So what now?

Clearly Wall Street was not impressed with a 228-205 House vote today to reject the $700 billion bailout plan. The Dow plummeted 777 points, its largest single-day points decline ever.

Both of our local Congressional representatives, Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, and Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, joined an odd, bipartisan consortium of legislators in opposing the plan.

We tried to reach Woolsey and Thompson this afternoon to discuss their votes, but they were unavailable. In prepared statements, both Woolsey and Thompson said they wanted something more from this package.

Thompson said he voted against it “because it did not contain the market reforms necessary to address the underlying cause of this problem, nor did it have strong enough taxpayer protections.”

Woolsey said in a statement read on the House floor that the package “fails to address the root cause of the financial crisis facing our Nation” and “does little or nothing to secure the underlying problem of mortgage foreclosures and economic suffering that hardworking are facing every single day.”

Woolsey went on to state, “Where is the comprehensive economic stimulus package that will assist 95 percent of the taxpayers – a package that includes unemployment benefits, food stamps, infrastructure investment, and of course, foreclosure relief? Stability should come from the bottom up. We need an economic package that will allow those in foreclosure to pay their mortgages and stay in their homes, bringing value back to the mortgage-backed securities that are clogging the financial system.”

The question is, will a better bailout plan be coming and, if so, what will happen to the financial markets in the meantime?

I spent time on the phone today trying to reassure my 83-year-old mother, a Santa Rosa resident, that her investments would be safe. But I had a hard time finding the words.

– Paul Gullixson