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Bailout bill taking shape in a hurry

U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke prepare to testify before the House Financial Services Committee on Capitol Hill.

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As head of Marketplace’s Washington, D.C. bureau, John Dimsdale provides insightful commentary on the intersection of government and money for the entire Marketplace portfolio.
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To Tim Platt from Henniker, NH:
Your proposal is incredibly sophisticated -- perhaps too much so for the average homeowner. I wonder what the "government mortgagee" should do with the equity it acquires? Perhaps package it up into T-bill-like securities and auction it off? That sounds like a win-win, until you realize that foreign governments end up owning large shares of millions of US homes.

After the economic power structure's years of heaping speculation upon speculation, and trumpeting the virtues of the "free" market, here come the prevarications, rationalizations and bailouts. (By the way, I am a small investor in the stock market, engaged with such companies as Apple Inc., First Solar, Aetna, Visa, etc. My legitimate investments have been dragged down with the speculators' collapse. Where is my bailout?)
We're witnessing the end of conservatism as we know it, and, perhaps a new recognition that there is no such thing as a "free" market. If we taxpayers bail out the speculators, we should demand a reformation of economic checks and balances as a condition of doing business, to encourage private enterprise with regulation—and put an end to lofty but unstable mountains of "free market" speculation.

I have questions:

- Last I heard the President say, the economy is going smoothly. Now I'm asked to support $700 billion to bail out an ailing stock market. Haven't we learned over the past 8 years that our current President cannot be taken seriously as a source of information?

- Why is Marketplace interviewing all the proponents of this plan? Where are the skeptical economists?

- What ever happened to the Republican Party's intellectual conservatives? All we hear from these days are their religious fanatics. I want to hear from the House Republicans who oppose this bailout.

- As Obama joins McCain and Bush at the White House, will he emerge with a like mind on this bailout? Please, no!

To quote a former President during the Great Depression, "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." let us take a moment to step back and breathe. Throwing money at the stock market cannot be a sound solution right now.

he best solution for homeowners is to re-structure government-purchased mortgages as a new hybrid financial instrument (an "Equity Mortgage"), consisting of two key elements:(i) a reduced payment restructured mortgage; and (ii) a shared-equity account, with the equity split between the government mortgagee and the homeowner mortgagor in proportion to the debt written off. This is the only solution that would forestall further decline in property values and enhance the prospects that the homeowner/mortgagor remains a productive and incented member of the economy.

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