Most ‘Main Street’ Drycleaners Against Bailout, Survey Says

Ian P. Murphy |

CHICAGO — More than two-thirds (69.7%) of drycleaners responding to this month’s Wire survey are against the more than $700 billion bailout plan Congress passed early this month to stabilize the nation’s financial system and ease the credit crisis. Only 17.2% said they were in favor of the bailout plan, and 13.1% answered “Not sure.”
Many drycleaners surveyed said they felt it unfair for taxpayers to rescue the big-money financiers of Wall Street. “High-income people who are responsible for this mess should be punished instead,” one reader wrote. “Help the middle-class, hard-working small businesses.”
“Why should I be careful and do the right thing, then be required to subsidize those who didn’t?” asked another. “If I use bad judgment, no one will bail me out,” a third said. “Let the chips fall where they may,” said another respondent.
Other drycleaners — while likely unhappy about the situation and wary of additional regulation — saw the move as a necessary evil. “The economy needs a boost or a contraction will result,” one respondent said. “I feel it was necessary in order to keep credit available and prevent the economy from falling into a depression,” said another.
The credit crisis at the center of the issue is starting to affect small business, drycleaners said, with 18.2% of respondents reporting that they or a business contact in their area had “recently experienced difficulty accessing credit.” Lines of credit have been denied, slashed or withdrawn; in one case, a “fellow businessman had his line of credit reduced from $60,000 to $5,000.”
One drycleaner said that a business contact recently had to “redo” a loan at higher rates and a lower principal; another reported that “a number of the banks are making no new loans.” Yet another said that the procedures he followed recently in applying for a loan were “more intense” than ever before; fortunately, the loan was approved.
While alarming, the bailout defines a problem that needs to be addressed. “Credit would have dried up for all business endeavors,” one drycleaner said. “Some action shows a willingness to at least wake up to the issue and put the situation in the public eye — unlike what has happened for the last eight years.”
Subscribers to American Drycleaner’s Wire e-mails — distributed weekly — are invited to participate in an industry survey each month. The survey is conducted online via a partner website. Each survey is developed so it can be completed in 10 minutes or less. Readers are encouraged to participate, as a greater number of responses will help to better define operator opinions and industry trends.
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About the author

Ian P. Murphy

Freelance Writer

Ian P. Murphy is a freelance writer based in Chicago, and was the editor of American Drycleaner from 1999 to 2011.


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