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updated 10:24 p.m. EDT, Sat September 27, 2008

The human face of economic uncertainty

By Jim Kavanagh

“I don’t understand why, every time there is a crisis, it’s the poor, disabled, children and seniors who end up having to pay for it.”

– Deborah Walker of Vista, California, 47, a widow whose sole source of income is Social Security disability payments (and is raising her son, taking care of all their needs using it.)

“You just have to keep thinking, ‘OK, what is the one thing we have left that we can live without the most?'” she said.

Walker said that she often skips meals so there is enough food for her rapidly growing boy, and her weight has dropped from about 120 to 94 pounds in the past nine months.

She learned Saturday that a $350 annual assistance check from the state would not be forthcoming.

(CNN) — The crisis in the financial industry is all about huge banking, insurance and investment firms, but the general economic slowdown is hitting regular people right where they live.

Tobin and other builders are offering steep discounts and incentives to buyers and “good-sized chunks of cash” to real-estate agents in an effort to get a stalled market moving. It’s not working.

“What we’re all sort of waiting for in this market is the perception among buyers out there that a bottom has been hit,” he said. “And until that happens, I think the fear with most people is that they’re going to buy something that’s worth less than what they bought it for, in a few months, or that they could get it for less.”

Artist-blacksmith Jeffry Loy, 35, and his wife, Diana Mulhall, a marketing manager, are purchasing a foreclosed home near Loy’s Atlanta home-studio for $53,000.

The house had been caught up in a broad mortgage scam that resulted in 10 arrests and inflated the home’s assessed value to $289,000. Its real value probably was about one-fourth that amount, Loy said.


Buffett warns Congress of meltdown risk
WASHINGTON (CNN) — Billionaire Warren Buffett told congressional negotiators that if they can’t agree on a proposed financial bailout, the nation will face “its biggest financial meltdown in American history,” two sources familiar with the talks said.

updated 10 minutes ago
Buffett to Congress: Bail out economy or face ‘meltdown’

Senator says negotiators consulted Buffett, other business experts