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. Jonathan Davis

    Here's the part I don't get people. 700 billion (which we may well get back) divided by 305 Million citizens is something like 2300.00 dollars each, but I have about 100,000 in IRAs, inherited stocks, etc and I probably lost 7000- 8000 dollars today. And that's just today. Sometimes standing on principal can be mighty stupid.

    September 29, 2008 at 10:17 pm |
  2. John Dorsch

    Hello David,

    I got news for you. Plenty of people out here live week to week and are barely able to pay the bills they have. We are over taxed and under represented. I don't feel any pity for those that "worry" about their investments. No bailout, no way!!!

    September 29, 2008 at 10:15 pm |
  3. joan ellen

    i haven't heard any mention of the fact that all the major corporations and businesses involved have, through their lobbyists, come to OWN in varying degrees each and every person in congress. it is difficult if not impossible to vote against the entity that you owe your political life to. much of the legislation that has been passed lately like the revised bankruptcy laws and no bid medications for medicare recipients has come from the urging of those firms that would profit the most, people in this country are also not as dumb as those that live inside the beltway seem to think. they can remember the "got to do it now" urging for the patriot act and the war in Iraq and are fully aware of where it's gotten us – gutting our constitutional rights and a war that will have no victory or end. i for one am glad it failed and i hope from the bottom of my heart that it will continue to fail until the 95% if us that are just making it day to day get back a little of what the fat cats at the top have skimmed off.

    September 29, 2008 at 10:15 pm |
  4. Doug

    Come on people. There is a reason we have a representative government. They are elected to do the research and make the tough decisions – even if it means they won't get reelected. The mass hysterics of the general populous (who don't have the economic background to make an informed decision) shouldn't influence our so called leaders.

    September 29, 2008 at 10:15 pm |
  5. Andrew O.

    I like what Dee said.

    The fact is that the whole financial/mortgage mess has Democratic Party fingerprints and DNA all over it. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is their pet project – a social engineering program gone horribly wrong and something the media is failing to report. The gall of Pelosi to go grandstanding, when Bush tried to establish oversight over the mortgage giants back in 2003, while Barney Frank and other Democrats were insisting that everything was fine.

    By the way, last time I checked, this is a Congress where the Democrats have a majority. They can pass anything they want... and don't need the Republicans. Duh!

    The financial bubble could not have occurred without the political bubble, which, hopefully, will burst with the next election. The spectacle of politicians and endless business and special interests peeing in each other's pockets must come to an end. Unfortunately, neither presidential ticket has the expertise or leadership vision to change the way Washington does business. Obama's instincts are in the other direction, and his expertise is in finding a line going somewhere, and then placing himself at its head. McCain's expertise is in challenging areas of government that need shaking up, but he's not capable of providing a broad vision of change. Furthermore, the two-party system polarizes the issues to such an extent, that you're guaranteed to be on the wrong side at least half the time. Yes, let's throw the incumbents out and elect INDEPENDENTS, who will answer to the people and not to special party interests!

    September 29, 2008 at 10:14 pm |
  6. Kirk K

    HELLO!!!!!! This is not just a $700 BILLION bailout plan – did everyone forget about Bear Sterns money we just dolled out a month ago??? How soon we forget. Let them all sell their golden parachutes for scrap value just like everyone else. You can't go to the casino, loose your money, then call to complain with expectations of getting it back. Thats the game when you roll the dice!

    September 29, 2008 at 10:14 pm |
  7. Bill

    All you people against the bail out please come back in one or two months and tell me about the jobs and how fun has been. Stop blaming wall street, it was everyone. It was the neighbor who bought something that couldnt afford, it was the broker that help him get the mortgage, it was us thinking our house will continue climbing, it was the realtors, it was home construction that spiked to the roof. I will challenge you to suffer a 20% unemployment.. hopefully doomsday doesn't come but if it does I want to see all of your faces....

    September 29, 2008 at 10:14 pm |
  8. Joe

    Thank you Congress; the Wall Street fat cats will be punished. All that this cost me so far is my retirement, but I suspect that I'll be paying a lot more for a long time. At least we're punishing those that caused this. But wait – the Wall Street fat cats probably moved their personal investments into T-bills before the crash. They can individually shrug off this punishment delivered on behalf of the voters. All we've managed to do is to cut off our noses.

