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US Financial Concerns Plague More than One Wall Street

The effects of the US financial meltdown are spreading throughout the economy, freezing credit markets and hurting banks. Despite the $700 billion rescue plan for Wall Street, ordinary Americans are now beginning to feel the effects of the financial crisis and are worrying about making ends meet. VOA's Alex Villarreal gives us a Main Street perspective of the problem from a different kind of Wall Street.

This is how most people picture Wall Street.

New Yorkers rushing to work. Traders exchanging shouts at the Stock Exchange.

But there is another Wall Street....less than 400 kilometers south of the Big Apple (eds: New York City), in the city of Rockville, Maryland.

And residents are wondering whether the rescue plan for that other Wall Street will help them.

"It does sometimes seem like the banks or the people on Wall Street are getting the bailout, whereas the working poor are just working really hard, with the prices being up and gas being up, it is just harder for us," Emily McGarry, Wall Street resident said. "And I would hope some of that money would have come more for us."

Emily McGarry says rising costs have forced her to dig into her savings for every day expenses. On her own and with a daughter who is a single mother, she says she has taken drastic measures to make ends meet. "I felt I had to cut back, so I got rid of my car and I just ride a bicycle," she said.

84-year old Ted Conway also rides a bike to save money. He calls himself a child of the 1930s depression and says he has always been cautious. But he is worried about the future, especially for his children and grandchildren. "I wish I could leave this earth because at this point I have some savings and also I have this house," Conway said. "And it would be nice if the kids could go to the colleges they want to, without worrying about the cash."

Conway, a World War II Veteran, says he remembers a time when the rest of the world viewed Americans as saviors. He says greed on Wall Street is just one reason people have lost faith. "I worry about the world looking at us," he said. "And thinking, alright, America brought this on."

Conway's Wall Street neighbor Nikki Goldsborough is also concerned. "It is pretty terrifying, unsettling, stressful," Goldsborough said. Goldsborough's husband is a small business owner - a home builder. The mortgage crisis and crumbling housing market have brought bad news for business.

"I do not like to open the mail because I do not know what I am going to see when we get statements from our banks," she said.

Wall Street residents are not the only ones worried. A recent survey by the American Psychological Association found about 80 percent of Americans are stressed about money and the economy.

The $700 billion rescue plan is designed to restore confidence in the financial markets. But it is likely to take some time.