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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

December 29, 2008 at 4:15 PM

Economic crisis

Nobody’s fault but mine

I enjoyed the column in the Dec. 26 Seattle Times about the collapsing economy and the irresponsibility of those who run the markets and those who are supposed to regulate them [“Crisis spurs epiphany at Church of Free Market,” Lance Dickie, editorial columnist]. However, I take issue with his assertion that even though “decisions and choices” were made “at the highest levels of government and commerce . . . the rest of us get swept along for the ride.” On the contrary, we bought the tickets for the ride ourselves.

The American voter bears the major responsibility for the way things are. Former President Bill Clinton was enthusiastic about free trade, and his legislative agenda and economic team encouraged deregulation of financial institutions and freer lending and borrowing.

Voters put him in office for two terms.

President George W. Bush took these matters further into the abyss by paying no attention at all to enforcing what little regulation was already in place. Voters put him in office for two terms.

So we voted for a possum and a skunk. They never pretended to be anything other than what they were. Did we expect they would magically morph into thoroughbred racehorses?

Americans also went on a spending spree in the past sixteen years, running up personal debt all on their own, all the while turning a blind eye to the national debt building during the Bush years.

The money managers in the private sector and their kindred spirits in the oversight field only behaved as one would expect, given the circumstances. It wasn’t they who failed the little guy. The little guy himself failed to live up to the rough demands of a democratic system.

Thankfully, the situation has gotten so bad that now the little guy is maybe ready to learn from his mistakes, reform, and take some responsibility himself.

Thus the election of Barack Obama. I sincerely hope we can learn some lessons from this sad history that we’ve inflicted on ourselves.

— Clyde Curley, Bellingham

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