    September 29, 2008 at 10:13 pm |
  9. Leah

    No one wants a bailout but no one should want a depression, either. When do the people who walked away with the big money give it back or go to jail? Obama is the largest recipient of contributions from the banks and financial institutions. Is he going to give back the money to the taxpayers? Obama was the largest recipient of money from Goldman Sachs. It is no wonder Obama is trying to hide. There is blame enough for everyone but those who want to pin it on only one party are wrong. At least McCain is trying to do something and has a long record of fighting corruption. That is more than can be said of Obama or Pelosi and Frank and Dodd and Reid. Paulson and other Republicans have plenty to answer for, as well. So maybe they need to work like adults and come up with some constructive solutions that will not place the mega-million salaries and bonuses and the bad debt that generated them on the backs of the hard-working taxpayers. And hopefully the hard-working taxpayers will follow the money trail and run out of town the Congressional members who benefitted from tainted contributions and did nothing in the oversght committess to stop this mess.

    September 29, 2008 at 10:12 pm |
  10. Donald J. Keffer

    Quit saying that $1.2 Trillion just vanished. (None of that was people selling stock for cash to withdrawl their investments for money to hold or reinvest?) and the next person that says that the ATM's won't work are just spreading panic and proving that they should not be believed, can anyone say takeover and/or FDIC coverage.

    September 29, 2008 at 10:12 pm |
  11. J.R.

    Has there ever been a louder cry for a third political party and third party presidential candidate than now. Assignment of blame has become more important than leadership. The lack of leaderhsip is that this bill should have never seen the light of day.

    No leadership from either side. Democrats had a chance to show leadership and instead Nancy Pelosi give a partisan speak as a way of "encouraging" the house to vote yes. This great tactic only served to highlight the fact that 90 of her own members voted no. Some leadership.

    Republicans are no better. No driving statement from the WhiteHouse. McCain come into to town halting his campaign but instead of seeing it through left after his political points had been made. The House Republicans have no unifying statement to explain their "no" vote (which was the only thing happened right)

    Where is the Obama brigade in all of this? Where are the new ideas? Where is the recognition that this was actually trouble over a year ago and he refused to address this in any meaningful way while he was an active Senator. Instead he simply blames Republican policies for what happened.

    Assignment of blame is the rule of the day. There is no leadership and we still won't have any leadership after this election no matter who wins.

    A viable third political party has the opportunity to bring the issue not the politics into focus. It has the opportunity to highlight the need for a true concensus to get this done that requires a real focus on the issues. Sure, it could cause even greater chaos in some circumstance but is anyone really prepared to argue that it can actually get worse!

    September 29, 2008 at 10:12 pm |
  12. edward brown

    thank you for your consistant voice of reason.

    September 29, 2008 at 10:11 pm |
  13. Richard B., Amherst, Mass


    I've read your op-ed's and seen you on the round table with "ABC This Week" and other programs and I typically agree with your views. But this time you're completely mistaken. The brave leaders that stood up to the fear mongering and peer pressure voted with their consicience and they deserve our praises (and votes). They see what you apparently don't see; this bill is nothing less than a hand-out to Wall St at the expense of mygrandchildren, and yours. Our system is desperately broken – but corporate welfare is not the answer. If Wall St. really is drunk as George W says it is then a good stiff dose of reality and a 12 step program is what's needed – not "another free drink from the well"!

    As for me, I'm a life long Democrat that has spent lots of time and treasure supporting the party. But not anymore – my representative (John Olver of Massachusetts) voted to bankrupt the country by supporting this bill. Either I'm in the wrong party or he is. He will not be receiving my support nor my vote this election and I hope others will join me. I will not support any politician that votes to burden the America middle class taxpayer with ill-conceived bills and expensive useless handouts.

    People of District 1 in Massachusetts be aware – John Olver voted to bankrupt your children and grand-children. He does not represent your best interest nor mine and he does not deserve your support nor your vote.

    September 29, 2008 at 10:09 pm |
  14. tina

    no .....no bailout...NONE, not one dime!

