ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
Now, you might have heard Congresswoman Giffords just now say something that we've been hearing a lot recently. Here's some other clues.
Senator JUDD GREGG (Republican, New Hampshire): If we don't act now, we won't just punish Wall Street but punish innocent people on Main Street.
Representative ED MARKEY (Democrat, Massachusetts): If credit markets meltdown in Wall Street, Main Street melts down a few days later.
SIEGEL: Republican Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire and Democratic Congressman Ed Markey of Massachusetts. And many others, by the way, have arrived at rhetorical intersections of Wall Street and Main Street who have sent us to Google Maps. It turns out there are dozens of places around the country where those streets actually intersect. So we dispatched reporters to two of those cities. First, Craig LeMoult of member station WSHU.
CRAIG LEMOULT: I'm here on the corner of Wall Street and Main Street in Bridgeport, Connecticut. There's a Holiday Inn here on the corner and across from that is a shoe store, and across the street from that is large brick building that's under construction right now.
Mr. LEWIS NELSON (Superintendent, Arcade Hotel and Mall Renovation): We are at the Arcade Hotel and Mall.
LEMOULT: That's Lewis Nelson the superintendent on the building's renovation job. Every one here on the corner of Wall Street and Main Street seems to know about the government bailout plan. And they all have strong opinions about it. Nelson's supports it. He says he hopes it makes it easier for companies like his to get credit.
Mr. NELSON: We use credit to get materials. We use credit for a lot of stuff, a lot of credit. And if the banks aren't giving out credit, we can't do anything.
LEMOULT: Just down the street it turns out there's a state social services office, appropriately closer to Main Street than it is to Wall Street. I run into a couple of social workers who say they are getting more requests for food vouchers and housing assistance these days. Paul Conway is standing on the side walk next to a pile of newspapers he's selling. He's wearing a Connecticut Post baseball cap. In big letters across the top of the papers is the headline, "Senate OKs Bailout." Conway says he thinks $700 billion would be better spent helping people who are having trouble getting by.
Mr. PAUL CONWAY (Vendor, Newspapers): The middle class is getting hurt, because the rich people don't pay taxes. I shouldn't be sounding prejudiced for the lower-class people. I'm a lower-class person. They get benefits. And it's the middle-class people that get stuck in the middle.
LEMOULT: Omega Williams works at her mother's beauty salon down the street. She says she's seeing fewer customers coming in these days. But she has got an almost Zen attitude about the economy.
Ms. OMEGA WILLIAMS (Employee, Beauty Saloon): I look at it like this, like I'm going to be all right one way or the other, so I'm not worried about it. People got to stop worrying and that's the problem.
LEMOULT: Talking to some of the people here on both Wall Street and Main Street in Bridgeport, Connecticut that might be easier said than done. For NPR News, I'm Craig Lemoult.
PATTY MURRAY: This is Patty Murray in Green Bay. I'm here on the corner of Wall Street and Main Street just on the outskirts of town. There's not much around here, but a mini storage, a few houses and the Redwood Inn, the parking lot is filling up. People come here for the chicken special, it's just $4.00. So let's go in and ask what they think about the economic bailout plan.
Mr. NORM BOROWSKI (Employee, Construction Firm): I think it sucks. I think they're selling us out.
MURRAY: Let's just say it's not too popular. That's Norm Borowski. While he's on Wall Street, he's not a hedge fund manager. He runs construction sites. People here are more likely to work in paper mills or build cabinets or teach kids. Norm's wife Sharon Borowski doesn't carry Fendi or Prada handbags and isn't ordering up a Martini. She's drinking the house specialty.
Ms. SHARON BOROWSKI: Whiskey old-fashioned.
MURRAY: That seems to be the prevailing drink out here.
Ms. BOROWSKI: Yes. It's very popular because they make the best.
MURRAY: Like all the patrons I talked to here, Borowski doesn't have a high opinion of the bailout or rescue plan or whatever you want to call it.
Ms. BOROWSKI: Instead of bailing out the AIG, they should take that money and split it amongst all the people that are taxpayers in the United States.
MURRAY: Boy, they do make a good old-fashioned here, don't they?
Ms. BOROWSKI: Yes.
MURRAY: Kim and Bobby Jaklin are celebrating their 26th wedding anniversary by drinking, what else? Whisky old-fashioned. They never noticed that their favorite hangout is at the nexus of Main Street and Wall Street. The Jaklins would like an economic bailout of their own but don't like their odds of getting one.
Mr. BOBBY JAKLIN: Well, I would like my mortgage paid and I would like my up-north cabin paid. After that I'm set to go.
Unidentified Woman: (Unintelligible) kids.
MURRAY: There's a vintage Pac Man videogame at the back of the bar. One might say it's a bit of an allegory for real Wall Streeters these days. A ravenous big mouth gobbling up everything they can get, until it's caught and dies in an epic failure.
MURRAY: For NPR News, I'm Patty Murray at the Redwood Inn in Green Bay.
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