Rich Galen

In order to find that extra $200, you have to do two things: First you have to spend $200 less each month in cash at the grocery store, the gas station, or Starbucks. Second you have to stop charging to your credit cards because every $100 you charge now adds $6 to what you have to pay - every month.

If 100 million families have credit cards, and each of them spends $200 less per month in cash because of the higher minimums, that is $20 billion being kept out of the economy. Every month. Plus whatever people aren't charging any more.

Twenty billion dollars not being spent means businesses can't keep as many people doing whatever they were doing before. That means layoffs. More layoffs means more people unable to pay their debts - credit cards or mortgages. More defaults and foreclosures means an even slower economy leading to a spiral which could result in a 1930's style depression.

I'm not suggesting that will be the result of the Congress not passing the Bail-out/Buy-in Bill, but I wanted to point out that the situation is not limited to keeping Wachovia in business.

It comes down to you and me and our ability to get through the month.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at