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Column: One Bailout, Hold The Pork

This story was written by Linsey Isaacs, Hilltop

So gas prices are rising, Bank of America is no longer giving student loans and we've just witnessed the demise of Lehman Brothers and other huge Wall Street firms tumbling under the pressure. The effect of these events will ultimately trickle down to the rest of us already gripping our wallets tight. What else can go wrong with an economy that is facing its worst plight since the Great Depression?

Perhaps the fact is that we are no closer to the solution. However, we are a step in the right direction. But in order to get us there, Henry Paulson, the U.S. Treasury secretary, and the rest of the lawmakers had to do some serious sucking up.

The federal government has convinced us (well, at least me) that there is no other alternative but a bailout plan - a $700 billion one, at that. It was presented amidst job losses and stock market crashes and has finally been passed. Aside from all the "pork" they added to the bill so it could ultimately please Republicans, I think the plan is an excellent idea. But protestors and an angry public would disagree. And as much as I am in support of the plan, I am against what was done so it could pass.

The plan has been under scrutiny from Congress ever since its inception. Of course, putting money back in Wall Street would go against everything the Republicans stand for, so they didn't agree with a plan to interfere with free enterprise, suggesting the debt be insured rather than bought by the government. And Democrats tried to protect the taxpayer's money, wanting bankruptcy judges to rewrite mortgages sensibly.

Presidential candidates Obama and McCain backed the plan, which has been tumultuously revised. When the bill was defeated last Monday, much of the blame was put on the Democrats and Nancy Pelosi's speech prior to the vote, which in turn blamed the credit crisis on eight years of the Bush Administration policies. The bailout plan is only the cost of "budgetary recklessness" and "no regulation, no supervision and no discipline in the system."

Well, it seems like someone couldn't handle the truth. I agree with Pelosi on the failed policies that have been translated into a failed economy. It's funny that they blamed the Democrats when the bill failed to pass at first with a 228-205 vote, backed by 140 Democrats and only 65 Republicans. From a mere three-page inception to a 450-page bill filled with nonsense like giving tax breaks to wooden-arrow makers, the bill was catered primarily to the Republicans. That was the only way the bill would pass. I guess it wasn't enough for them to realize that we need something to prevent the economy from getting worse (i.e., the bailout package). So they added irrelevant tax breaks and incentives that will probably cost the taxpayers more than the original bill would have in the future.

Pelosi did place some of the blame on the past eight years, but fully understood that Wall Street's failure isnot the taxpayers' fault. I applaud her. Now it seems like the Republicans are punishing us regular taxpayers.

I also applaud Paulson's dedication to this bill, although some people think there might have been an ulterior motive. But Paulson and Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, took the initiative to provide an answer to this crisis. Maybe I'm wrong for jumping on the bandwagon or even naive to support the bailout plan because I think it will be beneficial to the future. But I fully support the bill that will try to get us out this hole that Bush and the rest of the Republicans ... ahem, (just to sound politically correct) the past eight years have created. I just wished we didn't have to sell our souls to save the economy.