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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

September 29, 2008 at 4:41 PM

Federal bailout

Don’t rescue Wall Street

This nation has been duped. We have been cheated and exploited and yet we do nothing. We stand in the middle of the raging river of deception and call it a puddle.

Change? We don’t need change; we need a revolution!

On the independent news program “Democracy Now,” Ralph Nader said there are three important questions regarding the financial crisis that are not being addressed: Why do we need this bailout? Why should we spend $700 billion of the taxpayers money to do it? What does the average American stand to gain from doing so?

We must think, act and fight. Grave and devastating results will not occur if Wall Street is left to clean up their mess. The only devastation I see is what is waiting for us down the road if we allow those who should have known better to be rescued.

— Lisa Harmon, Auburn

The enemy is us

The recent financial crisis has brought forth every imaginable pundit, politician and journalist claiming that Wall Street and Washington, D.C., are corrupt and greedy — leaving John Q. Taxpayer blameless for the demise.

For about the past 15 years, we’ve been led to believe that the American dream is about having anything you want. This idea has led Americans to borrowing against their future and their children’s future without any possibility of paying it back. It’s reflected in the gigantic flat screens sitting in the living rooms of American homes and the TV shows where six friends sit around all day talking about their miseries — where are they getting their money to pay for those lattes? It is reflected in the larger-than-needed homes that we must heat and furnish and the cars we drive — who needs the extra SUV sitting in the driveway?

The American cultural experiment has become the American economic nightmare. The government is about to take on another $700 billion in debt to buy “toxic” assets — none of which are certain to provide any payback in the future. This will increase the federal debt to over $11 trillion. This does not include consumer and mortgage debt already dragging our futures down into the mud. Who will pay this debt and when will it be paid back?

The reality is that we are all to blame; politicians, Wall Street, the American public. We must learn to live within our means, otherwise we will never wake up from the nightmare that has plagued this nation for far too long.

Pogo once said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” Oh, how true this is.

— Chris Santos, Seattle

Stop playing games, McCain

I am retired and furious.

I did not grant President George W. Bush the right to be negligent and risk my savings and I certainly didn’t ask Sen. John McCain to make it worse.

Nothing we can touch backs up the U.S. dollar or debt. We can only trust that the U.S. government will make it through the night.

With the choking amount we owe China and others, our nation’s economic health has long been at the precipice of doubt. Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke were right — we have to move swiftly and at least appear to be confident and in control of our financial markets.

Sen. Barack Obama, working behind the scenes, reached across the aisle and asked Sen. McCain to join him to show solidarity. Instead, John McCain rocketed himself into the spotlight by playing a political game.

Sen. McCain, you said you don’t understand economics. Your actions last week proved it.

— Ianne Smyer, Seattle

Fix the problem quickly, Congress

I am a 31-year-old veteran that who just left the U.S. Navy after 10 years of service and started working in the private sector. I believe I may have a suggestion — or rather, a different solution — to the Wall Street bailout.

Instead of using the $700 billion to buy the bad mortgages from these companies that were partly responsible for the current financial crisis, we should do the following: Take that $700 billion and divide it among the 130 million Americans that make less than $100,000 a year. This would mean the government would pay up to $5,384 of each person’s debt — mortgages, loans and credit cards.

Will this stop foreclosures or financial institutions from collapsing? No, but I believe it will reduce them dramatically. This will still cause some stress in the economy and will not stop us from entering a recession. But by doing this, the people who would have some of their debt removed will be more inclined and able to pump their hard-earned money in the economy, which will allow us to have some more time to come up with a plan to fix the broken economy.

We need to get back to classic economics. Reagan economics, of giving the wealthiest Americans more exemptions so the money can trickle down to the rest of us, has been proven to not work at all.

I understand that there are some consequences but the current generation will have to take the brunt and come out on top and not pass on this problem to the coming generations.

— Fernando G. Rivera, Buckley

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