September 29th, 2008
10:14 PM ET

The opening bell didnt ring today... a bad sign

Editor's Note: Susan Lisovicz is CNN's primary correspondent on financial news. She is most frequently seen from the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) reporting on the latest market and business news. Today was a day on Wall Street unlike any other. Susan shares her view from the center of it all:

Susan Lisovicz |BIO
CNN Financial Correspondent

The opening bell didn't ring today. Its the first time I can recall an electronic malfunction. A bad sign.

The Market was selling off. I asked traders, wasn't everyone clamoring for a deal? There was one on the table. They were wary because it had not passed and there was more stress in the financial market: Wachovia, and three European financial companies on the brink.

Midway through today's session, the traders gathered around the TV monitor. The last time I saw that was for some televised car chase. There simply isn't a lot of serious stuff so riveting to them. They act on headlines.

I got in the crowd to see what they were watching. It was the vote, and it wasn't going to pass.

Someone was singing the REM song “It's the End of the World as We Know It.”

The Dow was nose-diving... I reached for my sheet to double-check the so-called 'circuit breakers' – The amount of digits the market has to fall before trading is halted. The number? 1200 points. We were more than halfway there.

Washington talking heads say they will do another vote soon... Not soon for this crowd... Every day there is more blood on the Street.

To go back to that REM song, it may not be the end of the world, but I don't feel fine.

Filed under: Bailout Turmoil
soundoff (157 Responses)
  1. John Slone

    I keep doing the math and have a hard time with the results? 700 bil $ divided by 300mil people equal 2.3 mil$ per man woman and child in the USA??? Who really is in debt???

    September 30, 2008 at 9:36 am |
  2. Tony

    Republicans blames everyone else, but themselves! It was under the Republican Administration that caused this country to be practically bankrupted for supporting a over budget war, and also allowing giant Bank Executives and Cooperations to run things as they please. This country's market just didn't all of a sudden crash since the Dems took over congress, this thing started years ago and is now crawling from under the Rep. rug. We can't have 8 more years of this nonsense.

    September 30, 2008 at 9:21 am |
  3. Nancy McCallister

    I am totally shocked that while our country is in such a state of financial demise that Washington would allow the powers(?) that can possibly correct this situation take a Holiday !!

    If this were just an ordinary situation I totally understand BUT this is far from ordinary.

    September 30, 2008 at 8:32 am |
  4. susan cooney

    Can the public go to the opening bell while visiting NYC?

    September 30, 2008 at 8:25 am |
  5. Michael Farkas

    After reading all the comments above I am glad we do not have any Guillotines about.

    Afterall, we may all need a piece of cake soon.

    September 30, 2008 at 8:02 am |
  6. Alfreda Parker

    Good Morning, for the past 2 months I have watched CNN non stop
    I get home from work at about 5:20 a and my television rarely leaves this channel. Having never been one to watch the news and not become depressed I rarely watched it and when I did, it was out of one eye. I can truely say your show is somehow refreshing with so much information that a smile is sure to come. I feel so much like family that I am asking for the red coffee mug that they have in the morning. yours truely

    September 30, 2008 at 7:23 am |
  7. Dave

    I'm glad the House didn't support this. People like Ali Velshi keep telling us how much the American people don't understand, but we do.
    This is government out of control. Sure, the credit markets are the bottle necked, but the banks and Wall Street created this.
    American people have been asking for leadership and they can't get it.
    We will have to suffer thru this until government understands that this country ids for the people and by the people, not by the credit market.

    September 30, 2008 at 5:26 am |
  8. Greg Cooke

    I am a 22 year old college student, completely indifferent.
    I would like too know in the next 20 years if the 700 billion dollar bail out were to be approved what would this mean for my future.
    My Retirement, my chance to be an American that can make my way in the future and support my family. Everything is so messed up right now somebody should be too blame and if corporate executives get compensation like those of "AIG" did that is complete bull, when the majority of America is living dollar too dollar.

    -Sincerely GREG COOKE

    September 30, 2008 at 5:18 am |
  9. Francis Grey

    Hey if we're the ones bailing some bank dudes that have screwed us all of our lives.

    We're doing it at 12% interest at least.

    I prefer 28.9%.