    September 29, 2008 at 10:09 pm |
  15. randy

    If the Republicans can't get a simple majority of their members to vote yes on any bailout package then there should no package should be passed by the Democrats.
    The Republicans are largely responsible for the mess we're all in...they must take responsibility...not blame Democrats for their own ineptitude and hubris.

    September 29, 2008 at 10:06 pm |
  16. JD King

    As one of the most trusted names please for the love of America would you beg of your colleagues and their producers to suspend the spin for a moment. The visual media is way too impressive and way more powerful than might be imagined. Just seems right now should be prime time old fashioned, "no opinion" reporting as opposed to fear. Look, this administration has sold all they are worth based on fear; because it seems to work. The nasty market folks know that. So do the terrorists. America needs from the press of all people some moderation in the hour of disaster and faiilure.
    You are old enough to recall positive versus negative while the bombs were still falling.

    Respectfully, JD, Tucson AZ

    September 29, 2008 at 10:05 pm |
  17. Chris McCuan

    What if every American household got subtantial releif and or a subtantial monetary incentive (worth thousands of dollars to each of these households) from part of this $700 billion dollar amount of money. After all, this problem has literally taken money from your average Americans and given to the wealthy seveal times over. Now these folks are in deep trouble. Give it back to them. So that they are not in at least as much trouble. (Someone smarter than me can do some more exact math as to just how much it would take to help Americans be able to help themselves and thereby help our withering economy.)

    September 29, 2008 at 10:02 pm |
  18. Kevin

    All the bailout will do is keep credit in the market, failed executives in charge, and people in homes the can't afford today or tomorrow.
    Credit that will continue to build and eventually be due. We can't continue to live on credit as if it is income. It's time to face a harsh reality. You act like America is going to fall into the ocean.

    If the bailout was truly that vital, and democrats are truly the party with the vision to run this country, why didn't they pass the bill . . . they have been given control of the house and senate to do just that exact thing. They failed the American people and the mandate they've been given.

    September 29, 2008 at 10:02 pm |
  19. shannon

    Here is the deal... I just moved to Charlotte and have watched for over a year as BOA and Wachovia over paid their people and gave interest free loans. Now there is an over abundance of folks in over their heads with housing. Plus, the "kens" (BoA and Wachovia ex-chiefs) are out living it up while their ex-employees struggle. Every spring, both banks presented HUNDREDS/THOUSANDS of folks with 1 milllion plus bonuses... for what??? This is an entire industry living in la la land. When we visited private schools for interviews, the first question was: what bank do you work for??? Reality is that YOU DO NOT DESERVE the amount you were being paid. Good Luck in reality!

    September 29, 2008 at 10:02 pm |
  20. Carol-Holland MI

    When my neighbors' homes went into foreclosure, our own home lost considerable value. We moved and need to sell this home, but the market no longer exists, and we would have to sell it for $80,000 less than we paid for it five years ago. Lucky us, we bought that house with lots of hard-earned equity, from years of making payments and 'moving on up' to larger homes. That means if we do have to bite the bullet, at least we won't owe more than we get from the sale.

    What we need is..a bailout. Not for us personally, but for our neighbors who still risk losing their homes because of adjusting mortgages. I could spend my time and tears whining about how unfair it is that foreclosures caused market prices to plummet, when WE never missed a payment, so why should my neighbor get a freebie? Unfair it may be, but in truth, I need my neighbors and their home prices to stabilize so I can cut my own losses.

    And by the same logic, I also need THE bailout. The enormous domino effect that is our economy is not going to recover and trickle to MY door until the banks can start making loans to both companies and people. I'm so sad that so many see this as a we vs. them battle, big guys profiting on the backs of the little guys. It's just not so.

    The intricacies of credit default swaps are out of my grasp, but I do understand the role of banks in our economy. I know that when the banks are forced to stop lending–and they already are being forced into that position–it won't be long before me, my neighbors, and the whole town will feel a collective pinch and personally, I'll start thinking that an $80,000 cash loss would have been a very good deal indeed.

    The biggest problem lately is poor communication. Sound bites and spin have triumphed over logic and clear explanations. A lot of people against the bailout really do not understand the cause-and-effect at play. Shame on news organizations and politicians for making no effort to provide us with accurate and objective information about the workings of our economy.

    September 29, 2008 at 10:02 pm |
  21. Laurence White

    Mr. Gergen.

