WEB: Economic Concerns Hit Home
As with the rest of the country, there is a lot of hand-wringing going on in Moore County as residents wait for the economy to come out of its current tailspin.
The financial situation worsened Monday in the wake of the U.S. House's rejection of a $700 billion bailout package designed to stabilize the volatile economy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average plummetted more than 700 points Monday, the worst sell-off in American history. Early today, the market had rebounded, and the Dow Jones was up 260 points.
"I've never seen people this concerned before, and its justifiable," William Clement, a local financial adviser, said. "Nobody's ever seen anything quite like this."
Clement said he is becoming increasingly concerned about people on the verge of retirement. However, he is advising his younger clients to "stay the course" in equities. He said the economy has always come back, and this might be a good time for those younger clients to buy.
Clement believes that while things will continue to be rough in the short term, it could end up being a positive in the long run because it will force the government to get back to fundamentals that have been lost over the past couple of decades.
Congressional leaders and the White House reached a deal on the bailout package after several days of tedious negotiations in Washington. But the political climate degenerated into finger-pointing between Republicans and Democrats.
Shortly before the vote, Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi blasted the "failed Bush economic policies" and proclaimed that "the party is over" -- referring to Republican free market philosophy, which she said caused "chaos." House Republicans are blaming Pelosi's speech for the failure of the bill, with Minority Leader Jim Boehner claiming it "poisoned" the GOP caucus. Democratic Congressman Barney Frank of Massachusetts fired back, saying "because someone hurt their feelings, they decided to punish the country."
Clement believed that the Pelosi made a tactical error with her speech.
"This thing has gotten too politicized," he said.
Also on Monday, Wachovia, the nation's fourth-largest bank, announced it was selling its retail banking operations to Citigroup for $2.2 billion. Charlotte-based Wachovia has two branches in Moore County and maintains a large presence in the Southeast.
The Pilot contacted Wachovia's corporate headquarters in Charlotte. Representatives there said they had no comment beyond a press release.
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