Local

Market Meltdown: View from streets of Modesto

A real estate sign displays a "bank owned" placard in front of a house in Modesto's Airport District.
A real estate sign displays a "bank owned" placard in front of a house in Modesto's Airport District. Modesto Bee

If you could help out the financial industry, would you?

Putting $700 billion toward severely devalued assets could help stabilize the economy, which is facing "grave threats," Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told the congressional Joint Economic Committee on Wednesday.

But most Americans doubt the plan. About 55 percent of responders to a Bloomberg poll said it's not the government's responsibility to bail out private companies with taxpayer dollars, even if the company's collapse could damage the economy.

Modesto residents interviewed after Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson explained the plan before Congress had mixed feelings about what -- if anything -- should be done:

Steven Fistolera, 54, of Modesto, painter

What do you think of the Bush administration's plan to spend $700 billion rescuing the financial industry?

"We need to help bail them out and then reorganize the regulatory structure, like we did in the 1980s with savings and loans. If we don't, there's a good chance we'll see another depression."

Do you think the worst is behind us?

"Not quite, but close. I think by this time next year we'll start seeing an upswing."

Have you felt the effects of this bad economy?

"Yeah. I'm a painter and people aren't spending their money, so business is down. I've never experienced anything as bad as this."


Ed Crosby, 76, of Modesto, owner of E. Crosby Tobacconist and Flyfishing Outfitters on Coffee Road

What do you think of the Bush administration's plan to spend $700 billion rescuing the financial industry?

"It's going to benefit a lot of people who ripped off companies. And the people who really need help will keep losing their houses."

"I don't see that there's anything anyone can do at this point."

Do you think the worst is behind us?

"I think it will be another two to three years."

Have you felt the effects of this bad economy?

"A lot of my customers are commuters. They have to choose between gas and buying tobacco. Gas they need. I have a lot of stuff in here no one needs."


Barbara Hajduk, 68, of Modesto, retired office manager

What do you think of the Bush administration's plan to spend $700 billion rescuing the financial industry?

"We have to put some trust in Bernanke and his team. Congress isn't full of finance majors.

Do you think the worst is behind us?

"No. I think it's going to be a good five to seven years before the worst is over."

Have you felt the effects of this bad economy?

"I'm very cautious, but I've always been cautious. I've watched too many people spend like there's no tomorrow."


Michelle Fields, 27, of Modesto, esthetician and owner of Dulce Dolce Spa and Salon on McHenry Avenue

What do you think of the Bush administration's plan to spend $700 billion rescuing the financial industry?

"I don't think we'll feel the ripple effects of this plan. I don't think it will remedy anything. It's a bad idea to put that debt on taxpayers."

Do you think the worst is behind us?

"It will take 10 years to weed out who can afford these homes and who can't."

Have you felt the effects of this bad economy?

"I have a house in Sacramento I want to sell because we've moved back to Modesto. We aren't facing foreclosure or anything, but you just can't pick up and move the way you used to be able to."


Mario Cordoba, 21, of Modesto, Modesto Junior College student

What do you think of the Bush administration's plan to spend $700 billion rescuing the financial industry?

"The bailout is just as bad as the 1994 plan for low-income home loans that got us into this. The free-market system should be allowed to fix itself. This is just going to create another bubble."

Do you think the worst is behind us?

"It depends on the actions of the current and future administration."

Have you felt the effects of this bad economy?

"I have friends who have lost homes."

Bee staff writer Eve Hightower can be reached at ehightower@modbee.com or 578-2382.

Related stories from Modesto Bee

  Comments