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Power Moves to Main Street


Popular opposition to bailout sign of historic change.


Anger on Main Street is growing. The people -- real, working, tax-paying people -- have more of a voice in government than they've ever had over the last 2 centuries.

At least they did for a moment.

In setting out their blueprint for the legislature, the founders of our nation envisioned gentlemen farmers who spent no more than a term or two representing their neighbors back home. They never imagined professional politicians who were bought and sold like marketplace commodities.

But here we are. The initial rejection of the bailout package was a wake-up call: It showed us that the Internet has given some modicum of power back to common voters.

As shocking as it must have been to President Bush and Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi to find themselves in bed together, Congressional representatives were resisting the most appendage-twisting, career-threatening, strong-arm maneuvers by the craftiest, most shameless political operatives in Washington (from both sides of the aisle) hell-bent on mortgaging taxpayers decades into the future with no guarantee of success or remuneration.

Senators don't do the kind of face time with their constituents "back in the district" that House reps must do. Senators are much higher price-tag - servants of the wealthiest campaign contributors. That's why they so casually blew off Main Street's anger and concern over the idea of bailing out Wall Street: To them, those knuckle-dragging, middle-of-the-IQ-bell-curve folks lack the sophistication necessary to comprehend the complexities of our dynamic financial system.

While Washington political operatives were bludgeoning enough congressional representatives into submission to pass the bailout legislation, a letter arrived at Ann Harvey's home in Staten Island. It was from Lehman Brothers, the place where Ann had worked for the past 16 years, informing her that the severance and benefits package she'd been promised had been terminated, effective immediately.

Former CEO Dick Fuld is apparently reluctant to kick in any of the $71 million he made last year to help Ann as she searches for another job. I don't want to be the one to explain to her that she has no business being upset at the taxpayer-funded bailout of bad management. And I can't blame Ann for being mad as hell - nor can I blame Main Street for saying it's not going to take it any more.

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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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