    Line our pockets from your mistakes.

    September 30, 2008 at 4:11 am |
  10. Mario California

    If the housing market meltdown is caused by greed and irresposible grants of loans ... I suggest the lenders/banks say sorry (not literally) to homeowners by giving them a better deal of loans. How about a 30-year mortgage with no interest for the first 5-10 years and a fixed rate of 3% – 5% for the rest of the loan. People are leaving their homes because they think it's not worth paying the mortgage as they owe more than the value of the home (that's one reason). The point is, rather than homes being foreclosed, at least the banks are getting their money back.

    September 30, 2008 at 3:36 am |
  11. Jonathan

    What is with all the "scare-mongering" headlines out there especially on cnn.com? What happened to the post about Bancruptcy being the answer featuring the Economist from Harvard who was 1 of 50 notable Economists who sent a letter to Congress stating that Bancruptcy may actually be a better solution than injecting more money into a failing system? That article was online for like 5 minutes before it got replaced by another "fear-mongering" headline.

    September 30, 2008 at 3:01 am |
  12. John

    Why not also report the Goldman Sachs issue of AIG bailout. Goldman Sachs was invested heavily in AIG. Why do we keep bailing out management that fails to manage properly. I would bet 12 months from now the current CEO Sachs will get a bonus.

    September 30, 2008 at 2:57 am |
  13. John

    Is nobody awake at the media level. Why not just have the SEC Chairman suspend the Mark to Market process, and bring money back into the market. I cannot believe that David Gergan, Roland Martin, and S. Orman can be so wrapped up in markets that common sense does not exist.
    We The People understand a bilout plan that is flawed and does not address the real issue at hand. Maybe the Media and others have too much money tied to this market and common sense doesn't prevail. Report the facts as they are with genuine common sense and listen to the People Of America.
    Stop CEO's and monied priveledge persons holding America hostage for a paycheck. I Love America Where I Live...

    September 30, 2008 at 2:51 am |
  14. Tiffany

    Wall Street Bailout Suggestion: This morning a viewer presented a new idea to help the economy......Our government wants to give 700 billion dollars to wall street and have tax payers pay the price. Why don't they give every tax paying American a one million dollar stimulous check out of the 700 billion? This would only be 300 million dollars. Then require each tax paying American to pay off debts ie..mortgages, credit cards, etc. In addition, they would have money to spend (which would stimulate the economy) and money to save & invest which would help the banks and wall street. The viewer who presented this was a genious and I don't know who he is. I would vote for him for President!

    September 30, 2008 at 2:46 am |
  15. Ida M. Lancaster

    I have been there and done that. I grew up during the great depression. Hoover promised us a chicken in every pot and two cars in every garage. Sorry I never saw a chicken-just beans and more beans. It is a hard old row to hack. Ida at the top of Texas

    September 30, 2008 at 2:20 am |
  16. Peter Collins

    Anderson , today I wish I were an American so I could show my disgust with the Washington establishment . In particular the Republican party that is more concerned with getting re-elected , rather than trying to save the economy . I see this as the death nail in the Repulican's coffin . MaCain better book a ticket back to Arizona as the GOP just shot his foot off .

    September 30, 2008 at 2:20 am |
  17. Al Alfieri

    You have got to be kidding me! These guys went home? We definitely need change, starting with the politicians who don't love there country enough to work on there day off.

    September 30, 2008 at 2:02 am |
  18. Shelly Grossruck

    I am so angry at the way all of us Americans are being treated by our politicians. They obviously think that it is more important to take a two day break than to try to bring some stability to our countries economic crisis. They watched the stockmarket lose record points and they went home. Was the "Buy-in plan" the best that they could do? Probably not. But, it's better than what we have now. NOTHING!! Shame on the 12 politicians for voting because their feelings were hurt. How about the feelings of all of the Americans who lost their retirement. Shame on greedy wallstreet. Shame on the leadership of our country for turning their backs on us by not doing their job!!!

    September 30, 2008 at 1:50 am |
  19. Elaine

    How does ANY member of Congress walk upright without a spine? I am so sick of all this blame. Do they think we are that stupid, or better yet is it all about them? Oh and by the way are all members of
    Congress Jewish? 2 days off, why because the spoiled brats had to work a Saturday and Sunday.