    This is a follow-up to my earlier post. I have more respect for you than for most people in the media. But surely, if you have read the responses to your article, you now see how badly mis-aligned are the views of DC and the views of America.

    I have not seen the country this united since 9/11, but with one telling difference; this time around, our leading thinkers and doers are so far behind us we can barely make them out in the rear-view mirror.

    History is trying to send you a signal. For heaven's sake listen.

    September 29, 2008 at 10:00 pm |
  22. Andre

    I am also angry at the so called 'financial wizards' that made hundreds of billions of dollars in the last 5 years.
    I have the strong feeling that their 'sophisticated mathematical models' were nothing more than simple spreadsheets with many, many rows... Slice it, dice it...and sell it to an even 'smarter financial wizard'. In the end the biggest blame seems to go to the enablers, the SEC, the rating agencies, and of course the Federal Reserve.

    However, if we do not pass this bill then the middle class American will not be able to pay their credit card balance (the same 'financial wizards' will raise your rate for no reason, a reason is not required), people will not be able to refinance a mortgage (including all of them with good intentions), loose their jobs, etc, etc.

    The bail out plan should be structured so that the government buys now for a low price and has a chance of selling at a higher price (reverse auctions to buy will help).

    September 29, 2008 at 9:59 pm |
  23. Paul

    I can't stand folks who want the Congress to vote no to the bailout. I don't think they really understand what is at stake here.

    WHEN the markets tank and they lose their jobs and their homes, then I will have no sympathy. These folks must have no money in stocks, IRAs, Roths, 401Ks, or income property. They must be so self sufficient and independent that they don't need government at all. If that is the case, then why do they even care?

    September 29, 2008 at 9:58 pm |
  24. Karen

    Some to these comments are not to be believe. This bill has to pass. Why because the US economy is about to crash. Yes, it is alot of money but you see what happen today when the DOW closed.
    To those of you who say I played by the rules and don't want the bailout. The closing of the DOW today should give you a clue to what is instore for us.
    There is a crisis of credit in this country related to the mortgage meltdown. Yes, lenders and bowers are in the wrong but the time for blame and head in the sand mentality is gone. If this is not done a real and deep recession is upon us.
    To those of you who says this bill is just bailing out the fat cats on wall street , nothing could be father from the truth. This bill is bailing out the American citizen. We must think beyound out own turf. Because if this is allowed to contiune jobs will be lost and businesses will close. The cost to the taxpayer then will be very high. This bill allows the system to keep funtioning and in the long run the US taxpayer might make money on these securities.
    This bill has to be bipartisan. The Repugs had to get on board that is all there is to it. Failure to do nothing is to write our own death sentence. It is that dire.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:58 pm |
  25. Bob C.

    The same taxpayers who signed up for loans they knew they could never repay are the same ones who don't want a bailout. The CEO's salaries won't be able to begin to pay for all this mess. They are just a drop in the bucket. Stop focusing on them. You shouldn't be angry at them - they were just enablers. You should be mad at yourselves!

    Everybody who is against this bill is D-U-M-B. Without the bailout, kids cannot go to college, new businesses cannot start up, nobody can buy a house, and many people have to abandon retirement plans. And that's just for starters. We're looking at double-digit unemployment and possible double-digit inflation for at least 5 years.

    This isn't just a bailout of just Wall Street - it's a bailout of Main Street as well. Bad decisions were made all around with shady loans. Now even more bad decisions were made today at Capitol Hill.

    The only silver lining in this is that it is not too late for people (including Congress) to start acting responsibly.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:57 pm |
  26. Dennis

    Wow, so many different views. I really do not believe anyone knows what is best in this situation. I do hate all of the name calling that takes place here. I understand frustration but to call people idiots is just unproductive. Lets get out of junior high and start acting like adults.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:57 pm |
  27. mac

    I feel that George Bush, as a lame-duck president, is taking the wrong approach.

