While the House vote on a $700 billion economic bailout package was separated by about a 53-47 percent margin, the opinion of local lawmakers wasn’t nearly as divided.



None of the five legislators surveyed by The Morning Sun — U.S. Sens. Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts, R-Kan., U.S. Rep. Nancy Boyda, D-Kan., U.S. Senate candidate Jim Slattery, D-Kan., and U.S. House candidate Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan. — said they voted or would have voted for the bill, which went down 228-205 Monday afternoon.

While the House vote on a $700 billion economic bailout package was separated by about a 53-47 percent margin, the opinion of local lawmakers wasn’t nearly as divided.

None of the five legislators surveyed by The Morning Sun — U.S. Sens. Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts, R-Kan., U.S. Rep. Nancy Boyda, D-Kan., U.S. Senate candidate Jim Slattery, D-Kan., and U.S. House candidate Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan. — said they voted or would have voted for the bill, which went down 228-205 Monday afternoon.

Four said they would have voted against the bill with the fifth, Slattery, stating that he needed more time to study the issue.

Boyda said she formulated her opinion over the weekend when meeting with several economists. When none of them knew what effect the plan would have, Boyda said she knew her vote.

“They would look away, then come back and kind of stumble around and say, ‘No one knows,’” Boyda said. “But every economist across the board said there were better alternatives that would cost less, have a higher chance of success and put the taxpayer at less risk.

“It just didn’t make any sense to borrow that much money for something that nobody could make a compelling argument for if it would work or why it would work,” Boyda said.

Her position is mirrored by her opponent in the November general election. Jenkins called it a “massive, hastily thrown together Wall Street bailout,” and added that there wasn’t enough protection for regular taxpayers.

“So, under this bill, the government gets a lot more money, the CEO can get more money, and the taxpayer is left holding the bag,” Jenkins said. “In spite of the tremendous cost, this bill does little to nothing to deal with the root cause: the mortgage crisis, defaults, and foreclosures.

“This sets a bad precedent for financial problems and will make it more likely for Washington to step in to ‘solve the problem’ in the future,” Jenkins said.

Roberts’s camp declined extensive comment, but did say that he was planning to vote against it, while Brownback aired audio on his Web site, calling the financial situation a “cancer.”

Brownback went on to list several ideas for a new plan, including taking a smaller sum of money to experiment with, as he said a “prudent investor” might.

“Inaction is not an option,” Brownback said, “and we have to get this right.”

Drawn-out talk might not be an option either in the face of more immediate threats — Dow Jones industrials plunging nearly 800 points, the most ever for a single day.

Monday’s defeat of the bailout package came at a time when more Americans appeared to approve of the plan.

A Rasmussen Reports survey conducted on Sunday found that 33 percent of likely voters favored the plan, while 32 percent opposed the plan and 35 percent weren't sure where they stand, according to Rasmussen's Web site.

While 33 percent approval didn't show vast support for the bailout, it was an improvement on the 24 percent approval rating the plan received two days earlier.

As they do throughout the country, opinions of the bailout varied in the Pittsburg area. Dr. Michael Muoghalu, economics professor at Pittsburg State University, said the bailout was necessary to prevent a financial "calamity."

"At this stage, it is a necessary evil," he said, "otherwise, there will be an economic fall off. Nobody really wants this, but it has to be done."

However, Tyler Gariglietti of Arma said the government should not bail out the struggling financial institutions.

"I don't think the government should give the banks money," Gariglietti said. "Aren't we in a recession? Where is this money coming from?"

Gariglietti said banks shouldn't be "dumb enough" to lend money to people who they know will struggle to pay it back.

"That is their own stupidity," he said. "They should go under."

Daniel Macias of Pittsburg said he expected the bailout plan to pass, but was somewhat fearful of its ramifications for the general public.

"Up front, the plan seems to be the answer," he said. "(But) the obvious outcome is that the taxpayer will pay for this bailout. I've had fears of what this bailout could really mean."

Macias said the lawmakers in Washington should continue to discuss alternative solutions to the financial crisis.

"As this bailout plan has now been rejected, and the government has America's attention, this is an opportunity for all to voice any possible solutions they may think will really solve this problem."

Muoghalu said the difficulty in passing the bill stems mostly from partisan politics.

"The two sides of the political aisle are trying to jostle for position so each can claim victory over the other," he said. "But it will pass because there are no two ways about it. Without it, there will be a calamity in the financial market."