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. Ace


    September 29, 2008 at 11:25 pm |
  2. Nate Lewis

    Are you kidding me! Our country financial future is in the tank, and they wanna play the blame game. These Fat cats have been in Washington for so long that they can't face reality. I don't believe that they actually think and understand that this a very serious crisis! It was a serious crisis 2 years ago, and they did nothing! Now! American tax payers are going to pick up the bill, due to Wall Street GREED and COVETOUSNESS. What ever happened to morals and Values? I guess that's not more important than money

    September 29, 2008 at 11:25 pm |
  3. Frank Feather (Canada)

    I agree 100% with David Gergen. He said precisely what I would say. What people fail to understand is that the financial system is in dire need of a blood transfusion. It needs liquidity, or else the entire economy can grind to a stunning halt.

    I too wish to preserve the capitalist system and keep it healthy. But it is now critically ill. By voting down this Bill today, the supporters of capitalism actually destroyed more capital (on the stock market) than the Bill is designed to inject. In other words, they made the situation worse, and have caused further deterioration in bank balance sheets. There action (or inaction) has in fact put the capitalist system at risk.

    All those who support capitalism and a free market economy need to wake up and realize that this injection of liquidity is essential. Otherwise the entire economy could collapse, and could do so very swiftly.

    A strong economy is an essential element of national security. If the economy suffers, America will be weaker abroad. And if the economy is weaker, foreigners will be less inclined to lend money to the US government - as did the Bank of Canada today, injecting $30 billion into the US Federal Reserve to provide it with cash.

    If capital is not injected into the banks, numerous banks will fail. Depositors and shareholders will lose their capital. Businesses will go under because they cannot borrow. I cannot stress enough how important it is that some concerted action be taken. Indeed, in my estimation, the $700-bn is nowhere near enough - even more so after today.

    So if you really want to preserve the American way of life, and the free market economy, I urge you to in turn urge your representative in Congress to support this Bill or some modified version of it. Not to do so will be extremely shortsighted and will have dire consequences.

    September 29, 2008 at 11:23 pm |
  4. Tom in Chicago

    Today's loss is directly related to Bush's scare tactics from last week. It is no surprise that the very people that stood to immediately benefit from the bailout became skeptical of the market and pulled out. The money was there, they just pulled out. But that was their money, not ours. We are looking for a long term solution, not what would have protected the market during a day of bad political press.

    I have never in my use of credit had the impression that should I default on my loans, that the government would step in to bail me out. Even when I had overwhelming debt after starting a small business, I didn't claim bankruptcy. I learned my mistakes and buckled down and paid down my own debt. In fact, bankruptcy, the scapegoat for unfortunate investments in the past, is now more difficult to rely on. As individuals, it's an even greater slap on the hand for taking a risk with investments.

    I recall even a time of great personal difficulty, where my debt climbed to a point that caused the credit card companies to triple my interest rate when they thought that I had no way out. My debt to income ration had climbed slightly over 50%. That was their reason. I was paying on time and no negative hits to my credit.

    Credit card companies are predatory. There is no secret there. Although I have no faith in receiving any compassion during my hardship, credit companies are now asking for compassion from me? Come on!

    Bush is to blame for sensationalizing this in a two minute speech and running back into hiding. He caused a panic and caused further economic unrest. Based on his previous tactics, I do not put it past him or his administration, to cause panic so close to an election. It is too convenient and too close to a floundering McCain campaign to cause this level of an alarm so close to what McCain himself advocated was a "mental recession" and that we were a bunch of whiners. According to them, the economy was just fine. Their platform is flagrant and inconsistent.

    I'm not falling for it. This is a short-term hit, and the only way out of it is not to entrust our faith into irresponsible and self-serving leaders such as Bush or McCain.

    September 29, 2008 at 11:23 pm |
  5. Glenn

    Many Americans think they know what is best, and are demanding that their representatives block the bailout. Holy crap, you guys are in over your heads. Congress has direct input from some of the most knowledgeable economists of our time, and you don't. I'll trust in Warren Buffett & Henry Paulson before I trust the guy who thinks JP Morgan controls 7 times the US GDP, or the lady who thinks the money is going to pay off the individual mortgages of subprime borrowers, or the guy who is proposing $100 trillion of tax refunds.

    Oh, by the way, the people who actually understand how the economy works think we need to rescue the companies who bought the loans from all those collapsed banks. I'm with them. I remember the 1970's and 1980's. They were not a good time for citizens, or for American prestige & power. I have no wish to repeat that time.

