If the bailout doesn’t pass…

Source: Joseph E. Robert, Washington Post (Free Registration)

What if, after the House vote today, Americans learn that 3,000 banks will fail? That's what happened during the last U.S. financial crisis -- and today's credit crisis is much greater than the thrift and banking debacle of the late 1980s and early '90s. Inaction has already caused enormous damage to our economy. If the House fails to act, the costs will make $700 billion pale in comparison. The Treasury's proposed Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) has been mischaracterized as "overreaching socialism," a "bailout of Wall Street fat cats" and "penalizing all taxpayers for the actions of a few." Such descriptions serve only the narrow interests of the politicians and pundits who use them. The Senate passed a larded version of TARP that includes necessary measures to purge "toxic" assets from the banking system and restore financial liquidity. Today the House must do its part.

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