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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

October 1, 2008 at 5:08 PM

Federal bailout

No money, let alone tax cuts

It’s reassuring to learn that the Senate is trying to resuscitate the Wall Street rescue plan [“Senate revises rescue plan, will vote on bailout tonight,” Times, page one, Oct. 1]. It’s appalling that they have added substantial tax cuts in order to appeal to House Republicans who scuttled the plan on Monday.

Throughout this crisis, there has been little mention of the fact that the $700 billion proposed for the plan, on top of the billions we’re already spending on the war in Iraq, is not money we actually have in hand. Once again, we would borrow the funds and further mortgage future generations in the process.

To add a tax cut to the bill without including spending offsets is totally irresponsible and heightens the sense that Congress — along with the Bush administration — is incapable of protecting the interests of the people they were elected to serve.

— Erika Giles, Mercer Island

What price inaction?

One of the key arguments used by members of the House, such as U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Bainbridge Island, to vote against the financial rescue bill was that $700 billion is too much to hand out and not enough taxpayer protection [“Most Dems in Wash. delegation back bill,” Politics & Government, Sept. 30].

But, what’s the price of inaction?

On the day of the House vote, taxpayers lost more than $1 trillion on paper in the 777-point drop in the Dow Jones. This is taxpayer retirement accounts such as IRAs, 401(k)s, college savings and 529 [education] plans evaporating before our eyes.

LIBOR [London Interbank Offered Rate] bank-to-bank interest rates are up making necessary borrowing much more difficult for homebuyers and businesses. That means higher unemployment, lost jobs, and home values continuing to drop — which will mean tens of thousands of dollars in losses for individual homeowners.

The rescue will soften the financial blow by freeing up funds for lending, thus improving home values. The cost of doing nothing far exceeds the cost of the rescue.

Get to work, Congress, and get something done!

— Ward Drennan, Shoreline

Listen to economists, not politicians

I am thankful Congress did not pass a hastily conceived emergency bill and am hopeful they will craft a more thoughtful response to the financial meltdown — as long as the updated version values the input of economists over elected officials and Wall Street insiders [“Bailout rejected: Angry voters put pressure on pols,” News, Oct. 1].

We need a plan that puts individuals ahead of financial institutions. Instead of bailing out Wall Street, government should assist stressed borrowers. I do not want to be left holding Wall Street’s bag of bad mortgages.

I am willing to underwrite loan restructuring for borrowers.

Fifty-seven percent of borrowers who are late on their mortgage payments are unaware of foreclosure alternatives offered by their lenders, according to a survey by Freddie Mac and marketing research firm Roper Public Affairs & Media.

Support a plan that targets them.

— Victoria Martinsen, Seattle

Put out the fire; pass the bill

I was dismayed and alarmed that both Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives voted against the bailout measure and defeated it Monday.

The nation’s economic house is on fire and this fire must be put out.

I appreciate that most of those opposed to the measure have misgivings of various kinds, but it is simply not enough to complain from the sidelines about the actions of others.

If you disagree with this bailout measure, do your homework and propose a robust alternative.

I am fortunate in that I am not deeply invested financially in the current crisis. I have no mortgage or auto loans that I am paying off. Nonetheless, I am affected like most others I know. I have seen my own retirement savings shrink from 20 percent to 25 percent in the past 12 months.

The time to act is now before things get worse. Not doing so would be simply irresponsible.

— Craig Hoppler, Federal Way

Bail yourselves out, Wall Street

Where is it written that the poor will bear the financial mistakes of the rich?

What I hear is that the people dreaming up these exotic investment packages have steered Wall Street to the edge of the abyss.

Are we really in the same situation as they would have us believe? Consequences will be thrown out the window and bad behavior will be rewarded with tax dollars; how nice not to have to be accountable to your constituents.

Where have truth, honesty, dignity and pride in hard work gone?

The IRS doesn’t accept wooden nickels from taxpayers, nor my mortgage company any excuses.

My hope is that cooler heads prevail and someone can explain why the money appropriated from this bailout proposal is the only solution. Why can’t those who got themselves into this mess borrow the money from another willing lender, like anyone else would?

— Gregory Dean, Whidbey Island

Kill the politics; fix the problem

What members of the House and citizens who oppose the bailout bill need know is this: When lines of credit fail, as they are doing now, businesses can’t operate the way they need to; orders don’t get placed; and bills don’t get paid. This leads to payrolls that don’t get made and jobs that are lost.

I have heard my parents’ and grandparents’ stories of the Great Depression. There is a time for politics and it is not now.

Every congressperson who voted against the bailout should be ashamed for putting politics above the preservation of our nation’s basic financial infrastructure.

— Linda Atkins, Enumclaw

Comments | More in Business, Economy, Election, Politics

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