even if the foreseen crisis would happen Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would absorb it because they are so big and powerful.....wrong!

    The Democrats are shameless here. they could have passed the bill if they wanted it. They didn't because they wanted it to be bi-partisan and then the Moron makes a partisan speech....are you kidding me?

    September 29, 2008 at 9:37 pm |
  15. Marvin Schepers

    jack I agree with you 200% But I will go a step further and say that there needs to be a constitutional amendment that limits the # of years anyone can stay in political office.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:36 pm |
  16. Tristan - Petaluma, CA

    I have just heard that the total of bad debt is more like 15 Trillion dollars. If this is true then how long until they come back with their hands out asking for another couple Trillion?

    September 29, 2008 at 9:36 pm |
  17. Catherine

    To all those against the bailout:

    I don't agree with it anymore than you do but, unfortunately, the financial crisis is a reality. It will affect your businesses, their ability to pay you, your jobs, your homes, and any loans that you might need for homes, cars or college.

    The bailout is not so much a bailout as a backstop to prevent the worst effects of the catastrophe on Wall Street from crashing into your lives. It won't stop everything and unfortunately America's sole choice is now between bad or very bad.

    And through it all, the only thing politicians can do is play their election games.

    P.S. My dad lost one third of his pension last week. I shudder to think where it's at now.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:36 pm |
  18. Charlie

    The level of ignorance shown by most of these comments is what stuns me. With this kind of half wit thinking, I would bet that half of the respondents had trouble getting through high school...never mind college. Which is fine...when the economy returns to the stone age, you'll probably be in better shape than those of us who have spent years reading and keeping up with the details of these problems.


    The hallmark of the modern Republican Party and its President.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:36 pm |
  19. Brad

    I am angry. Everyone I know is angry. We should all be angry about what has happened. However, our anger should not keep us from doing what is in our best interest. The truth of the matter is, we need credit. If the big Wall Street banks don't lend money to other banks, then the banks have no money to lend to us. Simply put, American business runs on credit. Stores need credit to buy inventory. Farmers need credit to cover seed and expenses until harvest. Construction companies need credit to cover expenses until they are paid at the end of a project.

    Do the CEOs of Wall Street carry a lot of blame? Absolutely. Should there be criminal implications for those who got us all in this mess? Yes. However, we need to ensure that our rage doesn't keep us from the task at hand. There is a time and a season for everything. There will be a time for accountability. However, right now is the time for action to keep our economy afloat. We may not like it, but it is something we have to do.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:34 pm |
  20. Jennifer

    The most amazing thing of this entire affair is that anyone believes this bill has a chance of succeeding.

    At it's core, the issue is that banks are not lending money because past bad investments have left them broke and nervous about extending any future credit.

    The bailout removes the bad entries and restores stability to the banks but does not address the issue of trust the banks must have in order to extend credit. That will only come when the banks see regulation that has a chance of preventing the credit crisis. Without immediate regulation, the banks will NOT extend credit and the problem will continue.

    Voting down this bailout was the correct thing to do. There are only two ways to restore the financial system: regulation by government without a bailout or permitting the free market to act and destroy the bad investments. Either action will demonstrate to the banks that what survives will last.

    We have been building for a severe recession for several years - it is unavoidable. People will lose their homes and jobs - no bailout will prevent this.

    The bailout will guarantee a great depression by demonstrating that the core foundation of the financial system is shaky and will continue the distrust and lack of credit.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:33 pm |
  21. Neil

    Well, thanks to those that voted this bill down. I hope everyone here that agree's with this vote realize that they've screwed up this country for years to come.

    If we don't wind up in the "Second Great Depression" this country of ours experiences, I will be quite surprised.

    Unfortunately, the lack of regulation is what caused this crisis. Greed is/was just a symptom of this financial earthquake. It most clearly and totally shows what a lack of regulation/control will not do, protect the American people.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:33 pm |
  22. Bob

    Most economists and congress people admit they do not understand what caused this problem. We have been told that the problem is that it is impossible to determine what an "investment" made up of these bundled mortgage loans is actually worth. Now, you are asking the American Taxpayer (read middle class; those truly in poverty pay no taxes) to buy this pig in a poke without even being able to find an "expert" that can tell us what we are buying. The congress people who voted for this bailout should be voted out of office in November.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:33 pm |
  23. dave

    Stop the petty particin bickering. Lets face it we have the politicians we deserve. Every opne of them should be spanked and sent to bed without any supper. We haven't paid our bills as a country in years, we have grown dependent on our government to feed us, clothes us and to make us feel like we are safe and secure all the while we spend money we don't have and money our children will never make. we already have 56 trillion dollars in committments we can't meet in our entitlement programs.

