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OPINION

This hurts you more than it hurts us…

The failure of the US House of Representatives to pass the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 at its first reading on September 29 came despite the entreaties of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association to its members to call their congressmen before noon that day to explain to them why the legislation must pass.

Sifma sent an email to all of its members that day spelling out why the EESA was crucial to restoring market stability and increasing credit availability for businesses and consumers across the country. But the vote failed. Undeterred, Sifma sent out a second email on October 1, again entreating all of its members to get on the phone before the second vote. The wording of the arguments to be put before the representatives was largely identical to the first draft, but with the following addition: "This is as important – if not more, to Main Street – than to Wall Street (sic)."

In other words, far from Joe Six Pack bailing out the irresponsible banking industry, what is actually happening is altruistic financiers trying to save the American public from themselves. But further emails sent on October 2 and 3 saw this entreaty hastily changed to "Main Street America needs this recovery plan" – presumably on the basis that not even financially naïve congressmen would fail to spot a bail-out when they see one.