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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

March 1, 2009 at 3:50 PM

President Obama

Reflecting a hypocritical icon

Editor, The Times:

President Obama’s speech to Congress Feb. 24 was described in The Times as a “Reaganesque exhortation” [“Obama: reality — and hope,” Times, page one, Feb. 25].

Former Republican President Reagan is widely held to be our iconic conservative president. He is known for saying he would reverse the growth of government and, just as individuals cannot keep borrowing and living beyond their means, neither can the U.S. government.

What did Reagan do during his eight years in office?

During former President Carter’s term, immediately preceding Reagan’s, the federal deficit averaged $55 billion annually. During Reagan’s terms, the deficit averaged $210 billion.

Federal spending at the end of Carter’s term was $590 billion. When Reagan ended his presidency federal spending had grown to $1.14 trillion. Reagan did not shrink the federal bureaucracy, but swelled it by nearly 5 percent.

These facts come from “The Limits of Power” by a true conservative, Andrew Bacevich. I wish those who call themselves conservatives would practice what they preach.

— Bert Sacks, Seattle

Just getting rolling

I have to admit President Obama has delivered in spades on his promise of change. Since he moved ahead in the polls last October, the stock market has lost roughly a third of its value and shows no sign of bottoming out. Unemployment and home foreclosures have skyrocketed.

Consumer confidence is at an all-time low, stifling the economy. Earmarks in the federal budget must be at an all-time high. The debt inherited by each of our grandchildren will probably be greater than all the money they will earn in their lifetimes.

Even the weather sucks.

But, in all fairness, Obama can’t take all the blame. Former President Clinton’s politically-correct administration went to ridiculous lengths to increase home-ownership rates, whether buyers could afford them or not.

In his last days in office, Clinton signed off the 2000 Commodity Futures Modernization Act, eliminating reasonable regulations, removed derivatives and credit-default swaps from the purview of federal oversight. It also gave Wall Street immunity from state-gambling laws, legalized activity that had been banned for most of the 20th century and led to the self-destruction of Enron, Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, AIG, etc.

Then there was the congressional Democrats’ 2004 cover-up of all the crookedness in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and their claim the government would never bail them out.

Of course, Clinton had years to make his changes. Obama’s only been in office a little over a month. Wait until he really gets rolling!

— Gary McGavran, Bellevue

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