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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

March 11, 2009 at 4:00 PM

The economy

George Widman / Associated Press (file)

In this April 6, 1983, file photo, some of an anticipated group of 10,000 unemployed wait in the steady rain for President Ronald Reagan to arrive at his hotel in Pittsburgh, Pa., as he visits the city to at the National Conference on the Dislocated Worker. The 1981-82 recession, widely considered America’s worst since the Depression, is a grim marker of how bad things can get. Yet the nation’s current recession could slice deeper into the U.S. economy, and if it lasts into April 2009, will be on record as the longest in postwar history.

It will be what we make it

Editor, The Times:

David Sirota’s March 9 syndicated column was titled, “Somehow, ‘apocalypse’ seems right for the times.” Balderdash. What is happening right now is not “the apocalypse.” It is the ending of 20th-century America, nothing more.

Twentieth-century America was different from 19th-century America, and 21st-century America will be different from 20th-century America.

This is because the world changes.

What will 21st-century America be like? It will be like we make it.

— David South, Redmond

Real solutions, not frivolous spending or increased taxes

I have recently read the 12 ideas from American Solutions, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich’s political-action group, and many of them make sense.

A payroll-tax stimulus temporary tax credit could offset 50 percent of the payroll tax. Reduce the marginal tax rate of 25 percent down to 15 percent. Reduce the business-tax rate to 12.5 percent, giving businesses more money to invest in themselves and, thus, create more jobs.

Invest in a new, expanded, electric power grid and a new air-traffic-control system to reduce delays in air travel and save passengers, employees and airlines billions of dollars per year. Abolish taxes on capital gains and the death tax.

These ideas are common sense and do not grow government, raise taxes or significantly increase spending. We need real solutions, not frivolous spending.

— Todd Welch, Everett

Massive intervention tainted with political maneuvering

Jon Talton misses the actual cause of the stock-price decline, which worsens with every government pronouncement, in his blog [“So can this stock rally be sustained?” Sound Economy with Jon Talton, Business, March 10].

The U.S. government pushed loans on people who couldn’t afford them, instead of getting out of their way so they could earn them, coerced regulated banks by inferred threat of not approving changes in their companies and mismanaged Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, ignoring warnings of risks while the manager ran a Ponzi-like scheme.

Now, massive intervention tainted with political maneuvering is routine.

Faced with deficit spending or worse, the printing of money, and, thus, inflation, instability of economics and political policy (with flip-flops and money spent on other than what it was approved for) and micromanaging without insisting on management performance, why would investors have the confidence needed to bet on the near future?

Some are even “going John Galt,” to quote an increasingly popular phrase.

Our finite lives require protection against the initiation of physical force, which includes fraud as explained by Tara Smith in Moral Rights and Political Freedom.

People must be free to reject the dishonest and incompetent and reward the good. No one forced people to buy shares of the sloppily-run Washington Mutual, but politicians are forcing taxpayers to subsidize long-mismanaged car manufacturers.

In Canada and the U.S., we enjoy the peace and prosperity that comes from individual freedom protected by a justice system, the social system that resulted in tremendous advances in food production, medical care and weather protection.

Sadly, some ignore history, proving badly-run companies fail, governments have a poor record of choosing potential winners, politicians use their political power to force bad economics with free-lunch schemes, and control-minded regimes don’t feed people.

— Keith Sketchley, Saanich, B.C.

Comments | More in Barack Obama administration, Economy

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