    This is a credit crisis no doubt, but the seeds of this are in our unwillingness to face tough times and our history of only reacting to our bad planning, not to planning for our future.

    Make no mistake this isn't really a problem for those with money, in fact much like after the "Great depression" somebody is going to get incredibly rich while many suffer for their success. This isn't a problem for the poor we will always make sure they have what is necessary if somewhat limited, it is a problem for those of us that actually have to work hard to pay for everyone elses largess. I say take an equity stake, build insurance into the process, work towards an earn out for the lenders and use all the tools that the Sec and Fed have at their disposal to hold the thiefs accountable. If it takes a week or a month and more people lose their homes and more banks fail then so be it. The majority of Americans deserve the best efforts of our congress and Senate, and nothing good is ever built in haste. Come up with a compromise that is as painful for the Republicans as the Democratc. the and only then will America gets what it needs.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:32 pm |
  24. Bryan

    I also want to add this. It was because of the all the overspending that help put us in this mess. If you take the time to follow the money trail, you will see that it leads to Barney Frank, Dodd,Pelosi,Bernake,Paulson. They were the ones in bed with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. So where is the media and why is it not asking Barney Frank where did all of your money come from? It is ridiculous! I have had it! The media is a joke! You would think that the magnitude of this problem would warrant them STAYING instead of the most of lamest excuses Rashshashanna holiday! I don't care if it was Christmas! This should just go to show you that is country really first in pelosi's eyes or any of the house? I guess not, the house is burning out of control and it is more important that they observe a holiday. Greed drove this to where we are and I particularly don't care to bail out people that gambled with the economy and lost! The reason why certain behaviors are repeated is because they are reinforced! IF we did this bailout plan, then all we are doing as a country is rewarding BAD BEHAVIOR! Why on earth would we want to have Paulson in more control of our economy???? He has screwed up enough! Thanks Pelosi, Thanks Dodd, Thanks Frank, Thanks Bernake for NOTHING! Everyone of you should either be in jail or resign!

    September 29, 2008 at 9:32 pm |
  25. Tochi

    Mr Gergen hit the nail on the head. LEADERSHIP-that is what is lacking. We don't have a Washington or Lincoln-somone who will stand up for the right thing rather than an ideology. The class war the Republicans normally rail against is now their main weapon, They favor Main Street against Wall Street. because it is now an ideological war Main Street is angry and baying for blood. A loss of 1.2 trillion dollars in few hours is palatable , talk about slicing your nose to save your ideological face-shame on you ideological warriors.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:31 pm |
  26. D Giamba

    America is officially socialistic country and corporate welfare Wall St. bailout proves it. So those in power (with money) make worse decisions than a drunk gambler in las Vegas while the past 15-20 years the feds are asleep at the switch (actually in bed with the Wall Streeters). Greensspan et al stoked the economy like crack whore stoked on cocaine and the when it crashes, we hardworking, overtaxed middle and upper middle income people get screwed again.

    THose in power (Wall Street) get rewarded for bad behavior. Of course to make it palatable to the left wing Democrats there will be more mandates and regulation for fair and affordable housing meaning more perpetual government intervention. No different that the socialism for the ethanol industry, the upcoming one for Detroit automakers or any other lobby that exists to suck $$ from federal gov't.

    The whole things makes me sick. Both the President (Cheney) and Mr Bush bear responsibility; along with the cabal in Congress both Democraps and Republisins like Barney Frank, Chuck Schumer, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi – all corrupt powerful and out to lunch.

    How about sending some of the scumbags to jail, I mean CEOs and politicians? No, instead we bail them out with more money that the treasury doesn't have. And in the future every low life expecting a handout will get one because it pales in comparison to this debacle.

    If this is leadership we are doomed to mediocrity and worse. Someday China, Saudis, or UAR and India will own us all.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:31 pm |
  27. Patricia

    Suze Orman is one of the most knowledgeable "money matters" person we can go to today to get the big picture of things. I have long admired her wisdom and clarity in explaining what works and what doesn't work. She said we are in dire straights if we don't get this bill passed. We lost over a trillion dollars in money movement today because of this.

