Wall Street bust deflates market, our savings

Congress to Wall Street: Drop dead.

And it nearly did.

Stocks plunged Monday after the House of Representatives voted down the $700 billion financial-sector bailout package hammered out over the weekend.

Experts quickly predicted that carnage on Wall Street would spread to the broader economy in coming months as the nation’s financial system kept seizing up.

Without the bailout, lenders will be less able to finance consumer purchases of dishwashers, cars and houses. Businesses will struggle to buy inventory and fund even worthwhile expansion plans.

Even if lawmakers come back soon to vote with a different outcome, as many promised Monday, the ongoing credit crisis may rip into the retirement accounts and pay envelopes of average Americans.

"Where they’ll see it is going to be the pink slip at the end of the week, when people get laid off because business has fallen off a cliff," said Gary Cloud, a bond portfolio manager for Financial Counselors Inc. in Kansas City.

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