"The vote against the measure was 228 to 205, with 133 Republicans turning against President Bush to join 95 Democrats in opposition. The bill was backed by 140 Democrats and 65 Republicans."
Apparently, Nancy Pelosi made a cranky speech before the vote, saying it was all the Republicans' fault that we were in this mess, and it didn't go over well with some of the Republicans.
"Immediately after the vote, many House members appeared stunned. Some Republicans blamed Ms. Pelosi for a speech before the vote that disdained President Bush’s economic policies, and did so, in the opinion of the speaker’s critics, in too partisan a way.
'Clearly, there was something lacking in the leadership here,' said Representative Eric Cantor, Republican of Virginia.
Democrats, meanwhile, blamed the Republicans for not coming up with enough support for the measure on their side of the aisle."
I don't know whether the bailout is right or wrong. I do wonder whether, if Ms. Pelosi wanted the bill to pass, why she would have said something partisan right before the vote which she knew would anger Republicans. Or, maybe she didn't want it to pass, and can blame the Republicans now for not voting for it.
All I know is, the stock market fell 778 points today, the biggest single loss since Black Monday in 1987.
In the meantime, Wachovia, the country's 4th largest bank, is being gobbled up by Citigroup. There are so many buyouts and mergers going on this month that it's like watching a game of PacMan.
The Times had an interesting chart in their Sunday Business section showing how the various investment firms had gradually been swallowed up over the years. It really started back in the 1980s.
Remember E.F. Hutton, founded in 1904 ("When E.F. Hutton speaks...")? Became part of Shearson-Lehman-American Express in the 1980s. Then Lehman Brothers was spun off later on, and we know what happened to them.
Remember Salomon Brothers (founded 1910)? Now part of Citicorp.
Smith Barney? Yep, Citicorp again.
What about Dean Witter? Remember that name? They were around since 1924. They're part of Morgan-Stanley, which is turning into a bank holding company and will be subject to greater regulation.
Then there's Paine-Webber (remember "Thank you Paine Webber")? Now part of UBS Securities.
The chart is an interactive chart that is part of an article called Wall Street, R.I.P., and it really brought home how consolidated all of these firms have become, and how the basic way Wall Street functions will be changed in the future, no matter what happens with the bailout.
"The huge bailout package being debated in Congress may succeed in stabilizing the financial markets. But it is too late to help firms like Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, which have already disappeared. Merrill Lynch, whose trademark bull symbolized Wall Street to many Americans, is being folded into Bank of America, located hundreds of miles from New York, in Charlotte, N.C.
For most of the financiers who remain, with the exception of a few superstars, the days of easy money and supersized bonuses are behind them. The credit boom that drove Wall Street’s explosive growth has dried up. Regulators who sat on the sidelines for too long are now eager to rein in Wall Street’s bad boys and the practices that proliferated in recent years."
Personally I think that's a good thing.
But what isn't a good thing, in my opinion, is consolidating even more money and power into the hands of even fewer financial institutions. If those regulators don't keep an eye on them in the future, we may be facing an even bigger mess next time around.