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Demonstrators Rally on Wall St. Against Federal Bailout

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As President Bush was holding an emergency economic summit at the White House, protesters took to the streets across the country to oppose a Wall Street bailout. In New York, a series of demonstrations occurred near the Stock Exchange. [includes rush transcript]

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: As President Bush was holding an emergency economic summit at the White House, protesters took to the streets all over the country to oppose a Wall Street bailout. In New York, a series of demonstrations occurred near the Stock Exchange. This is a sampling of some of the voices on the streets.

    PROTESTERS: We paid, we own! Foreclose Wall Street, not my home! We paid, we own! Foreclose Wall Street…

    PROTESTER: People on Wall Street do not know the difference between right and wrong. They do not know that it’s wrong to lie, it’s wrong to steal. And then they make a few mistakes, they want us to pay for it.

    ARUN GUPTA: They may give it some window dressing about limiting executive compensation, but the real goal is to transfer huge funds to the investment banks, to the hedge funds, to central banks that created this mess in the first place.

    PROTESTER: This is like one, two, three: one, the Iraq war, $700 billion out of our back pocket; two, the energy situation, the record profits while we pay for it at the gas tank; and now, three, Wall Street, in terms of looking for another $700 billion on top of all that’s been done.

    PROTESTER: So I’m very concerned about the economic circumstance right now, and at the same time trying to understand what is happening and what the things that the politicians are trying to do.

    PROTESTER: …the have-nots, when the haves just keep on having. [inaudible] I go to college. I have a job.

    PROTESTER: You’re talking about a bailout for, like, some of the wealthiest banks in the world, but yet we can’t seem to help our own citizens who are having foreclosure crises. I mean, in President Bush’s speech the other night, he mentioned all the reasons for the mortgage meltdown but didn’t once mention predatory mortgage lending.

    AARON MATE: What’s your thoughts hearing this protest today?

    WALL STREET INVESTOR: Look, I totally understand their issues, but I think not bailing out will end up being worse for the country as a whole.

    WALL STREET INVESTOR: Come up with another solution. I mean, there is no solution. I mean, I think that the government should get a lot of equity for what they purchase, but there’s no option.

    AARON MATE: Which isn’t being proposed right now, though. So do you support the bailout in its current incarnation?

    WALL STREET INVESTOR: Something that’s been done. You pull something that’s already been put on the table now, the country will go into a spiraling depression.

    WALL STREET INVESTOR: I think it’s great for the economy, and obviously there will be a massive downturn if the government didn’t bail them out. I mean, Wall Street is a massive part of the US economy. If that was to crumble, then a lot of the knock-on effects would happen. The housing market would go down. I think there will be a detrimental effect to the whole US economy if that happened.

    WALL STREET INVESTOR: OK, it seems like a lot of money at the time, but it’s all going to get paid back in eighteen months. So they’re coming together. All these companies are going to be — have to refinance. It’s not as if the US government isn’t going to see this money again. And in terms of the economy in the long run, a company like AIG, if that goes down, those knock-on effects is going to go right down to the consumer.

    WALL STREET INVESTOR: Personally, I’m a firm believer of, you know, if the company choose to fail, you know, let them fail. But if it’s going to trickle down to everyone else, you know, we’d have to see what the real details are.

    PROTESTER: I am amazed that the federal government has so much money to bail out the investment companies that have made unwise decisions and created huge losses to their shareholders, while they always say they don’t have money for things like affordable housing and more parks and healthcare.

    PROTESTER: When the financial guys win, they win alone. And when the financial guys lose, the taxpayers losing. That, it’s not fair. It’s not justice.

AMY GOODMAN: Voices outside Wall Street here on Democracy Now!, Special thanks to Aaron Maté and Hany Massoud. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan Gonzalez. Also, thanks to our guests Michael Zweig of Stony Brook and Paul Krugman of Princeton University and the New York Times.

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