    Congress should know better. That's called honest leadership, something we've seenscant little of lately.

    September 29, 2008 at 11:22 pm |
  6. Ace

    Lets not forget that Nancy Pelosi would not even allow a vote on off shore drilling and over 70% of the public wanted it. The Democrats want to blame but not try to work in a bipartisan manner. Throw her and others out of office.

    September 29, 2008 at 11:22 pm |
  7. Jane

    This is a dark day for the country. Here we FINALLY have the attention of our representatives, and they do what we ask! Sure, freedom is just another word for "nothing left to lose." Since my body had the audacity to betray me with illness, I lost my job, access to health care coverage, lack money for necessary surgery, lost my home, my car, my furniture (sold out of necessity). I feel for my friends who still have 401K accounts. My 401K was spent rapidly when I got sick.

    There will be a silver lining: we will probably take more of an interest in the folks we elect to represent us; with luck, the Golden Parachute rich people will lose SOME of their unhidden fortunes; we will have to live within our means and pay cash; Detroit will do what it CAN do and turn out a good, fuel efficient car; we WILL become less dependent on foreign loans – what countries are left to lend us money now??? All I know for sure is that when the economy tanks, small businesses prosper. I know this because I owned and operated a small business for 17 years and my best years were when we were in recessions.

    September 29, 2008 at 11:20 pm |
  8. David

    I think it is time to calm down...calm down...calm down. The sky is not falling, no matter what Paulsen would like you to believe. Sure, a few dozen banks might go into bankrupcy and be bought. Their viable operations will be saved, but through the bankrupcy process, the responsible parties will take losses. I'm not at all afraid of the 1T that was lost today. Big frickin' deal. I checked my accounts, and I think our net worth dropped by about $80K. But I don't really plan on selling anything, and I think that over 10 or 20 years, this week will be a blip. As a matter of fact, I have about $200K cash in various accounts, and I'll find a good time to actually get that cash back into equities in the coming weeks.

    I am against this bailout –despite my $80K blow today– because it is so fundamentally unfair. I truly don't think we are going to see any kind of major implosion of the American System - companies will rise to the occasion because they can make a lot of money after the dust settles a bit. All the "sky is falling" talk of this past week has largely been fear of the unknown. No one really knows exactly what is going to happen, so everyone blabbers on and on as if it is the end of the world. Just calm down...it WILL be OK. (just not tomorrow)

    September 29, 2008 at 11:20 pm |
  9. Mark

    What a day watching democracy in action! Congress finally listened to the people. This bailout is crap. Congress literally told americans this bill is crap but it was better than the crap it was before so why should we settle for it. One senator called it a mud sandwich. Kudos to all those voted aginst it and stood up for american values and morales. Why sign up for something thats crap the bankers and investors did that years ago selling bad mortgages. Should we do it again! People need to take the silver spoons out of their mouths,crawl out of their cribs,dig in,grow a set,and deal with it. Stick up for yourself. I would rather lose my job and home eating dog food than sign the dotted line for another bad deal thats gonna take 700 billion dollars out of my pocket, my childs pocket, and my grandchilds. I would rather take the beating of a depression so the future of my children and grandchildren can be better for them.

    September 29, 2008 at 11:19 pm |
  10. Ace

    David Gergen is a wrong. The Republicans did what their constituents wanted them to do. The other problem is no one has explained the depth of this problem so no one understands that this failure affects everyone, not just Wall Street. WHY ARE THEY TAKING TWO DAYS OFF??? DISGUSTING.

    September 29, 2008 at 11:18 pm |
  11. Jeff

    Theresa, here is the short answer: if we do not take the bad loans off the books of the banks, there will be no money available for us.

    If you own a business, you will have to shut down.

    If you work for a company, you will lose your job.

    If you keep your job, you won't be able to make major purchases.

    The USA would, in a matter of months, start to resemble a third-world country. This is what happened in the Great Depression and it could happen again if we repeat foolish mistakes like so many people posting on this site would have us do.

    September 29, 2008 at 11:17 pm |
  12. Helen

    . I think people need to realize that the failure of these banks affects us all WORLDWIDE. Whether or not whose fault it is, their continual failure be our downfall. There are people in my hometown who cannot be paid because of this situation. THIS is how it affects us, and THIS is why we need to support the bailout.