    September 30, 2008 at 1:41 am |
  20. Brad L

    Why do the majority of economists disagree with what CNN and the rest of the main stream media are reporting? More than likely it's a combination of politic, fear, and a misunderstanding of the problem.

    Infusing cash into the financial system (particularly, into housing markets) in an attempt to maintain housing prices and home building is not the right move. Let the markets adjust themselves to their true value - the fall will be brief and the value of the dollar restored. Painful, but brief..

    The problem with any sort of bail-out plan is that it does not address the true issue - bad monetary policy. In a world economy based on the dollar, the fed's generation of credit from thin air over the last century has led to economies powered by excessive debt, all based heavily on ownership of US treasury notes. Couple that with illegal government-backed insurance giants and the fed's refusal to tighten up interest rates and you end up in the exact situation we find ourselves in.

    September 30, 2008 at 1:40 am |
  21. Ace

    8 years of Republican Leadership = 2 wars and 1.2 Trillion Dollars loss. Let's vote them all out of office on November 3.

    I can't believe that 12 Republicans would do this to the country just because they were offended by a speech? Give us all a break.

    And here's the kicker – both parties have the audacity to go on holiday tomorrow in the middle of this crisis!!!!

    September 30, 2008 at 1:35 am |
  22. lynne garcia

    They say banks are not loaning money for houses, cars etc. Why not?

    September 30, 2008 at 1:34 am |
  23. Debbie Downer

    when the hell did the stock market fall? i done some thinkin' that the government should give everyone $500,000, that way we can pay off loans, and car payments and other poop like that. why can't everything just be free!? politicians are trash, just like suze orman! i think my i.q. is just about as high as my shoe size, don't know if i can say that for the rest of you idiots that posted comments!? if you think you have a good idea keep it to yourself, cause more often than not its going to be trash.

    September 30, 2008 at 1:34 am |
  24. Alex

    The way I look at all this is that those who voted for passage of this horrible bill support big business. Why does our government continue to support the "HAVES" and doesn't do the same for the "HAVE NOTS?" George Bush and Hank Paulsen have lost any semblance of supporting the average citizen and only want to see their investments protected and grow. I suspect something will eventually be passed and our tax dollars will go to prop up Wall Street. Still there are plenty of "experts" even within CNN who are yelling "foul" simply because their own investments are taking a dump. The clowns of Wall Street caused this mess, so let them suffer like the rest of the average folks do on a daily basis.

    September 30, 2008 at 1:29 am |
  25. Judy Arnold

    Yes, this is dire...we all lost in our 401 K's etc, but if a deal for bailout is passed in Congress at the end of the week, can't the market go up again, correcting these losses? I don't understand that the loss in my retirement account is permanent.

    September 30, 2008 at 1:28 am |
  26. Masoud Faraji

    Isn't this the fuzzy math that Governor Bush accused Al Gore during the 2000 election???? Yes it is fuzzy math....

    September 30, 2008 at 1:27 am |
  27. robert mehling

    As most of us look at the inaction of our Goverment we have to wonder who really looks after the peoples interests, Our so called elected oficials that we voted for? Seems not only is the Banking system out of touch but our GOVERMENT also. We are hurting on so called Main Street. Maybe its time for for the people, We main streeters should just revolt! Yes REVOLT! We should go to the streets and scream LOUD and clear, Shut down your Business and going to work, Walk the street to your Goverment and so NO we are not going to stand for this anymore. if the Economy is tanked, lets tank the GOVERMENT....What do we have to lose anymore.Maybe we should lose those that are not in touch anymore which is our Goverment!

    September 30, 2008 at 1:27 am |
  28. Joyce P


    How can we move the Congress to work together. Our country is at a lost if not one of these elected "leaders" cannot work together. The media and your team need to raise holy H.

    Go to the representatives neighborhoods and start asking the voters how they think their Congressman did today. Vote him/her in or out at next election.

    Someone needs to take the bull by the horns and move these people.
    We are subject to a great breakdown not only in our economic survival but of our country foundation. If our own elected leaders can't do the job, who will?

    The Congreess and the President and all other officials need to get the job done NOW. If they worked for private enterprise, they would be fired if they couldn't make such an important deadline.

