$700,000,000,000 Bailout

September 22, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Stocks have been up and down all morning following news about the government's bailout plan.11 zeros, 700 billion dollars. Washington is bailing out Wall Street and taxpayers are picking up the bill.

"This is the mother of all bailouts and we don't see the end of it yet," said Senator Richard Shelby (R) Alabama.

The Bush administration is urging Congress to quickly stabilize the financial system by temporarily transferring the bad debts of American financial institutions to taxpayers. The current plan would give the Treasury secretary sole power to manage the funds, buying and reselling mortgage debt.

"This is something that has to work. I very much believe it will work," said Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.

With this, the combined bailouts would be in excess of one trillion dollars. More than double the entire cost of the Iraq war.

"They're not holding those who are at the center of this thing, responsible for it. Even though the taxpayer is being handed the bill," said Economist Chris Thornberg with Beacon Economics. A bill where none of the funds will help out homeowners currently facing foreclosure.

"We need to put the taxpayer first ahead of bondholders, shareholders," said Senator Charles Schumer (D) New York.

Republicans argue that including a bailout for taxpayers would slow the current proposal down. "We're going to jeopardize our economy, Americans' jobs and their savings," said Minority Leader John Boehner (R) Ohio.

One thing this $700-billion dollars is supposed to buy is more regulation. But the current proposal only requires one oversight report to Congress every 6 months.

Senate democrats are proposing to add government help for homeowners and limits on the bailout. They want the plan to include mortgage relief and executive pay limits.

The measure would also allow the government to get a stake in the companies helped by the bailout. It would also add layers of congressional oversight.

"We are saying we want to limit those as a condition for giving them the aid. If the secretary would agree to that, we could move quickly. But if he insists that that's somehow a terrible thing, then it slows it down a little bit," said Representative Barney Frank (D) Massachusetts.

Meanwhile, "the group of seven" endorsed the $700-billion dollar bailout. The organization of the world's leading economic powers pledged to do it could to help ease the crisis.

Global markets were mixed Monday as investors waited for more developments in the bailout plan.

Japan's Nikkei Index finished 1.4 percent higher and Hong Kongs Hang Seng Indez rose 1.2 percent.

Markets in Australia and Taiwan advanced strongly Monday. And in China, the Shanghai Composite Index soared nearly eight percent.

The Dow plunged over 372 points on Monday.


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