Tuesday, September 30, 2008 at 12:26 AM
What do Ohioans think about the failed bailout bill? Well, like members of Congress, opinions run the gamut. ideastream®'s Dan Bobkoff traveled across Northeast Ohio Monday to gauge the opinion in this region.
To see the men huddled around the flat screen TV at an Akron McDonald’s, you’d have thought there was a football game on. Instead, they were following the play by play of the bailout vote on the House floor.
PETTIFORD: So the vote is 206 yes, and 227 no…
John Pettiford is an out-of-work cancer survivor from Akron and has been coming here daily to get the latest on the economy. He had mixed feelings about the bailout bill, but doesn’t want to see Congress do nothing.
PETTIFORD: You gotta help, because you can’t just let the country collapse.
Also standing by the TV was Akron firefighter Joe Livingston. He was surprised by how the voting progressed and blamed public opposition for bill’s collapse.
LIVINGSTON: As a parent, I know my children did not always know what’s best for them. It’s the same with the American public and constituents calling into congress telling them they dislike this bill.
As I traveled around Northeast Ohio, I met a lot of those constituents. Like Ellen Tschappat in a suburban Akron shopping center.
TSCHAPPAT: I’m against the bailout
Why? Because people have lived greedy, and have taken loans and the banks or whomever have given them loans without any reason to know they were going to repay them.
A couple of hours before the big vote, John Orosz, musing over a bite of lunch, saw a bailout as a necessary evil.
OROSZ: Not happy about it, but probably something that has to be done. Something’s gotta go, but I don’t think they should let those big executives get all that cash.
His wife Carol was more skeptical.
OROSZ: I’m not 100 percent for the bailout. It’s like putting a bandaid on a major wound. I just can’t see how it’s going to really work.
But since a bailout is still a possibility as lawmakers regroup and figure out what to do next, I decided to head downtown to find some of the young people who will likely be paying some of this debt for years to come.
ON SCENE: I just made my way down Route 18 from Montrose to downtown Akron past dozens of political lawn signs and the local Democratic headquarters. Driving down here I was struck by landmarks representing the last few months of turmoil. The National City branch sits next to a Countrywide Mortgage office. In the distance, there’s a tower for Chase bank-that’s one of the stronger firms these days.
When I arrived on the University of Akron campus, students seemed unconcerned about the financial turmoil around them. Ellie and Brienna are sophomores.
REPORTER: I’m just curious, are you guys paying attention to the bailout news and what’s going on in Washington with the economy?
ELLIE AND BRIENNA: No, not really.
REPORTER: Is anybody talking about it much on campus?
ELLIE AND BRIENNA: No, I haven’t heard much about it at all.
From Akron, I headed Northwest to Elyria where I stopped by Jim’s Coffee House. The Jim is Jim Slone, a former GM worker. Seeing the falling stock market, he grew concerned about his pension. I broke the news to him that the bailout bill had failed.
SLONE: Well it isn’t very popular, because it’s us bailing out - well, whether it’s us bailing out Wall Street or the commercial banks or whatever - but it’s putting a lot of strain on our economy. There are two ways of looking at it and the thing that bothers me is that if we don’t bail them out, what’s going to happen to the rest of the economy? So there’s a lot at stake here and I hope they get it right the first time because we really can’t afford for them to fail.
From Elyria, I made one last stop at the upscale Crocker Park shopping center where I met Tom Underman from Avon. While he was concerned by the bailout bust and the stock market decline, he tried to remain philosophical.
UNDERMAN: Well, let’s see. Probably they’ll pass it end of the week and then the market will go up 500 points. It seems like a roller coaster.
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