    Normally, the president has political power. He can offer or refuse to campaign for members of his own party. I really think that he could get more results now by threatening to campaign for Republicans who DON'T vote for his bill.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:56 pm |
  28. Rhett (Chicago)

    I think people really don't understand the significance of this, I DO think they are relatively stupid. There is no more credit, companies need credit to operation. GM doesn't have a dime to their name. They need people to buy cars. But people can't get loans. So GM gets no cash. In a week, they'll have to close down plants. That's people's jobs. So they can't go out to dine. So waiters get no business, so they lose their jobs... it is a spiral. And that is a big company, there are so many smaller ones... we FIRST have to get some credit into the markets (with accountability!) and THEN start getting people to stop living beyond their means (the greater problem, naturally). I guarantee you, when people start losing their jobs en masse, which will happen within days – if not weeks – you'll start thinking differently. I HATE THE BAILOUT as much as anyone, I wish we could draw and quarter the wall street tycoons, but we have to have something or else so much damage wil occur it will be too late.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:55 pm |
  29. Debbie, Denham Springs, Louisiana

    Both parties are to blame here. The Clinton administration highly encouraged sub prime loans and the Bush administration continued it. Wake up people...there is and never will be bipartisan ANYTHING in this government. I have worked DAMN hard for my retirement and everything I have and I WANT THE BAIL OUT. There is no other way. I also want SERIOUS changes GUARANTEED for the future to ensure that this never happens again. I want banks to stop loaning money to people who don't qualify for it. I want my retirement back. And don't look for a savior in November either-neither candidate should be President and we all know it but don't have the balls to admit it. And as for Nancy Pelosi-she needs a lobotomy.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:54 pm |
  30. Brenda

    People listen up. Something must be done to pass a bill quickly. The republicans playing russian roulette with our financial future is making me sick. WISE UP !!!!!! Every day we waste playing political games are costing people there jobs, their 401Ks and hopes and dreams are being shattered while these games are costing America.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:53 pm |
  31. JD King

    I hate this bill. I also hate seeing the undersde of a possums belly 'cause it makes me hungry. We Americans put these particular folks in office because we voted. That is the great thing about America; we voted. I for one happen to think our voted-in government is willing to admit a mistake. I for one am tired of beating the dog as it is obvious he is being beatin' by his own tail.
    Take the market and the big guys down if you think you can. In the morning you will still be tendning the garden and looking for a good lay from the chickens in order to eat.
    Let's get'm when we don't need'm. Leave Congress alone right now they have work to do. Gotta trust sometime. Isn't 700 points plus down enough of a sign? Change your vote when you can, but right now, let'm fix it.
    God bless,

    JD, Tucson AZ out of work and broke

    September 29, 2008 at 9:53 pm |
  32. Brenda Harris

    AMERICA Can we form a Give Us the BILLIONS Campaign. I know we could get the Economy going again Can't we. With no arguments and no baby talk.


    September 29, 2008 at 9:52 pm |
  33. Laurie

    Lawmakers pointing fingers at one another, how unusual ...NOT. I am glad this failed!! I think these companies should be declaring bankruptcy and the people who made these terrible decisions should be the ones paying for this. This whole problem is a result of their greed and main street should not have to pay for it [which we will anyway].

    September 29, 2008 at 9:51 pm |
  34. Stephen B

    When I hear it was voted down by feelings that got hurt or that congressmen were hearing from their constituents that they may not get re-elected if they voted "Yes', then it's not about us, it's about them.
    I am a financial planner, I see their pensions, I'd kill for a pension like that. I typically vote for a person that seems to have my best interests at heart. I hope that he's more informed about the topic that is being voted on. I only hear snippets most of the time. I wonder how many of the 10 to 1 constituents would have any investment losses by a no vote, per statistics, maybe three, how many hear more than snippets and are truly informed. Maybe two. Come on, we're just proving to the rest of the world that our system of gov't etc. is no better than theirs, only different; what a shame.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:51 pm |
  35. Ron

    The lessons of common sense and history are being ignored in this debate (and blog).

    Passions among the common folks are running high and being honestly represented in the House. However, our founding fathers did not want the passions of the people to be the only basis of governing-less short-sighted solutions rule the day as in this case.
    Everyone, EVERYONE agrees this bill is a bitter pill to swallow but doing nothing will be much worse..it is time for the government (Senate?) and the American people to make some tough choices...and very soon.

