Thursday, October 09, 2008

Common Misconceptions About the Wall Street Bailout

With ongoing media coverage from every angle, the Wall Street bailout legislation has become a web of complicated myths and facts that can be difficult for the average taxpayer to untangle. In times like these we turn to political leaders to let us know what is going on and what they are going to do about it. Unfortunately, we are at the tail end of an election season and many of our leaders are more concerned about the election then fixing our economy. It hard to trust candidates fighting for your vote or leaders who waste time playing the blame game. To help out the readers of my blog sort through this web of facts, I have compiled this list of common misconceptions about the Wall Street bailout.

Myth: The bailout will only help Wall Street, not people living on Main Street

Reality: Although Wall Street has lost the trust of taxpayers, our economy depends on it. The bailout isn't made to directly "help" any one specific person, but to help maintain the lifestyle of all Americans. It means keeping your bank accounts, loans, small business, insurance, and job in place. It means keeping your life in place.

Myth: Nancy Pelosi's speech changed Republican votes

Reality: While Pelosi’s speech was a toe over the line and obviously attacked Republicans, it is still doubtful to me that it actually changed any votes. By the time congress was in session that day, they should have sufficiently reviewed the bill and already had their votes decided. While some Republicans and Democrats alike were upset by what Pelosi said, her words caused outrage—not the death of the first legislation.

Myth: Congress spent too much time passing the bill

Reality: While many were upset by the first bills failure, Congress was simply doing their job. It is their duty to review, re-review, and thoroughly discuss important bills. Hundreds of billions of dollars were on the table, and rash decisions were simply not the right way to go. I doubt anyone really wanted them to push the bill through without giving it the attention it deserved.

Myth: The entire economic crisis is Bush’s fault

Reality: While it'd be easiest to point the finger at a single person, the fact is the economic crisis been coming for longer than just eight years. Democrats and Republicans alike pushed changes to regulations that governed financial institutions. In addition, I would not solely blame improper loan companies or even the corporations that need bailing out. This is a deep-rooted crisis cause by dozens, if not hundreds of mistakes that have been made.

Myth: The bailout will provide immediate relief

Reality: While the country watches as more jobs are lost and the DOW continues to fall, they are wondering why the bailout is not working yet. The truth is that the U.S. Treasury Department needs to set up a system to distribute the funds, and it could take as long as six weeks before they get to that point.

Myth: Innocent taxpayers are paying for the bailout

Reality: What a lot of people do not realize is that their money is not being wasted. In exchange for the funds, the federal government will take partial ownership of the companies it bails out. Then will then be able to sell these shares in the future, possibly even for a profit! Additionally, by investing into companies it will assure a more sound American economy, which will benefit everyone who lives in this country.

Myth: Why bail them out? The sooner they fall, the sooner we recover

Reality: While this could work, the downside is that if it does not, we will all be in the hole. Unfortunately this country is not just relying on itself, and a pretty big chunk of our debt lies on foreign investors who are not very impressed with the situation. If those investors decide to pull their funds from American investments, then the economy could get much worse.

Myth: The bailout will reduce the value of the dollar

Reality: The U.S. dollar is on a flux, meaning that it is not going up or down... it is doing both. Even before the bailout this was the case, and it is not likely to affect inflation dramatically either way. The financial meltdown is a worldwide crisis, and the dollar has actually made significant improvements over foreign currencies over the past few weeks.

Blog Archive