Feature

Who wins in the bailout?

How saving Wall Street protects taxpayers, and puts them on the hook

Congress and the Bush administration have hammered out a rescue plan for the financial system, said The Washington Post in an editorial. The process has been “bitter” at times, but if the plan succeeds in “restoring a measure of normality to credit markets” it will be “remembered as a case study in bipartisanship" and everyone will win.

The $700 billion proposal before Congress has been “trashed“ as a Wall Street bailout, said The Wall Street Journal, but the truth is that Congress put the taxpayers’ money on the table long ago, “when it let Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac run wild risks with a public subsidy.” This so-called bailout is merely an attempt to “shield middle America from further harm.”

That would be comforting if politicians had a history of using money responsibly, said Steve Chapman in the Chicago Tribune. But Washington is, as usual, sweeping the real problem under the rug by spending money it doesn’t really have. When the bills come due, “who will rescue the federal government?”

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