Banks simply aren't lending. So, if home buyers can't get mortgages, the already beaten down housing industry stalls further. If drivers can't get auto loans, carmakers sell fewer cars. If small businesses can't get the credit they need, they can't expand or may not be able to pay their bills. The ripple effects are enormous.
As Congress grapples with how to salvage a bailout deal, its clear lawmakers must do something. This isn't a depression, but as Americans grow more concerned, we run the risk of creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.