Ron Paul: Don't Ask for a Bailout

The outspoken critic of the rescue plan offers some advice to consumers.

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So, have you made up your mind yet?

Americans are apparently divided on whether or not to support the financial bailout. Poll findings have been inconsistent, with USA Today reporting that almost 80 percent want the bailout and the CBS Evening News saying only 16 percent of Americans think it's a good idea and more than 1 in 3 thinks it's a bad idea. Judging from yesterday's comments, most Alpha Consumer readers come down firmly against it.

I asked Rep. Ron Paul, the Texas Republican who was one of the first people to speak out against the bailout because it conflicts with his small-government beliefs, what the plan would mean for consumers who are struggling with foreclosures, credit card debt, and other financial stresses. (Some versions of the proposal include provisions to aid such borrowers.) He told me:

"If they've spent more money than they've had and can't pay their bills, they have to either quit spending and work hard to pay off the debt, or, if [necessary], file for bankruptcy. But they shouldn't ask other people, who may be poor themselves and just barely making it [for help.] If you ask taxpayers to do it, someone else gets stuck with the bill. Someone else always has to pay the price. This idea that there are no victims, that's a fallacy."

Do you agree?

  • Meanwhile, if you have money in a Washington Mutual account and you're worried about how JPMorgan's takeover last night will affect you, check out my colleague Emily Brandon's explanation.