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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

March 9, 2009 at 4:00 PM

President Obama moves to the left

A socialist shift from for-profits to nonprofits

Because of the derivatives market, the Obama administration cannot allow any large company to declare bankruptcy. Credit-default swaps, the main type of derivative, is a bet a company will default on its debt. So while a company may have only a few billion dollars in debt, the actual amount of debt involved could be $100 billion.

The money being paid to AIG by the government is going to the owners of AIG derivatives. This is a bottomless pit.

Derivatives are bought not just as protection against default, but as a means to profit from bankruptcies by third parties who haven’t extended credit to the bankrupt companies.

Socialism is the answer.

Not any kind of socialism; profit-making companies on the brink should have the option of becoming nonprofits and be encouraged to do so by the government. Other means besides donations and government grants should be used to finance nonprofits

The government has passed many laws that have helped profit-making corporations finance themselves. The government should make the same effort to enable nonprofits to finance themselves.

In our nation, the profit motive is overused. The profit motive has brought about deregulation and lack of regulation.

Derivatives should have been regulated. The government doesn’t have the money to pay the owners of derivatives. Some estimates of the debt involved in the derivative markets is a quadrillion dollars. The profit motive has brought about this market.

Allowing profit-making companies to become nonprofits is one way to avoid default and a collapse of the derivatives market. This kind of socialism also has the potential of getting the taxpayer off the hook.

— Dale McCracken, Renton

Pondering the political payoff

Charles Krauthammer’s excellent column regarding President Obama’s social agenda didn’t suggest the political-payoff reasons for this agenda [“Beware Obama’s ‘Big Bang’ social agenda,” Times, syndicated column, March 8], namely:

— Alternative-energy sources and punishment of oil and gas for militant environmentalists;

— Health-care for all for the governmental bureaucracy, and;

— Increased funding for public education for the National Education Association.

— Bob Dorse, Seattle

Comments | More in Barack Obama administration

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