    I know many people don't have time to research or study this and all of it is happening so fast we don't have time to digest it. It won't mean much to voters until they realize that their credit cards (which we all use daily, and sometimes without much self-control) will have limited credit available to them.

    I don't think the American people have realized what has just happened. It is going to get worse before it gets better if a bill that isn't all it needs to be, but gets the economy moving again.

    If those who did not vote for the bill because they were listening to voters who didn't do their homework just so they could get re-elected could be shooting themselves in the foot -I mean the pocketbook.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:31 pm |
  28. Denise W

    The stupidity of the American public never ceases to amaze me. You're cheering because the bill did not pass....I hope you keep cheering when your shift at the factory is cut and when their next paycheck bounces. Members of Congress ( mostly Republicans, the official party of all things evangelical and white trash ) acted like 5 years olds at kindergarden recess today. There's enough blame to go around, but the crisis needs to be solved, and soon. Largely unregulated greed In America has begun to weaken and destroy financial institutions world-wide. Yes folks, Europe, the Far east, South America and Canada are all faltering now. America touts herself as THE global leader. Fix this mess before all global markets fail. If ever there was a time to rally around the President, it is now.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:31 pm |
  29. Bryan

    I think its time for a good ole' shock doctrine to kick in and straighten things out; don't you? How about some serious suffering for everyone who tries to get by so the rich can keep on serving up their caviar. I am sure if enough of us feel enough pain, we may be able to change things. That is if Bush doesn't make protest illegal.

    If they are going to correct things, then the bottom-up is the only working theory that stands a chance. Otherwise, we will all be left to suffer while those at the top have their celebrations.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:30 pm |
  30. Dianne

    I agree whole heartedly with David Gergen. It is clear that most people do not understand the impact this situation will have on the country for years to come. Nobody wants to face the fact that it will be expensive but the alternative is frightening. Again, John McCain is not putting the country first by blaming Obama which i am sure will cause him to lose more votes. And yes, Obama needs to step up to the plate. i feel sorry for our next President who is stuck with this mess.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:30 pm |
  31. gwen

    People you're missing the point. This wasn't about bailing out the rich, what will happen now is that businesses will no longer have the ability to borrow from their "credit cards" from which they rely to operate. Many businesses use their credit for payroll or to buy goods to fulfill orders. Well now they can't. And what will happen when businesses have to cut to produce, oh ya jobs will be lost. So don't go crying about how responsible you were when you bought your house, or that no one will bail you out when your sitting in the unemployment line. Wake up people!

    September 29, 2008 at 9:29 pm |
  32. Bob Bradt

    There is plenty of blame to go around for this mess. Every politician in DC is at fault for not providing sufficient oversight and there is no way the taxpayers should foot the bill for their lack of diligence. Adding insult to injury the pols decide to leave town for "religious observances." Take away the cameras and microphones, stop the rhetoric, get back to work! The stink coming from DC is overpowering and I intend to remove it by voting against every incumbent.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:29 pm |
  33. maureen fisher

    Finally, Congress has listened to the people. The People do not want this bill as it is. The rich and the liberals that love their credit cards want this bill. Maybe if we as Americans, had to actually work and pay for what we earn, we wouldnt have so many class distinctions and would work better together.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:29 pm |
  34. JUNE

    The congresspersons who voted no should take their toys and go home. We are all in the same boat. I have bailed out family members who messed up, because they were family, then dealt with their 'cleanup later', and so have they. The constituents who say no, are reacting on emotion.

    Where are all the billionnaires who tout the American dream? Why don't they make the loan? that would be an awesome solution.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:28 pm |
  35. Dennis McMahon

    I can believe the hating of overpaid CEO's, hating Wall Steet itself, hating the greedy fat cats, the politicians, the banks, the Democrats, the Republicans. It's a mess and a whole lot of people who should have known better are at fault. But what if these guys are telling us the truth and the risk is a national diasaster, what then? Do we indulge our wrath (and a lot of it is very righteous wrath), but do we indulge it to the extent of letting the economy, which supports us all, collapse?
    Many of us have been brought down , and allowed others to bring us down, by our "religious" belief in the sacred cow of "free market capitalism". It is a good system but a human system. There is no bible that I know of that says God has made this a perfect system that we tamper with to our everlasting peril. We even got paid for our absolute beliefs in this false god of "don't touch me magic" as lots of inflated profits came into our own 401Kand retirement accounts. We were co-opted by our own greed and so gave them all (the bad guys, the snake oil salesmen) even more of a free rein. We are all a part of this mess and we all have to fix it.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:23 pm |
  36. GREG

    Let's make this real simple. If you work in construction and the new work that is being planned is canceled because the property manager can't get the loan from the bank, be sure to file your unemployment paperwork quickly, because others will be standing next to you. For those of you in retail, when that construction worker has no work, do you think he and his family will be looking to go shopping for something other than essentials? So when your boss cuts back your hours, then eliminates you altogether, you can join the construction worker.

