Sub-prime mortgages, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac - the current economic crisis has given us a whole new jargon. And, all of a sudden Henry Paulson is a household name. (Who? See below for the answer.)
How can we make sense of all of this - how will it affect the country's economic health, as well as our own pocketbooks? The Internet contains several resources which can help you become informed. But - not all sources are created equally. A quick search of Google, using the term, "federal bailout" provides the usual thousands of hits. A closer examination, however, reveals that many of the sites are editorials and blogs. What's wrong with these sites? Nothing, if you are savvy about their purposes. An editorial is an opinion piece in a newspaper, magazine or journal. A blog is a personal editorial. While both can contain facts, the facts may not be substantiated. Reading blogs and editorials can be informative and entertaining, but they are primarily persuasive pieces, not informative in nature.
When you go to a web site, make sure that you understand who is sponsoring it. In researching information for this post, I came across an organization entitled, The Heritage Foundation. At a first glance, the site looked like a purely educational organization. However, in reading a description of the foundation, I discovered that it was a conservative think tank. Hold it a minute, all of you red-staters - I am not criticizing the foundation because it is conservative! The same holds true for blue-state web sites. The important thing is to be aware of the sponsors' agendas.
Okay - back to the original question. Where can you find information on the federal bailout?
- The United States Department of the Treasury This is the official website of the department, where you can find all sorts of information on the policies and activities of Treasury. You will also find a photo of Henry Paulson, Secretary of the Treasury! (see question at top)
- CQ Weekly Congressional Quarterly Weekly presents a non-partisan analysis of news and events happening in the U.S. Congress. There is a wealth of information contained within this source, and issues have been archived dating back to 1983. *Note: This is a subscription database; it is not available on the free web.
- Value Line Another subscription database, and a highly-respected source. Value Line analyzes 8,000 stocks, 15,000 mutual funds, 80,000 options and other securities. The information is independent, objective and unbiased.