    We should remember each and every one of these elected officials at the time of their re run for the office they have sorely and unforgiveably neglected their duty to their constitutents.

    David Green is correct that the non Jewish folks need to come back and keep working on ideas and edits of the proposed bill for relief.

    September 30, 2008 at 1:22 am |
  29. Laura Campbell

    At what point will the govt realize.....and people like Suze Orman...that many, many of us have already had to dip into our 401Ks, that we can't afford to buy stocks.....Not because we live on credit or beyond our means, but we just can't afford it. The average AMERICAN does not have a huge savings account, or retirement account, that we have been living pay check to pay check for quite some time...we get paid less and all living expenses have increased.........that is why we just don't care about bailing out Wallstreet... The govt, uses fear to get all of us to think this is so necessary, but I do not believe it and I do not think that many of the analyst get the average american!

    September 30, 2008 at 1:21 am |
  30. Al

    After all this he said they said and pointing fingers, I just hope the American people see how congress is handling this situation and come election time we vote them all out, we need to just clean house and get rid of the people that have been there for 15, 20, 30 years. Its time for a fresh start and fresh faces. Its time for change and its time for the American people to take back this nation.

    September 30, 2008 at 1:21 am |
  31. Elaine Schlechter

    I am 67, my husband is 73, both retired, and living on our Social Security and interest on investments. Should we take money out of the stock market to pay off 1 or more of our 3 mortgages?

    September 30, 2008 at 1:18 am |
  32. TC Smythe, Houston, Texas

    My husband has a 401k plan that is administered by his company. It is over 250,000. I'm told that any amount over that number is not insured by the FDIC. Is it legal or possible to move the excess into some other kind of account without paying a huge penalty?

    September 30, 2008 at 1:17 am |
  33. Al

    What I don't understand is why are we relying on congress to come up with a plan? Why are we not putting a working group together with the smartist people in this nation, our professors who teach economics at Yale, Harvard, and other universities and others who understand this problem. When the Iraq war was going south we didn't put the economist in a room and say "come up with a plan on the Iraq war". We need the smart people making this decision so that this does not happen again in the future. Lets not make a quick fix, lets look at this in the long run.

    September 30, 2008 at 1:17 am |
  34. Christian Cuesta

    My wife and i invested 300k in the market, 230k is in mutual funds and 47 in maney market the rest in stocks.

    Myt stocks took a huge hit, the mutual funds same thing. Should i liquidate all my mutual funds while i still have time and take a 60k loss. Whit this money i could pay off my house and just leave my stocks to see what happens. Im very nervous i just had a baby and i am a contractor. My work has not been steady and i really need some advice. My broker is no help, he is depresed and i think he is in a rough spot too.

    September 30, 2008 at 1:17 am |
  35. Tina Garrod

    What if you had 2 year arm on your mortgage and the arm is up
    within the next month. What do you do now? Will you lose your house?

    September 30, 2008 at 1:15 am |
  36. Wapiv

    It annoys me that every political commentator suggests that we all agree that something needs to be done. I don't agree. How would 'no bailout' change the lives of everyone else? The little guy will find that he can no longer borrow against his 5K credit card when he has 3K already on it (gee, that's a shame – no more extracting 2K of bad debt) People that can't afford homes won't be able to buy one. People with $ in the markets will lose $, but that's not me, or most people – I have a small 401K linked to the markets and yes, that is going to lose $, but I'm too busy living from paycheck to paycheck to put $ away anyhow – I suspect that's true for most of us. When all of the creditors that are going to have to go bankrupt do go bankrupt a huge vacumm will be filled by savvy investors that are not stupid enough to lend $ to people that cannot afford to pay it back. The markets will settle down because new regulations will be imposed – there won't be anyway to live without them. Sounds like a buying opportunity to me.

    The sky isn't falling Henny Penny. Sorry, but I don't believe that no bail out means a Mad Max world.

    September 30, 2008 at 1:11 am |
  37. Mikeroc

    We cannot afford to just sit and wait for congress to decide to vote. I'm not for the bailout but I don't want to lose what 's left in my reitrement account which is dwindling by the minute.

    RenoAndy why aren't you in Washington right now. You are right on.

