Pace Is Upped in Battle to Bail out the US Economy; Scrawl Street: Placards Express New York Protesters Views on US Economic Policy

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Byline: HUGO DUNCAN

FEDERAL Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson today ratcheted up the pres-sure on Congressmen to accept the $700 billion (?382 billion) bailout plan.

Arch Republican Paulsons proposal to load the duff loans made by banks on to US taxpayers has to gain approval from the Democrat-led Congress.

Politicians there are wary of handing such vast liabilities on to the taxpayer. Sensitivities are running particularly high with an election looming and growing opposition to the concept of Main Street bailing out Wall Street.

Bernanke and Paulson today warned Congress that failure to pass the plan would threaten markets and the US economy. Markets have been wobbling this week amid concerns the plan, which was met with jubilation and mas-sive share-price rises last Friday, may hit the buffers.

Bernankes statement to the Senate Banking Committee urged action, saying: Global financial markets remain under extraordinary stress. Action by Congress is urgently required to stabi-lise the situation and avert what could otherwise be very serious consequences for our financial markets and our economy. …