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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

March 18, 2009 at 2:02 PM

The nation’s economy and federal bailouts

Give Obama the tools to succeed

During the Bush years, wealth became concentrated in the hands of the few — even more than normal. Americans in general felt wealthier. It was an illusion created by borrowing and inflated asset value.

Now in this era of economic contraction and deflation, it will once again be the minority at the top who will benefit and increase in wealth. Assets will be cheaper than they have been in 50 years. Those with money will have opportunity to expand their holdings. The majority without sufficient cash, without borrowing capability, without sizable income or adequate employment, will be lost.

At least we have the right president at this time. Let’s hope Congress has the political will to give him the tools to succeed.

Older people tend to need to spend less. The baby boomers as least had disposable income. That’s largely gone. Also gone are opportunities for their children, who have the financial obligations that come with establishing a family and acquiring assets to live the American consumer dream. They will need the help of their boomer parents to survive.

This survival mode will further contract the economy. Only massive government spending at unimaginable levels for a sustained period can bridge this unstable time.

Hold on. Hold on.

— John Atkinson, Bainbridge Island

Let the free-enterprise system cure what ails us

Here is the deal. The politicos gave a knee-jerk response before anyone bothered to define or understand what was happening. Actually, what is going on is a good thing. We live and function as a society due to the workings of the “free-enterprise system.” a system that includes “supply and demand” and “capitalism.”

Like all systems, it is subject to breakdown, or in this case, cancer. The free-enterprise system got cancer. It got cancer because elements entered the system that did not work out. The way banking has evolved over the past 10 years, with subprime mortgages and all the other little twists, did not work out. Once you do something in the free-enterprise system that does not work, how then do you get rid of the cancer in the system?

There is no magic. The fix is painful. In order to rid itself of the cancerous bodies, the system/marketplace threw them into financial crisis aimed at bankruptcy — a normal process. Were the system permitted to continue and get rid of the cancerous elements, new, modern, heathy cells would replace the bad ones.

But instead, we are spending billions attempting to keep the bad ones.

— Ted Nelson, Seattle

South Carolina’s governor knows best

President Obama is overreaching with his demands that the governor of South Carolina must accept $700 million of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds [“White House rebuffs S.C. governor,” News, March 17].

The governor contends the administration attaches “strings” to the funding that would tip the state’s economy and social fiber. Further, the governor feels that such high levels of spending at a time when the money is not available and wouldn’t be spent in “good” economic times is unsound.

Additionally, the funds enact projects and programs that will require additional indebtedness — perhaps for generations.

The president and his party respond with television ads that criticize the governor personally. So much for transparency, fiscal responsible and moving away from “the old politics.”

In the end, isn’t it a governor who has the state’s interests at heart? Shouldn’t the governor know, firsthand, what is best for his state and its economy. Don’t we err toward big-brother government when we override states’ rights with a social agenda?

— Mark I. Bowers, Issaquah

AIG: the cool side

There’s something cool about the AIG bonus scandal: There’s something in it to satisfy both the anti-government rightists and the anti-corporate leftists.

The real lesson is that both corporations and government need to be held accountable.

— Donald A. Smith, Bellevue

Comments | More in Federal bailouts, Recession

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