    September 29, 2008 at 11:17 pm |
  13. Eric

    Jim D:
    High oil prices caused this crisis? By that you prove that you have no idea what are the root – or the branches – of this bad mortgage securities driven cancer. If you will not listen to David Gergen, then you might as well go to bed before the news. You understand nothing.

    September 29, 2008 at 11:17 pm |
  14. Josh

    I wonder how many people who have submitted comments on this blog and oppose the bailout hold degrees in economics. My guess is that I could count them on both hands, if that.

    If you don't understand the problem, you shouldn't be entitled to an opinion. There are people who are much smarter than I am who are in a far better position than me, Joe Blow, to say what will or won't work for the economy.

    David S in Pittsburgh is right on the money: listen to the experts. The Average American, like it or not, is no expert. (Yes, Jim D., I am *definitely* saying that most people, myself included, are too stupid to fully understand the problem, except for realizing there will be pain.)

    September 29, 2008 at 11:16 pm |
  15. Jeanene

    I'm just wondering why nobody is trying to vote Bush out of office. He's the main reason why the United States is going down the drain. Leave it to Bush the United States is goin to became a third world country!!!!!!

    September 29, 2008 at 11:16 pm |
  16. Carl


    I knew there was a reason I liked you. The reason so many argue for the bailout has nothing to do with Wall Street. It boils down to the following question: "Would you rather stick it to Wall Street or would you rather have a job." A frozen finance system forces businesses operating on loans to cut expenses.

    Yea, you may stick it to Goldman Sachs. You also just cost hundreds of thousands of people their jobs. Good Work!

    And a quick answer, to lack of constituent support. This is an example of democratic failure (not the party.) Democracy demands (if it is to be a reliable system) that a populace be educated on what they vote for. In the case of macro-economics, you would be lucky if one out of ten people can actually describe the components of GDP. I would say a consensus of macro-economists say that a short intervention is necessary to stave off major recession. Yet a majority of the populace disagrees. Doesn't that point to a problem with the lack of education on the topic rather than sound policy judgement? If Congress and the populace isn't going to listen to the experts it employs, is that ANY different than the CEO's of the mortgage companies not listening to their risk experts when they were warned about these loans that are causing the problem now? They're called experts for a reason, and it's not because they'll always agree with you.

    September 29, 2008 at 11:15 pm |
  17. Cindy

    Here is a sugestion everyone e-mail their congressman and tell them to get their bottoms back to DC and work out this problem now. There are no days off in a crisis are they crazy. What are they children or adults, get back to work now and do what is right for the country. If you don't you all deserve to be fired.

    September 29, 2008 at 11:15 pm |
  18. Adam Sissom

    C’mon we all know what would happen if this wallstreet bailout passes. The big FBI investigation will be dropped, the CEO’s will be richer and we americans paid for it. Why bail wallstreet out when we can bailout america for 700 billion dollars? Its just another example of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. It is time for americans to stand up and show these fat cats and politications that we dont wont there greediness to mess this country up any more than it alredy is. There are plenty of others ways we could spend 700 billion in the economy. So who really benifits from this politications and fat cats or the american people? I think we all know the anwser.

    September 29, 2008 at 11:13 pm |
  19. Richard

    I don't feel that this companies should be bailed out. I'm just thinking of my 401 which is taking a big hit because of this crisis. It isn't the fault of the people that are losing their homes it is the fault of the lenders. Those people shouldn't have to suffer because they were lied too from the lenders. At the age of 46 I was able to afford to by a home (condo) of my own. I was given one of those lousey loans, and wasn't told what would really happen after the arn was up. I was able to get a fix loan when the aem was up 1 month before the crisis started. Not all people were able to a fix loan becuse of their incomes or finances. That is the only reason that I fell they need a bailout.

    September 29, 2008 at 11:13 pm |
  20. Greg

    In case my previous comment was too inflammatory, I see many of the folks in this section still too focused on the status quo, in some form or another....

