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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

February 2, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Wall Street



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AP Photo / Mark Lennihan

Rolando Gamez sweeps up litter on Wall Street in front of the New York Stock Exchange.

Greed stomping democracy

Editor, The Times:

Another day and another outrageous article about the lavishness of the Wall Street group [“Obama chastises Wall St. on bonuses,” Times, Business, Jan. 30]. Our political leaders verbally chastise the bonuses, perks and outright thievery of this group, but do nothing tangible to stop it.

It’s all a ruse to act like they want something done, but at the same time knowing it’s the Wall Street gang that are the big financiers of their campaigns. Go to and take a look at where your politician gets the majority of his or her campaign funds.

It’s time that all Americans stand up and take action.

How many more must lose jobs, homes, money and dignity before we say enough? We, the people, are now the main stockholders in these Wall Street dens of greed. We have the right to demand the ouster of management and the board of directors.

Take immediate action by writing or calling your politician today.

The next action should be a march on Washington, D.C., by millions. Today we are so tied up in our own lives, we have forgotten it took the Boston Tea Party, Revolutionary War, civil-rights marches and protests against the Vietnam War to change the way America was governed. It’s time to halt the greed and corruption, and demand true democracy. We must not let politicians sway us by manipulating the true context of patriotism and imposing fear.

It was Dante who once said the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality. How much longer will you remain complacent?

“If you go to the city of Washington, you will find that almost all of those corporation lawyers and cowardly politicians, members of congress and mis-representatives of the masses claim, in glowing terms, that they have risen from the ranks to places of eminence and distinction,” Eugene V. Debs said more than 80 years ago. “I am very glad that I cannot make that claim for myself. I would be ashamed to admit that I had risen from the ranks. When I rise it will be with the ranks, and not from the ranks.”

Even worse than the horrible economic situation in this country is seeing democracy stomped on by greed and corruption.

— Richard Charlson, Curlew

Stick to the old-fashioned way

Many are asking how Wall Street executives could be paid bonuses, especially when those bonuses appear to have been paid using taxpayers’ money, since their own substandard handling of stewardships is what left their firms in the present financial hole. The answer is because they can.

The average worker can only expect a bonus for good performance because those to whom they answer are the same ones from whom the reward is dispensed. This is not the case with the arrogant elite of the business world. Their imprudent practices allowed consumers to overbid the price of real estate and pay the difference through unrealistic mortgages.

Not only are they being allowed to get away with their lack of restraint and foresight, now they are being allowed to get away with taking an undeserved reward for their recklessness.

Perhaps no one wants to be the one to hold them accountable because everyone feels some sort of collective guilt for allowing this situation to happen in the first place. Or maybe everyone is too much in shock or burdened with their own problems.

We should be rioting in the streets. Just as money used to have to be made the “old-fashioned way” by being earned, these modern-day, profligate aristocrats should be held accountable the old-fashioned way.

— Thomas Munyon, Marysville

Comments | More in Federal bailouts, Wall Street bailout


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