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California Congressman Talks About the Economic Crisis

By Mariam El Hasan | October 22 , 2008
Representative John Cooper with Kid Reporter Mariam El Hasan. (Photo courtesy Mariam El Hasan)<br />
Representative John Cooper with Kid Reporter Mariam El Hasan. (Photo courtesy Mariam El Hasan)

John Campbell is the Republican representative of California's 48th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was elected to Congress in 2005. Kid Reporter Mariam El Hasan lives in Rep. Campbell's district. She sat down with him to talk about the $700 billion federal rescue package, which he voted for twice, and the economic crisis.

Scholastic News Online: What does the government need to do so that this economic problem doesn't happen again?
Rep. John Campbell: We will look at what's caused it and then I think we will have to completely change how we regulate businesses and how we regulate and control banks and all the financial institutions and completely rebuild that in a new way so that it doesn't happen again.

SNO: Do you have any concerns about this "bailout bill"? What would you like to change about it?
Rep. Campbell: First of all, I call it a "rescue bill," not a bailout bill. The things we will call things matter. Words matter and I don't think it was a bailout of anybody, but it's a rescue of our whole financial system. All our bank, everything. So, I voted for it and I thought we needed to do it. If I had the opportunity to make it entirely mine all the way I wanted to do it, there were some extra things that got added on to it that I don't think I would have done, and there is probably a few limitations I would have put on, but I probably wouldn't have changed it that much.

SNO: How is this economic crisis affecting our district?
Rep Campbell: I think it may be affecting our district more than other places because the prices of our houses went up so much and now their falling so much. And a lot of the people who work here, many of their jobs are in the financial services business which is losing a lot of jobs. So we've actually been hit harder in this district than in other places of the country.

SNO: How will the cost of this bill affect children's education and programs?
Rep. Campbell: First of all, private schools, obviously, shouldn't be impacted. Most of the funding for public schools comes from state and local government, not from the federal government. So, there will be a lot of money borrowed to pay for the rescue plan. But we should get it all back within the next few years. So I don't think it will affect education, really at all.

SNO: What can we all learn from this economic crisis?
Rep. Campbell: Whenever things like this happen—crises, economic crisis, the war, other types of crises, 9/11—we always learn just something caused it to happen. It wasn't, you know, God attacking us or something. It's that we allowed this to happen in some way. So we always learn about some way to try and stop the same thing from happening in the future. Unfortunately, something else will happen to create a crisis at some point because we never fix everything in advance of when it happens. But I think we always learn something, and in this case we've learned a lot about excesses. I think when things looked like they were too good, they were too good. And when people took too much risk they ended up threatening all of us.

ECONOMY FOR KIDS

Learn more about the economy and how it works in this special report

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