    September 30, 2008 at 12:58 am |
  38. marie

    Great! Because of the political selfishness and irresponsibleness from Congress, as well as the greediness of Wallstreet, my kids' future is in jeopardy. Their college fund have been affected by todays' breakdown as well as our retirement. I'd like to find-out who the "nin con poops" who voted against the bailout, as well as tell Pelosi to keep her mouth shut.

    September 30, 2008 at 12:30 am |
  39. N.J.Gonzalez

    No one likes or wants to help out big business fix their mismanagement, incompetence, and irresponsibility in America's largest financial institutions. Moreover, this is perfect example of Bush Administration's corporate greed mongering, tying the regulators down and not enforcing oversight. I was a federal regulator, and my duty was to America, because Presidents come and go. For the last 8 years, the Bush administration has been about the illusion of reality and not reality itself. The administration didn't do it's job right or with enough aggressiveness, and now the curtain has been pulled back and Bush can't hide reality.

    In addition, it is more irresponsible not to pass some stop gap measure to shore-up Wall street, but it must have teeth, BIG TEETH. Corporate CEOs profit not one red cent from this, they suffer right along with the rest of us, if not more so. Any bail out must have over sight, Main-street does not trust YOU (White House and Congress) any longer. You have to earn our trust. Congressman's Udall and Pearce in New Mexico voted not to pass this. It was not perfect but it could have been amended later if needed.

    Congress has messed with peoples lives and retirements, and future. It's obvious that you are no longer qualified to represent Main-street. Don't waste time on political excuses, we don't hear you anymore. We will have new blood in Congress this election.

    September 30, 2008 at 12:29 am |
  40. Amy Page

    What does this do for the average person's credit score?

    September 30, 2008 at 12:23 am |
  41. Greg

    I just read an amusing article trying to makeover the bailout as an governemnt sponsored investment of cheap undervalued assets. The reality is that the majority and perhaps vast majority of what the treasury proposes to purchase is toxic waste that no investor who has a whiff of intelligence is buying now or will ever buy. I can see the logic of the S&L bailout and the Freddie Mae/Mac bailouts along those lines, but I would still be very wary of buying those. The reason is very simple and that is the value of a home. It was very stable adjusted for inflation for 100 years. Then there was the housing bubble. The housing bubble sure did much to make the junk S&L mortages worth selling again, but it wasn't real. To make these mortages worth anything we would need a second housing bubble to artifically inflate the real house value again. When do you think that will happen again. You would do well to think that it may never happen again in our lifetimes. The bad news is that housing values still have a long way to fall before reaching pre-bubble values and this bailout will have accomplished zippo 6 months or less from now. Well I should not say nothing, since it will have blown nearly a trillion taxpayer dollars to keep firms floating a while longer so that investors smart enough to cash out now will have more time to salvage what is left of their gains from when the bubble was inflating. And those "hard to assess"mortage backed derivatives? Toxic Waste is as good as comarison as any for those.
    To those whining about losing their retirements or savings tied up in the market in this way, I can only say, if you needed the money for the short run it should not have in the market. If you invested in the market you gained to get where you are because of the bubble just as you lose to it now. This is what is called risk and is the reality of any marketplace. If you are able to leave the funds in the market, you will likely be better off than before this mess within 5 years but not less than 2 years. The biggest losers are going to be those who cash out within the next year or so and those who cashed in at height of the bubble.

    September 30, 2008 at 12:22 am |
  42. Peter Israel

    It's unbelievable that members of Congress don't understand the basics of the market. If chicken little says the sky is falling, the sky falls...if you don't see where I'm going with this, we have no chance of saving the financial markets from total collapse.

    it doesn't matter what the plan is as long as everyone says, "yes"!! i f everyone or the majority says no even the best plan will cause the markets to fall. It's all perception and those that have a forum dictate what happens, regardless of what the truth is.

    we as a "people" have to come to a consensus. Good, bad or indifferent, it doesn't matter. Panic and indecisiveness will send the markets and our lives into a tail spin not seen since the Great Depression. We need to decide and we need to do it today!

