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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

March 3, 2009 at 4:51 PM

Federal economic recovery package

More IOUs propping up our paper castle

President Obama gives us hope and some temporary federal assistance. But we, the people, must create a new America: a green, sustainable, community-based grid of local economies, untrammeled by corporate oligarchs and Wall Street financiers.

Our old economy dies a natural death because it was based on illusory wealth, every dollar an IOU. We don’t reward work; we invest in debt.

On farms, the hands of the poor harvest every bean for our coffee, every grape for our wine. In factories, laborers make things. But, investors make nothing, except profit. Financial markets feed on debt and love to watch it grow. And, the more we owe, the richer they get.

Now the wealth we never really possessed dissolves into the emptiness it came from. So we print more IOUs to prop up our paper castle. $1 billion of deeper debt won’t fix problems debt has created.

Let’s revolutionize economics. Replace corporations with cooperatives. Replace dollars with barter units that can’t be brokered by middlemen. Dissolve the federal banking system. Support local businesses driven by bio-regional demand, instead of stockholder greed. Abolish corporate hierarchy.

Vital economies grow organically from bottom up.

Economy comes from the Greek “eco” and “nomos,” meaning “law of the home” or “home economics.” Forget global markets; nurture backyard entrepreneurs. World leaders won’t save us; we must be local leaders.

Recalibrate national problems into neighborhood solutions. Be the stimulus!

— Fred LaMotte, Steilacoom

Moving water from the deep to the shallow end

Shortly after class, an student approaches his economics professor and says, “I don’t understand this stimulus bill. Can you explain it to me?”

The professor replies, “I don’t have any time to explain it in my office, but if you come over to my house on Saturday and help me with my weekend project, I’ll be glad to explain it to you.” The student agrees.

The following Saturday, the student shows up at the professor’s house. The professor states the weekend project involves his backyard pool and hands the student a bucket.

Demonstrating with his own bucket, the professor says, “First, go over to the deep end, and fill your bucket with as much water as you can.” The student does as he is instructed.

The professor then continues, “Follow me over to the shallow end and dump all the water from your bucket into it.” The student is naturally confused, but does as he is told.

The professor then explains they are going to do this several more times and begins walking back to the deep end of the pool.

The confused student asks, “Excuse me, but why are we doing this?” The professor matter-of-factly states he is trying to make the shallow end much deeper.

The student doesn’t think the economics professor is serious, but figures he would find out the real story soon enough.

However, after the sixth trip between the shallow end and the deep end, the student wonders if his economics professor has gone mad.

“All we’re doing is wasting valuable time and effort on unproductive pursuits,” the student finally replies. “Even worse, when this process is all over, everything will be at the same level it was before, so all we’ll really have accomplished is the appearance of doing something when really we destroyed what could have been truly productive action!”

The professor puts down his bucket and replies with a smile, “Congratulations. You now understand the stimulus bill.”

— Richard Olson, Jaffrey, N.H.

Squealing like stuck-up pigs

Republican propagandists, following Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., have been criticizing President Obama’s tax-reform plan to make the very rich pay a more-fair share of the cost of running this nation.

They wail about how taxing people, who make more than $250,000, will “hurt small business.”

I wonder: Where were their voices last year when the Bush administration allocated $700,000 million to big business with virtually no strings attached? Did small business get any of those bailouts? Did Sen. Gregg argue against that huge theft — I mean transfer — of our national treasury?

Now, Republicans are squealing like stuck pigs at the prospect of paying more taxes on their unearned incomes. All those golden parachutes, bonuses, and bailouts have been class warfare against working folks. It is time for war reparations.

— Bruce Joffe, Piedmont, Calif.

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