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Wisconsin lawmakers still looking over bailout compromise

Wisconsin's federal lawmakers are still reviewing the financial industry bail-out bill that was unveiled late Sunday.

The House is expected to vote today (Monday) on the $700 billion package and final congressional action may not come until Wednesday.

The plan represents a victory for U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., of Janesville, because it includes his idea of letting the government insure a certain amount of bad home loans, instead of buying them.

It also includes Democratic proposals to ban "golden parachutes" for CEO's of companies that get bailed out. Those execs would have their pay limited, too.

It's not a given that taxpayers will take it on the chin, either. The compromise includes stock warrants which lets them share in any future profits.

It's the largest financial bailout since the Great Depression, but lawmakers say it's necessary to get credit moving again.

Still, they know their voters back home are not interested in absolving bankers' financial mistakes while they must live with their own.

In Green Bay on Saturday, a dozen people held a protest rally outside the Brown County Courthouse. They carried signs saying "Bailout is robbery," and "No banker left behind."

Organizer Wendy Coriell said it's nothing more than, "rich people helping their buddies," and she said there's got to be another solution.

Petri says slow down

Not so fast. That's what U.S. Rep. Tom Petri, R-Wis., of Fond du Lac says about today's possible bailout vote.

Petri was among those who got briefed Sunday night by the Republican leadership.

He wants the vote to wait, until he can hear from outside experts on how the mechanics of the federal intervention would work. Petri said a quick vote would be perceived as a, "bum's rush."

However, President Bush and Democratic leaders say Congress must act quickly to restore investors' confidence.

More like S&L than depression-era

A Wisconsin economics professor says the financial services melt-down is not as bad as the Great Depression, as some claim, but Kevin Quinn of St. Norbert College in De Pere says it's bad enough.

Quinn says the current mess reminds him of the savings and loan bailout of the 1980s, but with a lot more money lost.

The S&L scandal cost taxpayers $160 billion.

The plan could put taxpayers off the hook in the long run, but for now, Quinn says they're risking up to $2,000 dollars per person of higher taxes, cuts in federal programs, or future debt.

In Friday night's presidential debate, Republican John McCain said he'd cut federal subsidies for ethanol, among other things and Democrat Barack Obama said health care reform might have to be delayed to pay for the bailout.

St. Norbert's Quinn agrees that health changes would be put on hold, along with improved benefits for veterans.

Meanwhile, there are reports that everyday consumers with good credit are either being rejected for new credit cards or they're getting smaller credit limits than they need, but Ron Kelly of Sears in Wausau says he hasn't seen that kind of thing yet.