    The comments about needing LEADERSHIP are dead on. Think of the ridiculousness of the argument that the GOP leadership is using by blaming the Democrats for the failure of this bill. If the bill is so bad why not brag about it's demise and take credit for making a brave decision? Instead of taking credit the GOP blames the other side for the bill's failure to pass. Doesn't this suggest that they know that something difficult needs to be done (like passing this bill or something like it) but are unwilling to do so? Instead of leading the people the House is just giving into the passions of the moment which is why we are in this mess to begin with.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:50 pm |
  36. Brandon

    Another polarizing piece of commentary. To echo a few previous comments. 1) 95 Dems voted NO. 2) The banks that did terrible business should go out of business. I am not going to foot the bill for bad investment decisions and incredibly risky business tactics. 3) This isn't even mentioning the $630 BILLION the federal reserve put into the markets today. I can't believe no one is reporting this. What sham journalism.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:50 pm |
  37. dion

    all i know is i work construction. i was one of the 34.000 layed off in august in california due to lack of work. i sat home fo a month and a half, and now im back at work. for a week and the project manager tells me that a meeting is scheduled for next week to determine what is going to happen since the construction industry is based largely on the basis of credit this affects me dirrectly,and you too if you are'nt a person making six figures.if you consider this a bail out for wallstreet you clearly are'nt paying attention. we are all interconnected not only in this country ,but all over the world. we all need credit ,and the public is not taking the time to actually see what this involves. todays market is only a glimpse of whats to come. the longer we wait the price goes higher. with our severd ties with other nations who do you think will come to our rescue. who will stop terrorism in this country if we can't afford to power our defense.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:50 pm |
  38. Michelle

    I do not want to hear from a political analyst. We need to listen to the experts – economists. Jeffrey A. Miron is senior lecturer in economics at Harvard University:

    "The obvious alternative to a bailout is letting troubled financial institutions declare bankruptcy. Bankruptcy means that shareholders typically get wiped out and the creditors own the company.

    Bankruptcy does not mean the company disappears; it is just owned by someone new (as has occurred with several airlines). Bankruptcy punishes those who took excessive risks while preserving those aspects of a businesses that remain profitable."

    yes, shareholders will suffer but the stock market is NOT a guarantee – you take risks and sometimes you lose. Taxpayers -especially those not invested in the shares of risky companies, those who live within their means – they should not shoulder this burden

    September 29, 2008 at 9:50 pm |
  39. Bill Short

    Great summary of what went on today with solid recommendations and observations as to what needs to be done now. Hope all get to read it and help get this problem behind us. Thank you (again), David.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:49 pm |
  40. Kenneth Coup

    We need not worry about Bin Laden ruining the US Econemy Pres.Bush and the banks have already done that!! A depression would be a good thing,in the long run it would teach all the fat cats a big lesson.Why put more on the lower and mid class when most of us had nothing to do with putting the banks in the state there in? NO bailout is a good thing!!! A depression will only hurt the people who think they are better than every one else. thank you and good night.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:49 pm |
  41. RJG

    Washington is such a disfunctional place....its really an embarassment to think that we are the world's most powerful nation...well, then again, maybe we're not. Nobody like this bailout...unquestionably, the American people are left holding the bag for the greed and free for all we have had over the last 10 to 15 years. There's no accountability or responsibility, no values in our governance other than holding on to power, – and saddly our country is in incredibly bad shape at home and abroad. As a registered republican, I say its time for a change...my party deserves to get booted out of town, and lets give the dems a chance to screw it up (hopefully not!). On the bailout, – I agree with the majority of Americans that its ludicrous that we should bailout the fat and super greedy cats on Wall Street that created this whole mess, but I think in the short term we need the bill to stabilize the financial markets and the economy, and in the long term we need to protect the American taxpayer and insure a return on the people's investment....the bailout. Its a disgrace that we should be in this position...but not a surprise.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:48 pm |
  42. Matt

    Kudos to you Mr. Gergen: truly a great mind in the mindnumbing media.

    This day will become one of the saddest in U.S. history, and given the ascendancy of the Asian heavyweights, it will no doubt serve as the dying day of America's influence in the global economy.

    Ours is an economy that fuels itself and others (yes, China and India) based on its ability to consume. Without significant lines of credit, our economy will be on life-support in no time.

