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September 24, 2008

Just Say No

I've been wrong to advocate hedging the bailout bill with conditions; we should just say "NO".

We can take a fraction of the $700 billion dollars we save and use it for specific anti-recession measures. Let's start rebuilding our power grid; fix some bridges; maybe even help some homeowners with their mortgages where warranted. But no bailout for Wall Street; none.

If we say "yes" to the bailout bill, the Dow will go up. Great time to sell your stocks because we will have damaged the economy and our competitiveness for a long time to come.

If we say "no" to the bailout bill, the Dow will plummet – for a while. Big deal; that's what the Dow does; it'll create a buying opportunity.

If we say "yes" to the bailout bill, the dollar will plummet. That $700 billion to bailout the world's financial institutions comes from printing more dollars and devaluing every dollar already in existence. A plummeting dollar means higher imported energy costs. That really hurts Main Street, the real economy, and national security.

If we say "no" to the bailout bill, investors like Warren Buffet and Bank of America will continue to pick up assets from distressed banks cheaply. More power to them; they can deal with the problem of overpaid executives. They are showing us the right way out of this mess.

Normally The Wall Street Journal would have been against the bailout on economic terms and The New York Times against it on populist terms. Apparently our two great national newspapers are too much the hometown newspapers of New York City to see straight. When you look out the windows of their editorial offices, you're more likely to see out-of-work bankers and empty restaurants than people struggling to pay for gas and home heating oil – or to keep their small businesses running or stay in their homes. So we have to do without their leadership on this issue.

Fortunately three out of the four candidates in the Presidential sweepstakes are senators; they have to vote on the bill (unless it dies in committee). My vote for President is up for grabs. If there were contested house or senate races in Vermont, my vote for them would be up for grabs as well.

The upcoming election gives us a chance to save ourselves from the horrendous mistake this bailout bill would be. Don't wait for the pollsters to call; write your senators and congressperson today.


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