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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

February 8, 2009 at 4:00 PM

National stimulus plan

Hair-on-fire hypocrites

Tom Daschle’s accountant made a big mistake in not reporting the part-time use of a car and driver as compensation. How dare he commit such a heinous crime?

But wait.

Where were all these “fiscal conservatives” when Halliburton, KBR and other government contractors relocated off shore to avoid paying hundreds of millions in U.S. payroll taxes?

Could all these “tax watchdogs” have been out to lunch when billions of our tax dollars “disappeared” in Iraq?

Are these the same “defenders of the American taxpayer” who insisted on handing out the first $350 billion of Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) money to their Wall Street buddies with no strings attached?

Could they possibly be the same “accountability seekers” who supported, then turned a blind eye, to George W. Bush paying trillions for the misbegotten adventure in Iraq “off balance sheet”?

If we are going to get out of this mess we are in and emerge with any semblance of our national dignity and leadership intact, we must quit listening to all these hair-on-fire hypocrites and take a long and sober look at where we are, how we got here and how each of us can take individual responsibility for helping to drag our country back from the edge of the abyss into which we are currently staring.

We can start by tightening our belts, living a little more frugally, taking pride in our personal thrift.

Then we can let our congressional delegation know we want sustainable infrastructure projects that will put our unemployed citizens back to work while investing in our future — not tax cuts or stimulus checks that will have to be paid back by future generations.

And finally, we can insist on protections for family-wage jobs, health care and education, so our children and grandchildren don’t have to face a similar crisis.

The 10 most important two-letter words in the English language: “If it is to be, it is up to me.”

Let’s take back our government and our country — while we still can.

— Paula Joneli, Des Moines

Not perfect, but urgently needed

Some understand that extraordinary times demand extraordinary measures. Some, like Bruce Ramsey, don’t quite get it [“Debt is what got us into this mess,” editorial column, Feb. 4].

His advice: “sweating it out.” No stimulus. Or, if there is one, placing it in the form of rebates to taxpayers. While this would doubtless be welcome to most taxpayers, it’s not at all clear that it would solve the problem of creating and preserving jobs.

Jobs will not be created by taxpayers, fearful of losing their own jobs, using tax rebates to pay off their credit-card debt, no matter how virtuous it may be for individuals. We tried this last year in the form of rebate checks and it didn’t work.

The stimulus plan being considered now is not perfect, but the consequences of not passing a very large stimulus could be devastating. Even Republican Sen. John McCain’s own economic adviser predicts that without it, unemployment will top 11 percent, the highest level since the Great Depression.

Ramsey points out that some economists signed an ad opposing the bill, which appeared recently in The New York Times. He doesn’t mention that nearly 200 other economists from across the spectrum signed a letter to Congress noting:

“We do not have the luxury of a lengthy debate over the best course of action. This legislation may not be enough to solve all the economy’s problems, but it is urgently needed and an important step in the right direction.”

— Mike Kelly, Bainbridge Island

Quit dancing around with glee

I am so angry about this stimulus package because it doesn’t do anything to “stimulate” anything other than the pocketbooks of the people who helped President Obama get elected. Like the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) and unions, it is filled with billions in government spending.

This is what got us into the mess we are in now.

I hear Democrats saying what former President Bush did didn’t work, but it did. When he came into office, he also passed a stimulus plan, and yes, it didn’t take off the way it was supposed to. But, why was that? Well, there was a little thing called 9/11 that was supposed to ruin our economy, but it didn’t.

For six years, we never had negative growth, even though the media did its best to talk down the economy and tell people how horrible their lives were. Unemployment was around 5 percent for most of those six years and things were not that bad.

Then came 2006 and the election of Democrats to the House and Senate in Washington. This is when the economy really started tanking. All the regulations on the banking industry were ignored; gasoline soared to over $4 per gallon and nobody knew why.

We blamed those horrible nasty, greedy oil companies, and the Bush/Cheney buddies who were getting rich off us. Of course, with gas that high, the economy was going to bust. Companies couldn’t afford to keep their trucks or cars on the road at that rate.

Democrats were dancing around with glee, as they ran commercials tying it all to Bush and then tried to tie every Republican candidate to Bush.

Well folks, it was you who got snookered. Now we have a guy in office who is trying to ram a trillion-dollar government spending bill down our throats that we will be paying for forever.

And it is not going to stimulate anything.

— Patrick Ferrell, Renton

Time to turn a corner

I don’t understand why Republicans think mass transit is bad and tax rebates for the wealthy are good in terms of economic recovery.

Mass transit, health care and green-energy jobs will build our future, while tax cuts, personal greed and the war in Iraq are what got us into this horrific mess of recession and debt.

They say tax cuts for businesses will encourage hiring. What will encourage them to hire workers is people having money to spend in their small businesses — money they could earn while being employed in jobs that rebuild this country.

Let’s turn a corner on the kind of politics and business that has left this country fractured and tattered. Let’s pass this urgently needed Economic Recovery Act because as imperfect as it may be, its intention and direction are true.

— Gloria Sayler, Bainbridge Island

Comments | More in Economic stimulus bills

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