    This is NOT A WALL STREET BAIL OUT, this is keeping the wheels of our economy turning, plain and simple.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:20 pm |
  37. tina

    oh I am too unimformed to understand what is going on....??? i think not. let them eat cake. let them eat cake. its the only way to let them feel the pain that we have been feeling for two years in the housing market....while they pussyfooted around with help for us...the only way i will help them is if they help us...by going back and reevaluating all the home loans to the actual value of the house and adjust the mortgage to that price. other than that let them committ harrykarry as they jump out of windows....when you assume risk you must pay the consequences when it doesnt work out...let em eat cake...hope all the ceo's saved the money they raped me with....on my mortgage.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:20 pm |
  38. Jonathan the college student

    You make some great points about what both sides of the aisle must do to get us through this economic catastrophe. However, what you (and I, for that matter) did not anticipate is that the American people are hell-bent on economic self-destruction at any cost.

    As you can see all along this wall, people are so angry that they are willing to watch our entire economic system collapse into nothing because they are mad at some fat cats who will get off with millions.

    WAKE UP PEOPLE. Those fat cats are already millionaires and will not be affected by this market failure. IT'S THE REST OF US WHO ARE GETTING SCREWED.

    America goes through cycles of revolution and consolidation, and as in the 30's and the 60's, I believe we are in a time of social, political and economic upheaval.

    The new wave is a big one, but I'm afraid we're moving quickly from the crest to the trough.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:19 pm |
  39. Christine

    These two weeks have been very sad. I feel like by spirit has been broken after the embarassing behavior in Washington today by every politician. On one side you have the sissy Republicans saying that it is all Nancy Pelosi's fault that they voted no. (because they got their panties in a bunch over a speech) On the other side you have people like Barney Frank and Nancy Pelosi who just cannot keep their mouth's shut for 5 minutes. If both sides would grow up and pass a bill that could put us on the road to recovery, this would have been over days ago. Let us not forget the huge purse strings on Wallstreet who manipulated the Market today throwing a tantrum like a spoiled brat. I am disgusted and ashamed of our GOVERNMENT, and if everyone out in la la land who thinks that not passing this bill will not affect them then they need to wake up.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:19 pm |
  40. Sylvia

    Finally, Kathy in CT, I read someones comments that are like mine. Yes, the banks messed up. Yes, people who shouldn't have/couldn't afford loans got them. Lets move on!!! Lets fix this mess. Yes, CEOs, shouldn't get a bonus as they leave. But we need this taken care of before the Sh.t hits the fan.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:18 pm |
  41. Al

    Do all of you people who are so quick to respond that it was a good thing that this was voted down, have any understanding whatsoever of economics? Sure there is greed on Wall Street, this is new? I don't like it when I see CEO's checking out with golden parachutes, but greed on Wall Street is not new.

    Kathy from CT hit the nail on the head. Economics is interconnected folks. The solution was not perfect, but politics isn't about being perfect. Interconnected means that people lose jobs, lose retirements, lose houses.

    There is every reason to think that this plan will be successful, and the total cost to the taxpayer will not be much. We might even come out ahead.

    I happen to be a Democrat, but this finger pointing has to stop. The Speaker was out of line in giving a partisian speech today, and the Republican leaders were just as out of line in blaming her for the loss. I was in local politics once upon a time, and good Republican leadership would have warned the troops that there could be a partisian speech. And a good Speaker would not have taken the opportunity. And good leadership on both sides would have done a better job of counting noses. That's how it works folks.

    Some of you clowns who post don't have a clue what you don't know. You may want to throw the baby out with the bath water, but I prefer that it not be my baby and my bath water. Mature adults work for solutions. Thank you David Gergen for your article. On the mark as usual.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:18 pm |
  42. Red Bluffer

    Jim D. is right. He is to stupid to understand.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:18 pm |
  43. Tony Aiello

    I would like to know the names of the 12 House republicans that said they would vote yes and then voted no at the moment of truth.

