One little comment about the big bailout bill. I regret that so many around here do not get the connection between fixing the mess at the heart of our financial system and the availability of ordinary credit to conduct ordinary business on Main Street and the farm. It seems like most of my neighbors think this is some sort of salvation only for fat cats on Wall Street, and that if we just let them sink, well, that’s their problem. The fact that ours is an integrated system that reaches right down to and into every local bank and credit union seems to escape them, as does the idea that by underwriting a large group of mortgages and loans, the government would be stabilizing a market that might, probably would, plunge the value of your assets and mine to near zero. One might put it this way, if I want to sell my house and there are no buyers anywhere at any price, then my house is worth nothing. The same is true for the assets in my 401k, my pension fund, my health insurance plan, and the ability of my local grocery store to borrow temporary funds to bring in next week’s load of food. Done in a responsible and conservative way (that’s a small ‘c’ conservative) the so-called bailout will bring stability to markets and return a large part of their investment to the taxpayers. Done responsibly, greedy overpaid investments managers will not get rewarded for their failure. Done responsibly, a failed political ideology that worships the myth of unregulated markets while deliberately setting up those markets to reward avarice in all its forms will be replaced by sensible regulations that protect ordinary citizens and businesses.