    Look, it's time for a new start. We have the most incredible foundation to rebuild our country from with our Constitution and our Bill of Rights. We have realities to deal with domestically e.g. the ability to self sustain from agriculture to manufacturing. The foundation of money is no different than any organized religion...it's faith based. Lose faith and what happens. I don't think anyone has lost faith in this country, just the leadership and example set by those entrusted with the greater good of all. Mr. Gergan talks about the short term catastrophe, let's not minimize the significance of this, of the collapse (perhaps globally) of the economy. None of us, including myself can really fathom the difficulties of surviving through this, but that is the one constant that we can take from history, WE TEND TO SURVIVE. Yes, soup kitchens of the early 30's could return for the masses. Crime would escalate then recede simply due to the fact that it's hard to commit crime for money when no one has any. Perhaps none of this will happen as the changes necessary to move beyond paying beyond our means finally are accepted. Leave your morals at home and think with ethics.....no income tax, simply a consumption tax on everything but real basic necessities; the legalization thus taxation of all goods ( with the necessary consequences for abuse and crime arising from this). Checks and balances would have to be considered but within Constitutional guidelines shouldn't be difficult now that we've learned what doesn't work.

    Let's hope we can initiate these changes while we're in chaos. Good luck to us and if you do pray to whatever...it's probably as good a time as there ever was...

    September 29, 2008 at 11:11 pm |
  21. Ace

    This is Nancy Pelosi's fault. Not only did she make ignorant, bipartisan remarks , she couldn't bring on her own democratic members to vote yes. The Democrats do not need the Republican votes–they should just get it done.

    September 29, 2008 at 11:10 pm |
  22. Cindy

    I lost $3000 today and the Republicans are telling me that I lost this because their feelings were hurt and they voted against this bill because of that. What really says it all is that the congress had T.V.'s on showing the stock market going in the toilet and they just didn't care. Vote Democrat and through the bumbs who voted against this Obama step up into the leadership roll now we can not wait.

    September 29, 2008 at 11:09 pm |
  23. Dawn

    People! Sure it sounds good in theory – let 'those rich guys' fix this – but they can't! There is no way other than a planned/controlled federal system to fix this. And as 'Joe and Jane public' screams about the rich guys – each and every one of them is already paying in lost pensions and investments and they will do so in the disappearance of future employment and business opportunities. Without this major fix our economy will go into 'lock down' mode. If no one is hiring and no one is investing because everyone has lost all of their funding everyone gets hurt. Rich and Poor – and guess which one will get hurt more? Us – the poor.

    I am completely disappointed in Pelosi for trying to grab credit BEFORE the vote was in but the Republicans used her comments as an excuse and tried to run for cover.

    Why did they do this because they are ALSO afraid of loosing their jobs so they also used Joe and Jane Public as an excuse. They voted under the cover provided by a lot of people who are ready to hang everyone on Wall Street with knee jerk reactions and don't realize they are breaking the legs of the country.

    September 29, 2008 at 11:07 pm |
  24. chris

    Typical Republican stunt.....They get they're feelings hurt by Pelosi and they turn around and hurt the country. The Republican party can no longer be taken seriously !

    September 29, 2008 at 11:07 pm |
  25. Chris

    Blue-collar workers have had their jobs shipped overseas by business executives who earn 6-figure salaries. Now those 6-figure executives are losing their jobs in the financial market crisis and the government want to bail them out using tax money collected from blue-collar workers. How dare they! The government really has some nerve.

    September 29, 2008 at 11:06 pm |
  26. Nancy

    So you're happy that "those rich guys on Wall Street" are going to pay? So where did all that money that those big guys on Wall Street are going to lose come from? Do you supposed that the financial system is a little more complex than that a banker on Wall Street uses his own money to finance those investments/mortgages that are going bad? Could it be that YOUR 401K or other monies that are invested in various vehicles was used as backing - or that your loan financing is tied in too? So could it be that everybody who is rejoicing that "those rich guys on Wall Street" are going to lose their shirts don't realize that YOU might lose too? So you recognize there may be pain, but what the heck, it's THOSE GUYS who will suffer the most? Get real!

    September 29, 2008 at 11:06 pm |
  27. Chris

    If we are going to bail out America we should split the 700 billion dollars among all of the households in America. Everyone could then pay off their debts and the banks would then have their money back . This would not only spur the economy but give America the fresh start we so desperately needs.

    September 29, 2008 at 11:05 pm |
  28. Rick

    News people are saying we lost $1.2 trillion today. Where did it go? Is it real money or just over-valued stocks? If I try to sell an old car for $100,000 but only get $3000 for it, can I say I lost $97,000?

    Banks have stopped making loans; isn't that how they make money? If we wait a bit, won't they start making loans again? If not, why can't we force them to make loans? We tell some groups what they can or can't do (e.g. health workers can't strike), why are bankers above that?

