Business and Economy: Let ’em go under?

Column by Chris Graham
freepress2@ntelos.net

To my surprise, that’s what I’m hearing friends on both the Democratic and Republican sides of the aisle say about the proposed $700 billion Wall Street bailout.

“If it was your business that was failing, they wouldn’t bail you out,” one friend who is a Downtown Waynesboro business owner told me. “I don’t trust any of them to do anything other than throw money at the fatcats,” said another friend who is in advertising sales.

I say this is to my surprise, because it seems to me the only sensible thing to do – to take a bite out of the crap sandwich that one congressman called the bailout and mug for the cameras as if we like it.

I guess you could say that I’ve bought the sales job pushed on us by the Bush administration and the financial analysts that we’re headed for a major economic recession if we don’t figure out a way to get the hundreds of billions of dollars of bad mortgages off the hands of some Wall Street heavies whose misfortunes could make life hell for all of us.

But I haven’t thrown away the sales receipt, if you catch what I’m saying there. I’m a bit bothered that congressional Republicans have decided that playing to their misread of the public-opinion polls is more important than doing the right thing. And I’m calling them out on a misread based on the numbers of their own pollster, Scott Rasmussen, who reported on Monday that the country is split down the middle on the bailout, after being against it by a 2-1 margin on Friday.

I don’t know that we can expect Democrats to do the heavy lifting on the bailout and then subject themselves to pottymouthing from their Republican foes on the campaign trail. I personally think the approach of Harry Reid in the Senate and Nancy Pelosi in the House to ask GOP leaders to bring a majority of their caucuses with them to get the plan moving forward is a sound one, even if I don’t like the politics that Pelosi decided to play in a speech on the House floor on Monday that gave Republicans a chance to claim an out as far as voting for the bailout bill was concerned.

But that’s too much Inside Beltway. I’m still waiting to hear from somebody on Main Street who thinks the idea is worth fighting for.

Maybe somebody who lost their shirt along with the rest of those with money on Wall Street, which lost more than a trillion dollars of investment value when Congress decided against committing $700 billion of the taxpayers money to the bailout.

I know you’re out there.

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