There’s a lot you can buy with $700 billion, and I mean a lot. As it turns out, the U.S. economy might just be one of them. On Sept. 18, the Bush administration announced a bailout for all financial institutions having credit problems — in other words, all of them. Since then, there has been outrage among some of the American people. They claim that this bill doesn’t help them in the least. I beg to differ. And, honestly, if you asked one of the many protesters you probably see on your way to work, I doubt that many of them could tell you what the bailout is.

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Olivia Campbell

This bill purchases $700 billion worth of bad stock and other assets from multiple banks. This money is, of course, coming from the government and so we’re likely to be seeing taxes going up, which will in turn, decrease our weekly budgets. However, I feel that the term “bailout”” suggests that the banks will never pay us back. They will. In fact, they are going to buy these stocks back from us for the same price or more, so there’s a small possibility that the government might actually make some money.

What most people see as the bigger problem, though, is what happens if this doesn’t work. Well we’d pretty much be on the same path we’‘re on now, minus $700 billion. Of course, the national debt would go up, and we would be trying to pay this off for quite a while.

Another giant problem is what happens if we don’t go through with this. Actually, our economy crashing doesn’t just cause us grief, Asian and European markets would start falling, too. Wall Street and the Dow Jones have already lost several hundred points and, really, how much more of this can we take? With unemployment on the rise, and gas, food and pretty much everything else getting more expensive by the minute, the American people can’t afford a huge financial crash that would destroy our economy. We need to fix this now, while we still can.

Plenty of people I can think of say things like: “What does some teenager know about national issues? She’s not even a taxpayer!” I may not know much, but I do know that should this generation fail to pay off the debt, it will one day be mine.

I know we’ve spent more than $700 billion trying to fix the problems in Iraq and Afghanistan. Why not shift gears and try to solve our own? They say that history repeats itself. One of the major reasons for the fall of the Roman Empire was economic decline. If we don’t want to be next, we have to do something while we still have the option. If we don’t want to be next, we need to try this bill. If we don’t want to be next, things are going to have to change.

Dos Pueblos High freshman Olivia Campbell is a member of Kids Speaking Up, a local group working to educate youth on social, national and political issues and inspire them to write.