    We've all gone through lean times; why can't bankers just accept that they aren't going to make a lot of money for a few years? Pilots and airliner crews gave up part of their salaries to keep the airlines in business; why can't bankers? Are just a bunch of spoiled sissies?

    September 29, 2008 at 11:04 pm |
  29. Cindy

    This is a well written article and good advise. Now how do you get the politicians we currently have to hear it and follow it. When people loose their jobs because of their Congressmans' failure to act, I hope people when they loose their homes camp out on their front lawns of the Congressman who voted against this bill.

    September 29, 2008 at 11:03 pm |
  30. Phil

    READ THE BILL! 95% of the responses here are based either upon either Bush's first proposal or upon theoretical "free market" ideology, and neither of them has anything to do with reality. The reality is the bill was NOT a bailout in any way, it was dollar neutral at worst and most likely would end up with a profit which could be used to pay off the govt debt. Please tell me how Americans with pensions or IRAs or whatever - whether now or in the future - benefit from the loss of $1.2 trillion dollars in the stock market today. This is where their pensions and IRAs are invested. They will lose at least that much again over the next week. In what way is this better than the bill, which 95% of you have obviously not read?

    September 29, 2008 at 11:03 pm |
  31. DAvid in NY

    "She may think this charge is unfair but since so much is at stake ..."

    Why Mr. Gergen, must Democrats always be the ones to be reasonable? Why do you not hold Republicans to as high a standard of conduct? Because you know Republicans are irresponsible?

    Speaker Pelosi said nothing bad, nothing any worse than the average Republican said. Yet, because their poor feelings were hurt (not really of course but as an excuse), they scuttled the plan they had promised to support.

    This stab in the back deserves more notice than you give it. It's about time you demanded that Republicans act like grown-ups.

    September 29, 2008 at 11:01 pm |
  32. Daniello

    No one knows for sure what will happen over the next few days. But my guess is that the strongest will survive, that unless you need your money tomorrow you will stay in your 401k, and that the free market will take care of the weak in their own way, without the sympathy the weak are begging from the poor and middle class. Let the strong and wise survive, and the government stay out.

    September 29, 2008 at 11:01 pm |
  33. chris

    All this talk of letting the Street pay for its losses denotes a basic flaw in understanding about how our economy works. Value based on confidence. If your market has no confidence it has no value, your currency has none. Worse, with credit seized up, no one with value is capable of getting it to those without value. It is like trying to donate money when the bank has locked your account. Government and the street are not trying to take our hard earned money so much as restore confidence/value.

    My question, as well as the 'insiders' is, would you like to take out some insurance by paying now and hopefully avoiding a crash, or risk eating brined tumbleweed and rabbit roadkill should the market fail?

    $700 billion is a lot of cash. But it is nothing compared to what could happen if our creditors lose confidence in the value of their American investments. Want to trade dollars evenly for Egyptian Piasters? It is fairly simple, do nothing to free up liquidity/confidence/value in our economy.

    Falafel anyone?

    September 29, 2008 at 11:01 pm |
  34. Canuck

    I'd prefer that NOT ONE RED CENT of my money go to bail out what is ultimately a group of crooks and thieves who fleeced the public for years and years. Let them swim in the problem they created. Let the system crash. And the crooks and thieves on Capitol Hill can swim in it with them. My family and I won't go hungry. Those who can't imagine how they'll get by without their BMW will die off...and the country will be stronger in the end. Let the monetary system as we know it today die. Lets go back to trading goods and services. 2 chickens for some carpentry work.....a cow for a firearm. If you're a corporate big wig with no skills other than fleecing the public, you'll go hungry.
    If you have no skills to contribute to the "tribe", you'll be banished.

    September 29, 2008 at 11:00 pm |
  35. Ben

    Every month when I pay my mortgage payment, I pay something called a Mortgage Insurance Premium. Doesn’t that mean that the bank will be paid if I defaulf on my mortgage? I don’t have a subprime loan, but don’t those people pay mortgage insurance and shouldn’t the banks and mortgage companies be covered? If this is not the case, somebody help me understand. Why are we bailing out anybody?

    September 29, 2008 at 10:59 pm |
  36. Tim Rivard

    This is one of those problems that just plain old horse sense will not enable one to offer a valid opinion.

    We are in no man's land of economic theory. Already, forces are at work that are not black and white – not republican or democrat. It is wise to agree that this too will change.