    What is perhaps most depressing, is that we had Hoover economics as an example of what NOT to do when markets are unstable: i.e., nothing. Those who think that this bill would have converted our economy to socialism or only benefited the wealthy are terribly misguided, and when you lose your job or your boss can't pay you on Friday, please don't wonder why.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:48 pm |
  43. Robben Salyers

    I'm not in favor of the bailout – however, I'm also not in favor of... Marshal Law. Make no mistake about it, we as a nation are heading down the wrong path. Guy's this is not the 1920s. This meltdown could make the riots of the 1960s look like children play. Congress needs to act before we hit the tipping point.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:48 pm |
  44. Linda

    I can't believe there is so MUCH hatred and ugliness in the world. It's all about partisan politics and greed... yep, the almighty dollar. I also cannot believe that people don't know there is no "free lunch." When they bought their homes with little or no down payment, adjustable interest rates, obviously they were in way over their head. Unfortunately, too many uninformed people did this. I am glad the failed in the house, but I blame the dumb people that bought homes, thinking they were going to make out like a "bandit." Well, guess what folks? There is no free lunch. Didn't your mother ever tell you that?

    September 29, 2008 at 9:47 pm |
  45. Patricia

    Sorry, my last two paragraphs sound like Sara Palin. I'll try again.

    ......It is going to get worse before it gets better if a bill that needs to be passed doesn't get passed. We need the bill passed to get the economy moving again even though it doesn't include everything we would want in it. It does seem to address the most important right now.

    If those Congressmen who voted against the bill did so just so they would get re-elected have not done themselves any justice, or helped the American people.

    I am very angry about this. I hope when Congress reconvenes to re-vise some aspects of this bill to get passage, that voters will have had time to rethink this and let the Congressmen do their job. They have heard from you, now let them use what you have said, and what they know and understand and let them do their job – you voted them in, now trust them.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:45 pm |
  46. Kathy, Chicago

    I just read the blog and I'm more confused then before. I did understand Ms Orman. J Jackson Jr voted against and he heads Obama's campaign. Does that mean that Obama is against it also? Will McCain and Obama bother to vote? What ever happened to the moratorium on foreclosures that Hillary suggested. Wouldn't that help main street while Congress helps Wall Street? This plan seems to have more holes than swiss cheese. We can't please Rep's and Dem's, so they need to compromise and vote on a plan that is good for America-not Wall Street or Main Street.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:45 pm |
  47. Brian

    Just yet another example of President Bush's failed leadership during his 8 years fo failed domestic and foreign policy. Bush seems to have as much power as Queen Elizabeth in Great Britain's Parliament, which is none! Where America is today, is what happens when a President allows the world's largest economy to go recklessly unregulated and believes that the trickle down theory of wealth makes it to America's middle-class families. No wonder his approval rating continues to plummet like the stock market! When McCain voted in agreement with Bush NINETY % of the time, that makes him only TEN % of a Maverick in the eyes of most Americans.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:45 pm |
  48. Dan

    I tell you, reading the comments on this page confirms my issue complaint with people. Too many Americans can only see 2 feet in front of them. Everything is okay until you open the door and it's storming outside and you're shocked to see the rain. Only, the forecast was given well in advance. Too many of you ignore the forecasts. Ali Velshi explained it very well. He said we won't feel the pinch today or tomorrow but slowly and surely it will come and people will ask, how'd this happen? Well, look at all those who e-mailed and called their representatives in Congress to vote 'no' on the bail out. Short sightedness.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:45 pm |
  49. GEORGE TSCHOEPE, Cypress, Texas

    The guy that wrote this article is part of the problem. The House Members did the correct thing. The people that receive these 7 and 8 figure salaries are living in the Land of Oz, the one without the brain.
    WE THE PEOPLE, don't live in "la, la" land, we are the ones working and allowing someone like the writer of the article to exercise their free speech, no matter how flawed his thoughts and writings may be.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:44 pm |
  50. Rejean

    The bailout plan proposed by the Bush administration was not the best approach. However, I do not understand why neither Obama nor McCain, proposed another solution to solve the current financial crisis. Does presidential candidates, senators or house representatives proposed alternative idea?

    I know that there are other solutions like lending money to the financial institution, so they can lend money to the Americain.

    September 29, 2008 at 9:44 pm |
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