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U.S. House hopeful bashes bailout plan in Pa. stop

October 08, 2008|By DON AINES

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - The $700 billion mortgage bailout plan was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bush last week, but Democratic House candidate Tony Barr told supporters Tuesday night that the government should not "confuse doing anything with doing the right thing."

"Basically, they took a big pile of money and threw it at the problem," Barr told a group of about 20 people during an open house meeting at the Democratic headquarters in Waynesboro. He criticized his opponent, incumbent U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., for voting in favor of the bill.

Shuster was among the majority of Republican House members who voted against the bill at the beginning of last week before later changing his vote, a move he said was contrary to most of the phone calls and e-mails he was getting from constituents. Shuster said the revised second bill contained several positive changes.

Barr said he also disagreed with Democratic Presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama for his vote in favor of the plan.

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"The heart of the problem is people can't pay their mortgages ... so let's find a way for people to pay their mortgages," said Barr. The interest rates homeowners are paying are much higher than the rates the federal government is charging banks for loans, he said.

"Rather than bailing them out, we ought to be locking them up," Barr said of the corporate executives whose mismanagement and greed led to the crisis.

"How is the American taxpayer going to be paid back?" asked Barr, a special education teacher in Bedford County. The corporations getting loans from the government should be made to pay back the money at higher interest rates, he said.

Oversight of the banking industry also has been weak and the industry needs to be "reregulated," Barr said.

"The people that created the mess in the first place are going to oversee it," Barr said. "They have $700 billion and no strategy for how to spend it."

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