    Everybody, better do some push-ups and eat right ... just in case.

    September 29, 2008 at 10:57 pm |
  37. David

    No one more than myself hates this bill. I do not like the idea of bailing out greedy wallstreet types. However, that being said we must stop and think about what is at stake here. Some one posted on here "we may have to suffer for awhile." Folks I don't think you truely understand what is at stake. It will not just be suffering. Stop and think about your paycheck. Most business use a line of credit to help with payroll while waiting for payments for goods and services. That will stop. Your credit card will eventually stop, even if you pay it on time, they have that right and will excerise it. Some of those same companies may call you balance due and payable NOW! The same with your home equity line. There is far more stake here than just bailing out Wallstreet. This is something that must be done. I would like much tighter restrictions on this bill. Such as no severance pay for the top management at these companies and much tighter regulation on these people. Any Republican or Democrat screaming for less deregulation should have to re-live the last 2 weeks.

    If something is not done this will get very, very, very ugly. Something that no one on this board has ever seen. It is also going to reduce the US to the side lines as a world power. Think about it people. Think of what our enemies would like to happen here with this.

    September 29, 2008 at 10:56 pm |
  38. Duncan, MO

    Why can't these legislators come up with a REAL SOLUTION that protects the taxpayers and helps the financial industry to get back on it's feet. A true "rescue" plan, not a bail out. This plan should be a LOAN to financial institutions, that will be paid back, with a hefty amount of interest. BUT, there has to be conditions and terms in these loans. Any financial institution that wants to borrow money to shore up their assets, MUST, replace all their executives, get rid of the people that got them into this mess in the first place. They must agree to restructure the debt and mortgages they hold that are bad. Work with the people that owe you money to come up with a plan they can afford. It makes no sense to foreclose on homes. The banks can't sell them for what is still owed on them, plus if the banks foreclose, then the banks are responsible for propery taxes too. Take smaller payments over longer periods of time and the banks will still be getting their money back instead of losing money. This plan also MUST have strict oversight, and NOT by the bankers or Congress, and everything they do must be transparent.

    There is no reason Congress can't come up with a real solution that works and protects the American People. Congress needs to keep working til they get it right, and not take a vote until they are sure of their headcount!

    The market will rally back, not overnight, but faster than Bush and some of his economic advisers are saying. Once these financial institutions start to shore up, the market will rebound.

    September 29, 2008 at 10:55 pm |
  39. Sally Martin

    On the Bailout. How about dividing the700Billion dollars among all of the households in America. That would be great. Then we would not need credit, we could spend spend spend and help the economy. More jobs, more taxes more everything and everyone would be happy?
    Also, the media themselves helped with the nay vote. they pictured this whole thing in a neg view. Therefore, coloring the viewing audience in a negative way. Be careful media, are you running this country? SAM

    September 29, 2008 at 10:55 pm |
  40. Rich

    The "fear" goes back to 1929, when the federal government froze credit, and suddenly, businesses went awash because they were unable to pay their bills.

    Today, the feds have already released hundreds of billions in cash to the banks–who are hoarding it, and instead buying assets. BOA bought Countrywide, MBNA, Merrill Lynch–now we, the tax payer, have to alleviate them of their debt? I don't think so.

    The government should direct lend to the consumer.

    If it lends to banks again, it should at the universal default rate they charge us on credit cards.

    September 29, 2008 at 10:54 pm |
  41. Mary

    I am shocked at the selfish tone of these posts. The world is looking to the US for leadership. This is not a matter of bailing out "fat cats." Instead, it's an urgent attempt to prevent a world wide financial catastrophe. The global economic system for credit and finance is like a house of cards. Faith in that system is what prevents a slight breeze from knocking it down.

    There are many, many people who believe as I do-They are not happy with the solutions offered but understand they are necessary to protect us all. This not a time for angry, ignorant lashing out. I have always admired David Gergen for his calm intelligent non-partisan commentary. His post on remedying today's reckless, irresponsible behavior by the House is another example of why I–along with many others-look to him for objectivity.

    September 29, 2008 at 10:53 pm |
  42. Bruce Paglia

    David Gergen acts like the almighty authority on how things should be done and whose to blame.

    David NEWS FLASH....The blame is with the democrates who would not allow for more oversight into Fannie Mae because it was and still is a retirement home for democrates to make more money. Secondly Sarbaines-Oxley has this stupid mark to market accounting rule which is destroying lending institutions. Third, Chuck Schumer should be under investigation for comments that led to a run on IndyMac bank. And Barney Franks should be held accountable for requiring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac lend money to people for homes would could pay for them.

