Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=99705
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Amy Gould manages the Cheetah Gym in Andersonville, and she says it's hard to care about the bailout initiative because people know little about it. “Be glad you have a job and just keep working,” she says.


Chicagoans wary, confused about bailout

by Samantha Abernethy
Oct 02, 2008


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"I don't really get it," says Linsea Waugh, 23, of Rogers Park. She added that she doesn't trust that her elected representatives "get it" either. 

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Jane O'Hara manages the Brown Elephant thrift resale store in Andersonville, and she said the current economic climate has affected donations. Of the bailout proposal, she said, "It's going to take a long time to get things straightened out."

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“It was their mistake. Why should we bail them out?” says Angel Matos, 53. He added: “They’re not going to take any of those CEO’s to court.”

If the politicians considering a bailout for the U.S. financial system wonder what their constituents think of the mess, Chicagoans can tell them in four words:

“We don’t trust you.”

That, along with a sense of frustration and confusion, is what a sampling of Chicagoans said in interviews Thursday, the day after the Senate passed and sent to the House a revised bailout bill.

 “All I know is everyone’s poor and everyone’s mad,” said Amy Gould, 30, a manager at the Cheetah Gym on Clark Street in Andersonville.

Most people interviewed seemed concerned about the economy, but few say they understand the situation enough to have an opinion. One thing is certain, though: People are not happy.

Elvis Dardagan, 24, a freight broker, said he feels that the bailout deal will cost taxpayers in the long run, and that lawmakers see this as a game.

“They play with us,” he said.

Angel Matos, 53, a driver for UPS, said, “It was their mistake. Why should we bail them out?”

Matos said he heard that the bill would cost each American $2,300, a number mentioned on the Senate floor Friday by Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi (R).

“That’s a big bill,” Matos said. He added that the he feels the government is trying to scare people into thinking that this is the only option. “That’s why nobody has an opinion.”

Jane O’Hara, 56, of Chicago, is the manager of the Brown Elephant thrift store on Clark Street in Andersonville. Revenue from the thrift story supports the Howard Brown Health Center.

She said the current economic climate has affected donations, especially furniture and “big ticket” items to the thrift store, as well as direct donations to the health center.

When asked if she thought Congress was doing the right thing, O’Hara said, “I think [banks] should have thought before they started giving away free money.” She added, “We’re all going to end up paying for it.”

When asked if they trusted their elected officials to do the right thing, people said “no.” Except for Gould, who said, “Hell no.”

Jade Bartlett, 22, a team leader for Greenpeace, said she does not trust the government to make the right decisions for ordinary people. “Whoever has the most money, has the most say.”

No one interviewed was sure what effect the bailout will have if it passes the House, but most were pessimistic.

“In five or 10 years, they will probably do the same thing again,” said Matos.

When asked if she thought the bailout would make things better, Bartlett said, “Could they get any worse?”