The bailout is not universally popular with Main Street America but the International Franchise Association says a bailout is needed because our credit crisis "threatens to derail the future growth of franchised businesses because it undermines the health of credit markets as well as equity markets."

There is no doubt Wall Street is hoping against all hope that a bailout occurs.  If it the legislation isn’t passed I have heard pundits predict the DOW could drop as low as 8,000.  More banks would fail, retirement accounts would plummet and a lengthy recession could occur.

But I have mixed feelings about this bailout.  Should bad business decisions be rewarded?  Most of the business people I represent rightly remark, "I don’t get a handout, why should they?"  Should we just let the market work itself out?

Columnist Rhonda Abrams urges that small businesses need direct help. Some of the areas Congress could help small businesses include giving tax credits for hiring your first employee, credit card fairness, SBA disaster assistance loans and estate tax reform. Generally, franchisees are of the small business variety.  It seems they would benefit more if direct help occurred from Congress rather than just bailing out the largest financial institutions in America.

It’s tough to know the answers and I don’t pretend to be an economist. I have talked recently with several local bankers concerning the current economic climate.  The bankers have told me they are still making loans and actually have some optimism for the Iowa economy.  That flies in the face of a recent report indicating that West Des Moines is No. 4 on the list of the towns that could be hardest hit by the financial crisis.  I hope the local bankers are right.