ALBANY, GA (WALB) - What's next? That's what many are asking after a stunning defeat of the financial bailout plan President Bush said had to pass to avoid an economic collapse.
The House of Representatives voted down the $700-billion plan even though it had the support of the President, both presidential candidates and Congressional leaders from both parties.
The stock market tanked after the vote. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 777-points, the most ever for a single day. House leaders say they'll reconvene Thursday instead of adjourning for the year as planned.
Supporters of the plan say without it, average Americans and businesses won't be able to get loans and massive job losses will follow. What do south South Georgia small business owners think about those dire predictions?
The printing press has been going strong at Ben Lowe's business for 26 years. "This year has been pretty good," said Lowe.
But as the papers quickly roll out, Lowe worries about a slowing economy. "The economy as a whole scares me," said Lowe.
The dollar figure on a proposed economic bailout also causes Lowe to worry. "When you start talking about $700-billion, it's hard to understand," said Lowe. Lowe finds it hard to understand government stepping in to bail out big companies when the same can't be done for the small businessman.
"No the government isn't going to help me. The banks where I keep my deposits I hope will help me," said Lowe.
Even bank help is dwindling for small businesses. A new survey by The Discover Small Business Watch found that 3 out of 4 small business owners say the economy is worsening and it's harder to get loans. Lowe wonders, "Are they doing the right thing by bailing them out or are they doing the wrong thing?"
Although members of the House of Representatives saw the plan as wrong, some South Georgia business owners saw promise in the plan. Jimmy Fields of Valdosta says a bailout would have a trickle down effect.
"It's too late now to try and point the blame. Let's fix it. We've got to fix it. I don't care if you are Republican, Democrat, green party, we are all going to feel it," said Fields.
"It's the whole idea of if somebody is hurting, we're all going to be hurting before it's over with," said Lowe.
The whole thing is scary for Lowe but in the long run he feels the bailout is needed and he's disappointed it failed Monday. "The economy is not good. If the President and Congress can't come to terms to do something to help us all, we're all going to be up the creek without a paddle," said Lowe.
Financial leaders warn that creek could lead to another Depression-- meaning the economy would slow even more and presses like Lowe's could follow suit.