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$700 Billion: Signed, Sealed and Delivered

   WASHINGTON -- The financial system bailout that has roiled Washington for the past two weeks finally became law Friday, thanks to the 58 lawmakers who were against the bill before they were for it.

   Rep. Randy Kuhl, R-Hammondsport, was one of them, saying his conversations with businesspeople convinced him to change his vote.

   "All of them told me that if this isn't settled almost immediately, then the credit markets would stay closed and we'd have a severe impact on jobs in Western New York," Kuhl said. "That's what motivated me."

   Kuhl called the vote the hardest of his political career, and that's no wonder, given that countless other constituents had called and emailed him, saying there's no way in the world that the federal government should spend $700 billion to rescue a financial industry done in by its own greed and stupidity.

   But Kuhl and other lawmakers said they did just that because it was the least bad option.

   At least that's how the lawmakers see it, although I have the funny feeling that some of you might disagree.

-- Jerry Zremski

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