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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

February 7, 2009 at 10:50 AM

National economic stimulus package

The hand of Wall Street greed

I am infuriated that not one Republican member of the House voted for President Obama’s stimulus package and that it looks unlikely that many, if any, will vote for it in the Senate — despite pleas for the contrary from their fellow Republican governors.

I am also infuriated that President Bush’s stimulus package went, in part, to finance the $14 billion bonuses handed to the very same Wall Street fat cats that have sunk not simply the financial system of the United States, but the world.

It is time for the Democrats in office to lead.

Perhaps it should be suggested to GOP senators, congressman and governors that the stimulus package need not be given to states from which these party members hail, if it is so reprehensible to them. Perhaps this should be suggested in the media, so the American people can see the kind of partisan politics being played.

Perhaps these senators and congressman should be asked to step up and decline this stimulus package in front of the American people, since their principles are so forthright.

As for the $14 billion in bonuses, it is not just an outrage; it is fiscally irresponsible and needs to be recuperated, either through a 100 percent tax on said bonuses or some other means: nationalization of board-member options, perhaps, or preferred shares.

It sickens me how blatantly the GOP disregards the American worker in favor of the International financier. I don’t think many Americans fully recognize this or they wouldn’t vote for the Republican party.

While grousing about loaning money to the American automobile industry, which employs hundreds of thousands of Americans either directly or indirectly, they freely give $700 billion to Wall Street. They do this, I might add, when it is openly known that the very same Wall Street manipulated oil futures and caused a 150 percent run up in the cost of oil, further exacerbating a troubled, but not-yet-failing auto industry.

Clearly, the financial system needs a major overhaul — not just in regulations and balance sheets, but in ethics and patriotism as well.

Once again, I implore the Democrats to steel their backbones when they deal with the Republicans and to do what is right for the American people.

I also ask that the stimulus package isn’t watered down to appease the Republicans. Please don’t add more tax breaks for the wealthy. It is at just such a time that the wealthy should be stepping up to the plate to fix this crisis, a crisis born of deregulations that for the past 20 years have largely benefited them and hurt the rest of us.

— Scott Mayhew, Columbia City

Take a time out

I am so disappointed our leaders in Washington, D.C., are rushing this stimulus package through. They need a “time out,” so that they can do a more thorough job.

— Elizabeth Bingley, Mercer Island

Killing it line by line

My smell test for the stimulus package is simple: If the money doesn’t buy something tangible, drop it.

Highways and bridges, check. Hospitals, schools and Internet infrastructure, check.

Education reform? A noble goal, but it doesn’t produce anything tangible. Kill it.

Health care and aid to states to pay for Medicare? Same as above.

Tax cuts for low- and middle-income workers? They’ll buy stuff that other people make. Check.

Tax rebates for buying cars? OK, but only for cars that are rated at 30 miles per gallon or better.

College tuition tax credit? Again, nice idea, but it won’t put people back to work making products.

Tax incentives to buy new plant and equipment? Check.

Revise the tax code around the alternative minimum tax? This is part of a much bigger issue President Obama should attack separately. Kill it.

Refurbishing government facilities? Forget about it. Anything that creates new government jobs — I’ve seen some estimates as high as 600,000 new government jobs — should be dropped.

When is the last tangible thing that got built in a government employees’ office? Based on the numbers I’ve seen from the Senate package, if you kill the parts that don’t pay to make or build something, you can cut the tab from around $900 billion to something closer to $500 billion.

Mr. President, you need to go through this thing line by line like you promised to do to the federal budget.

— Mark Nassutti, Kirkland

Putting out the fire

Imagine a fire department that reacts the way Congress does. Your house is on fire and the firemen engage in debate over water being wasted and where it should be channeled. Meanwhile, your house is damaged beyond repair.

Obviously, it’s better to waste some water and save the house.

Come on Congress, pass a stimulus bill and save our house.

— David Storm, Everett

Spending is the whole idea

The current jobs bill, not to be confused with the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP), may not be perfect, but economists on both sides suggest it will create millions of jobs and avert the layoffs of hundreds of thousands more.

Republicans say it’s just government spending. Well, duh. Of course, it’s government spending. That’s the whole idea.

When the economy is a total mess and consumers have no extra money to spend, government needs to step in and create jobs. More people working creates demand, which multiplies many times over in the economy.

What do Republicans offer? The only thing they ever offer: tax cuts. Now that’s a big help for the unemployed.

Twenty-five years of trickle-down economics has been a miserable failure. Tax cuts didn’t deliver the promised jobs or lead to balanced budgets. Instead, they gave us a massive federal debt and financial bubbles first in tech stocks, then real estate and finally the whole stock market.

Still, some politicians want us to believe that tax cuts are the answer. Unbelievable.

Contrast that with money to be spent on improving roads and bridges, retrofitting homes and government buildings, building a green power grid that can survive a snowstorm, retaining schools and teachers and improving health care. These are investments that will benefit generations to come.

Is the bill perfect? Probably not, but doing nothing isn’t an option. It boils down to what kind of a future we want for our children and grandchildren.

Call your elected officials and put the pressure on.

— Carolyn Kriegel, Stanwood

Pork versus pate

While they decry job-creation programs as “pork,” Republicans left in Congress continue to push for “pate” for the wealthy.

It’s been years since this Republican Party understood the American dream. They don’t understand it all comes down to jobs — jobs that support middle-income families, enable us to pay our bills and keep our homes.

Instead of focusing on this, Republicans are obstructing progress, hoping they can push more of their failed trickle-down economics on the rest of us.

It seems they are just fiddling while Rome burns.

— Kathleen Barry, Seattle

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