The Bailout Debate

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Protesters hold up signs on Capitol Hill in Washington, during a Senate Banking Committee hearing. (AP)
Protesters hold up signs on Capitol Hill in Washington, during a Senate Banking Committee hearing. (AP)

Wall Street has collapsed, and the White House wants a bailout like none ever seen — and wants it immediately. $700 billion dollars. Maybe a trillion. No strings attached. With the threat and warning that without it the entire world economy may drop like a stone.

Congress is facing one of its biggest decisions in decades. On the table: Huge money for banks in trouble. Huge new powers for the Treasury Department and executive branch. And huge fears over what happens next.

Party lines are scrambled. Politicians are all over the map. It’s a wild — and massively consequential — debate, with world financial markets in the balance.

This Hour, On Point: We’ll talk with big players and big thinkers in the bailout battle.

You can join the conversation. Should Congress pull the trigger? Or hit the brakes? For what? What’s at stake here?Guests:

Greg Ip, U.S. economics editor for The Economist. He’s been reporting from Capitol Hill on the Congressional negotiations over the bailout.

Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House, senior fellow at The American Enterprise Institute, and author of the new book "Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less: A Handbook for Slashing Gas Prices and Solving Our Energy Crisis."

Bernie Sanders, independent U.S. Senator from Vermont. Elected to the Senate in 2006 after serving for 16 years in the U.S. House, he is the longest-serving independent member of Congress in history.

Bruce Bartlett, assistant deputy Treasury secretary under President George H.W. Bush and White House economic advisor to President Ronald Reagan. He is author of the new book "Wrong on Race: The Democratic Party’s Buried Past."

Barney Frank, Democratic U.S. Representative from Massachusetts and chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. He will be holding hearings today with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

This program aired on September 24, 2008.


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