The House Passed the Bailout Bill ... Now What?

Let's face it: the Bailout Bill doesn't get to the heart of what's wrong with our economy.

Neither you, nor I, nor many of those who voted for it believe that this bill is going to solve the pressing issues American families are facing: rising unemployment, stagnant wages, skyrocketing health care costs, a tax system that favors the wealthy over the workers. The enormous challenges facing American families are real and they aren't going away. But when your ship is taking on water and starting to sink, a bucket looks pretty good.

Another good idea? Start building a better boat.

If there's one lesson we can take away from the fight over the Wall Street bailout it is this: things aren't going to change unless we fundamentally change the way we do business in Washington.

At SEIU, we've laid out a blueprint to get there. Along with our brothers and sisters in Change to Win, we proposed that for half of the amount approved to bail out Wall Street, we can make a real investment in Main Street by funding programs that will improve the lives of tens of millions of Americans. Relief for struggling homeowners; quality, affordable health care for all; improved infrastructure; making sure that workers have real freedom to choose a voice at work --- these are basic steps we can take now that will have a far more powerful impact on our long-term economic health than any cash bailout for Wall Street.

The good news is that in just about one month, we won't have to put our economic fate in the hands of a Republican administration. We, the people will have the power to make our own choice: between the old politics of corporate cronyism and worship of the market - or the promise of change. The promise of quality health care that every person in this country can afford, and the ability to retire secure in the knowledge that your savings won't be lost in a turbulent stock market. The promise of a sustainable energy policy that provides new jobs and long-term energy independence. The promise of a new American dream.

Barack Obama has a plan to fulfill that promise for change. And when he is elected president, SEIU's 2 million members are going to make sure that he implements that plan, so we can create a new American economic model that works for Main Street, not just Wall Street.

There is a lot of talk about what could have been done this week. It's time for us to turn our attention to what must be done this November. We have a chance to do something transformational on Election Day.

On November 4, we will set this nation on a new course that will end the era of corporate cronyism and market worship and puts the government back on the side of the American people.

AlterNet is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed by its writers are their own.

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