Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Kingston Explains 'No' Vote on Bailout; He Says It's Not the Same as Doing Nothing about the Issue

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Kingston Explains 'No' Vote on Bailout; He Says It's Not the Same as Doing Nothing about the Issue

Article excerpt

Byline: CAROLE HAWKINS

BRUNSWICK - A day after he voted to stop the $700 billion Wall Street bailout, Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., returned to his home district to explain his decision to constituents.

"I have been in Congress for 16 years and I can tell you this was the hardest vote I have faced," Kingston said at a Tuesday Brunswick Kiwanis Club meeting in Brunswick.

Kingston said he rejected the plan because it saddled taxpayers with too much debt and because there were few assurances that another large bailout will solve credit problems once and for all.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson had previously persuaded Congress to pay $29 billion to fix Bear Stearns, $168 billion for an economic stimulus package, $200 billion for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and $85 billion for AIG, Kingston said, and those didn't work.

"[Paulson's] a smart guy ... but if you look at his record, he hasn't gotten it right yet," Kingston said.

Kingston heard gratitude but also concern from his audience Tuesday. Club members asked why the problem hit so suddenly, would Republican votes pass another plan, and what will be done to prevent such a crisis in the future.

Commercial lender Ron Adams was one person who urged Kingston to act quickly. As a shareholder of Wachovia bank, Adams saw his assets evaporate when the bank sold for pennies on the dollar Monday. Also, his bank has fielded calls from frightened customers daily, asking if their money is safe.

"I can promise you the failure to act will be worse than any bill you can vote on," Adams said. "These fears are damaging and will become self-fulfilling."

Kingston assured the crowd his "no" vote applied only to this $700 billion package and should not be interpreted as doing nothing about the problem.

St. Simons Island resident John Lindgren agreed with Kingston that a pure bailout was not the right solution.

"People need to be responsible for the mistakes they made, whether they were intentional or not," he said.

Both he and Brunswick resident Bob Knapp have seen the effects of the latest credit crisis. Homes in the immediate neighborhoods aren't selling. …

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