    With all the behind the scenes dealings and negotiations over the last few days somebody knows exactly who is responsible for the failure of the bill. Clearly both parties thought there were enough votes to get the thing passed. These narrow minded simpletons are playing politics with the future of our country.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:17 pm |
  44. Jaime M. Mesa,AZ

    Right on David Gergen! You seem to have covered all the angles; but Senator Biden's influence. He and Senator Obama could band together and with teamwork try to show some leadership, grab the helm, put some pressure on and let the House know how ridiculous they have behaved. Doesn't Pelosi know how much damage and division she is creating versus the tour de force the Democrats could unveil if they worked TOGETHER? The financial health not just of the U.S. but all the free market economies of the world by cascade and domino effect. For good or bad we are all interconnected. For all the talk about who is the right leader come election days..wake up and step up! Now is the time to show us and the world who the next President SHOULD be. History will be the judge but to paraphrase these are extaordinary times and they call for extraordinary leaders. And by the way no one has mentioned Govenor Palin in all this. Please! Between her and Representative Pelosi they are going to set back our (women's) reputation as leaders; unfortuneately this will be judged. Somebody show us what you are worth, someone has to broker a deal there is way too much hanging in the balance. Talk about "reaching across the aisle" mend your own fences and show us what you are made of. Maybe Hillary can do something. Someone has to start talking, explain this to the public so they can get behind it. Ignorance breeds contempt. Obama and Biden we are counting on you. Someone HAS to rise above the fray and HELP not HINDER. Mr. Gergen you have such a good, balanced view. I have always appreciated your perspective, Thank You. I hope we can get Senators and Representatives to read your comments.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:17 pm |
  45. Janet E

    I think it's sad that $1.2 trillion was lost in market value today, which is nearly twice the cost of the bailout bill. With more than 60 million Americans invested through their 401k's in the stock market, the troubles on Wall Street definitely impact Main Street. A solution, whether from government or from private sources, needs to be found fast.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:16 pm |
  46. Tim Scott

    I don't get it. The American people are against this bill! Yes, we understand the ramifications. Look. We're Americans. We can take anything. ANYTHING, even a second Depression. What we can't handle is rewarding the same people who got us into this mess, and then handing over the banks to the government who are equally incompetent. What happened to Free-Market principles? Do they only apply when the rich are making money? I'd rather stand in a soup line than see this bill passed!

    September 29, 2008 at 9:10 pm |
  47. Sandra J.

    I applaud the American people for making the politicians listen, really listen to our voices. We know there will be a long journey of pain Mr. Bush, but it's not like we haven't experienced it before. You tried to shove the deal down our throats and we stood up and fought back!

    If we're giving money to any of these instituitions, why aren't we in hostile takeover mode and demoting instead of firing the top executives. Businesses do it all the time – so why can't you!

    Pay attention Capitol Hill -We're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore.

    All of you up for re-election and especially you two running for president especially better pay attention. Right now you are both pitiful!

    September 29, 2008 at 9:10 pm |
  48. Bryan

    Main Street has spoken! With a problem of this magnitude why would Pelosi rush this to the floor as quickly as she did? I can think of one REAL good reason.........Politics! IF she knew that there was a good chance this was not going to pass anyway, when it did fail, she can blame it on the Republicans to make it look like this was thier fault and therefore Obama would gain more favor with the voters.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:09 pm |
  49. Jeff Boyles

    I have heard different thoughts and plans floating around. Suppose this, what if the Government gave 1 million dollars to every American? At current census reports that would be about 304 million people. That would save about 670 billion dollars… of tax payer money. The government could even keep 15% in taxes and each American would still have more than enough to pay any outstanding mortgages. Even it they had to pay it to 6 banks down the banking chain before they paid the actual bank holding their mortgage. What would the effects of this plan have on the economy? …jeff

    September 29, 2008 at 9:09 pm |
  50. Kenan

    Hey! Here's the deal, fat cats...we don't have the money to bail you out this time! Maybe if you hadn't lied to us and screwed us over for the last few years, we'd have more to give. House is gone, car is gone, investments gone. I'm going to just worry about eating now, thank you very much, rather than give more to bail out lazy, greedy millionaires. Thanks for LESS THAN NOTHING.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:09 pm |
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