    So David.....the next time you decide to lecture the American people, start by admitting where the real blame lies, then try not treating like a bunch of unintelligent people, and finally try telling the truth not the party line.

    September 29, 2008 at 10:53 pm |
  43. suzy

    This was truly high theater. What most people have missed is that the Democrats wanted the bill to fail. If you watched the roll call minute by minute Democrats withheld voting while they watched to see what the Republcan tally would be. They were very careful not to have too many yesses . I believe that they decided that they would "require" a certain number of Republican "yes" votes or they would ensure that the measure failed. Then to make sure that Republicans would back off from voting "yes", Nancy Pelosi gave an extremely vitriolic speech rewriting history and trying to blame Republican's for any and all things that have gone. Shame on her. No leadership at all. But in her usual viper like way, she then went on smilingly to blame the Republican's for today's debacle. She need to go to California and get out of the House leadership.

    September 29, 2008 at 10:52 pm |
  44. JC

    NO to the bailout! NO! NO! NO! Nothing about the riches gained in the past decade has been fair why should the bailout be everyone"s problem? why believe these bushie clowns one more time with their fear tactics

    September 29, 2008 at 10:52 pm |
  45. june

    Chris Rock summed it up. John McCain can lose 5 houses and still not be homeless, so do you really think he cares abour YOUR problems?

    September 29, 2008 at 10:51 pm |
  46. Doug T.

    The embodiment of market capitalism – fire all incuments with your next vote. Reason: incompetence. We cannot succeed with this managment team.

    September 29, 2008 at 10:48 pm |
  47. Diana

    So, for all of you who are so angry that the vote was so close and saying let the banks go down...did you go and look at your retirement accounts at the end of today? Why don't you do that and then continue with your insults. I'm no happier than the next person at having this burden put on me and my kids, but for God's sake...we lost over a TRILLION dollars today in the market. I'd say put in safeguards for the average person, NO and I mean NO golden parachutes for executives and then go for it. I'd like to actually be able to retire sometime soon. As I've watched this I do blame the Republicans for using petty things to keep them from voting for it (insulted feelings...please...we are in crisis...get OVER yourselves)! What happened to McCain delivering his party on this plan. Then having the nerve to blame Obama. They all make me sick! Yes, I hope Obama steps up and takes charge of the Dems a bit more.

    September 29, 2008 at 10:46 pm |
  48. TODD

    Do any of you people realize that in one week your 401ks will be totally worthless??? When the banking system fails we ALL lose. This wasnt a bailout and it shouldnt be partisan. When McDonalds cant get a loan do any of you other smucks think you can qualify for one. My friends house closing was today, on the way to the closing the bank called them and cancelled the closing because they couldnt fund it! Everything they own is in a moving truck and they have no answers and they have a 720 credit score. Wake up, everybody loses today and its only getting worse cause your companies cant meet payroll and you aint getting paid...................WTF get some brains America!

    September 29, 2008 at 10:45 pm |
  49. mark

    At what point does one think they become so smart (i.e. Mr. Gergen works at Harvard) that they actually become ridicously self righteous and stupid. Here is a basic concept that Jane Doe on Main Street follows Mr. Gergen – Pay your bills on time and pay with CASH. This bailout plan is nothing more than a parachute for the idiots that decided to move away from finance 101 (so called braniacs on Wall Street who now want to continue to get their cushy bonus checks). I feel that Wall Street should feel the pain and that we as Americans cannot rely on the word of the Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. Mr. Paulson is ripe with conflict in interests from his previuos employer and lacks any type of judgement of what is good for us average joe. Your commentary above also lacks any sort of rational alternatives which I know you most likely wouldn't have a clue on. Just because a plan is proposed doesn't mean its appropriate and clearly was opposed by many in the House (not just Republicans).

    September 29, 2008 at 10:45 pm |
  50. Adam

    The bill didnt pass because it wasnt BEST for AMERICA and after the represenatives received all those calls from angry voters they finally chose to do what was right. Pelosi was and is not to blame the content of the bill was the blame. Crisis knows NO party, it will hit everyone, so , the liberaland conservative bickering and finger pointing need to STOP!!!!

    September 29, 2008 at 10:45 pm |
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