    Peter Israel

    September 30, 2008 at 12:10 am |
  43. Will Andersen Minnesota

    Bravo to those that voted no. The American Citizen has been misused and abused long enough by corporate America’s Greed. Our Politicians have not only allowed this abuse but supported it by passing laws that frankly favor corporations and misuse the citizens trust . Maybe it is time to tear down the walls and start anew. The corporations gambled based on greed and they lost. Give them the boot The taxpayers don’t deserve to foot the bill to finance a bailout of corporate.
    If our politicians allow this bailout then they need to be replaced with ones that are pro-American taxpayer !!!!!!! Lets bailout our citizens and increase the corporate taxes to pay for it.
    After the comment made by pafloosy (D) there is little doubt that there are no signs of life in that skull.

    September 30, 2008 at 12:08 am |
  44. micki

    This is for those who don't think this bailout bill will effect them. Car dealerships have been turning away people with credit rating of 700 because they can't find banks to finance the cars. But I shouldn't be worried about that. Let people drive their old cars. Except my son sells cars and works strictly on commission. I can help out; what's a Mother for? Then again, I'm retired, on a pension that's an annuity. In other words, it's based on the stock market. Well, my son can always sell his townhome and move back home. But wait, he won't be able to sell his town home. This effects all of us. It's not just buying cars or getting mortgages, jobs are at stake.. Stop calling this a bailout bill and start calling this an investment plan.

    September 30, 2008 at 12:07 am |
  45. Lorraine Dougherty

    Couple of economists on CNN Sunday night said bailout was a bad deal.. where did it safeguard the upside down homeowner or the credit card debtor?

    the depressed credit market is more due to gas prices and risinhg unemployment than interbank non-liquidity

    maybe in the people–as Jefferson noted–there is indeed a reservoir of true wisdom

    September 30, 2008 at 12:06 am |

    As a long time loan officer i'm wondering why the FHA Secured Mortgage expires 12/31/2008 and we have probably over a billion plus more in additional bad debt with adjustable rate arms coming due in 2009 (3 months) and what percentage of those are already or will be in foreclosure because people are already upside down on their mortgage!
    Has the bailout addressed this issue and have these additional bad mortgage assets been inlcuded in the 700 billion?
    Why don't they caclulate what 700 billion per american ia and give that amount to every household.....give it directly to "MAIN ST". The people who have low credit scores, bad debt, over spend, low income will spend it...............the rest of us will invest it. It's a win win situation without padding pockets of our already wealthy corrupt CEO's who got a slap on the hand and aren't in jaiil!!!

    September 30, 2008 at 12:05 am |
  47. B. Southcarolina

    Let's be candid here. Of course the market would fall after the bill failed. Has anyone seen any brokerage commercials lately? If we would just shut up and let the market settle, the private sector will correct it with the largest ownership shift in market history. These assets / liabilities will be picked up. If a failing corporation is left to die, there is probably a good reason. The corporations which show fiscal responsibility will come out of this stronger than ever and everyone will gain. If you cannot win the election, destroy the economy under the opponents congressional political reign. Enough of the political scare spin.

    September 30, 2008 at 12:02 am |
  48. RenoAndy

    If the politicians are so concerned over this bailout plan ; why not put it to "mainstreet" economics? A tax law change that would allow individuals tax releif from withdrawls on the dwindling assets of their 401K and pension plans contingent on reinvestment of the withdrawl into the housing market. This would allow the common folk to reinvest this long term money into the sector that actually is the cause of the problem and to buy up the bab dept that the finance market is dealing with. Any sale of the asset prior to retirement age would obviously be taxed including the basis for the purchase of this investment property. AC; An opportunity for proposal and discussion....is this such a bad idea?

    September 29, 2008 at 11:54 pm |
  49. John Arack

    For a bedtime story Phil Gramm John McCain's Campaign Manager remember the guy who saig that we we're "whiners" recently regarding the economy. He is also known for being Deregulator Phil. We are now feeling the FALLOUT from that Legislation..

    September 29, 2008 at 11:46 pm |
  50. Robyn Garrett

    How can our representatives leave for 2 days when they have an emergency going on? These people obviously have never worked in a corporate environment where when an emergency happens all the people involved stay engaged and resolve the problem no matter how long it takes. We should make sure and vote against these individuals if they are running in November. Robyn – Frisco, Tx

    September 29, 2008 at 11:44 pm |
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