U.S. Rep. Barney Frank told a town hall-style gathering in Scituate on Thursday night that the economic stimulus package the president signed this week and the mortgage help on the way to homeowners will improve the economy by this fall.

The economy should see positive effects of the president’s stimulus package by the fall, U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Newton, told a town hall-style meeting Thursday night.

In a discussion of the national economy at Scituate High School, Frank compared the stimulus package that President Obama signed into law Tuesday to the New Deal. Frank also said Obama’s $75 billion mortgage relief plan will improve the economic situation by the fall.

Speaking in a packed auditorium, Frank talked about financial regulation, limiting home foreclosures and curbing executive pay for companies that receive government bailout money.

In addition to helping homeowners facing foreclosure, Frank said he supports allowing those who are not in jeopardy of losing their homes to seek lower interest rates.

“You can get a substantial savings,” he said. “That will help people with their homes and also put back money into the economy.”

Frank said the government should turn away from a policy of non-regulation espoused by Republicans and return to regulating the financial industry.

“The average American is justifiably angry at the way the American economy has worked,” he said. “For the free enterprise system to work well, the public sector has to do its part.”

For the better part of three decades, Republicans followed Ronald Reagan’s mantra that “government is the problem,” Frank said, until last fall, when Bush sent advisers up and down Wall Street saying, “We are from the government and we are here to help you.”

Written into the stimulus package is a provision that allows companies who have received bailout money to return it so that they can avoid executive pay limits. Frank said no companies have come forward with a refund.

The Patriot Ledger