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From Julian Gough:
For Immediate Release:
Statement by Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson, Jr., following Congress’s passage of today’s rescue package:
"As we all know, lax writing practices earlier this decade led to irresponsible writing and irresponsible reading. This simply put too many families into books they could not finish. We are seeing the impact on readers and neighborhoods, with 5 million readers now behind on their reading. Some are just walking away from novels they should never have been reading in the first place. What began as a sub-prime reading problem has spread to other, less-risky readers, and contributed to excess inventories.
These troubled novels are now parked, or frozen, on the shelves of libraries, bookstores, and other reading institutions, preventing them from financing readable novels. The inability to determine the worth of these novels has fostered uncertainty about novels in general, and even about the cultural condition of the institutions that own them. The normal buying and selling of nearly all types of literature has become challenged.
The role of the ratings agencies cannot be overlooked in the creation of this crisis. The Pulitzer, Booker and the National Book Foundation continued to award these novels their top ratings, even as unread copies piled up all over America.
These unreadable novels are clogging up our literary system, and undermining the strength of our otherwise sound literary institutions. As a result, Americans’ personal libraries are threatened, and the ability of readers to borrow, and of libraries to lend, has been disrupted.
To restore confidence in our book markets and our literary institutions, we must address the underlying problem – the loss of confidence in our nation’s writers. That collapse in confidence is choking off the flow of ideas that is so vitally important to our literature. When the literary system works as it should, ideas flow to novelists and poets who create novels and poems, ensuring an uninterrupted flow of literature to households and businesses. But stresses in our leading writers have led to the current severe and systemic writers’ block that threatens to undermine access to books for working Americans.
This bill contains a broad set of tools that can be deployed to strengthen writers, large and small, that serve businesses and families. Our writers are varied – from large novelists headquartered in New York, to regional novelists that serve multi-state areas, to community poets and short story writers that are vital to the lives of our citizens and their towns and communities. The challenges our writers face are just as varied – from full-scale writers’ block, to restructuring failed novels, to simply facing a crisis of confidence.
We must implement these new programs with a strategy that allows us to adapt to changing circumstances, and attract the private inspiration which has always made our cultural system so resilient and innovative.
In these difficult times, leadership – and sacrifice – must start at the top. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and I are agreed it is imperative we take the bad books out of the system, and slowly work our way through these toxic assets. Yes, it will be painful; it will be difficult; but at times like this, the Government must step in and perform its duty, as reader of last resort.".