- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 30, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

I am not a “taxpayer,” I am a U.S. citizen who pays taxes. If you cannot differentiate these concepts and their meanings - resign.

You have no standing relative to my personal affairs. Talk of “protecting homeowners” is demeaning and socialist in tone and tenor. If you do not get this - resign.

The “bailout” of any private enterprise does not meet constitutional muster. If you do not know why - resign.

Finally, using this “crisis” to make political points is despicable. If you are an elected official engaging in this behavior or you deny this is happening - resign.

I think that kind of sums it up.

DIANE C. FOX

Linden, Va.

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So let me see if I have this straight. Over the past few years, President Bush, Rep. Barney Frank, Sens. Charles E. Schumer and Christopher J. Dodd, former Fannie Mae Chairman Franklin Raines, et al., have whined, complained, legislated and mandated that banks and lenders must give mortgages to “the less fortunate” and “minority immigrants” (read illegal aliens), who could not afford to pay them back. This and similar insane government interference has caused the current Wall Street catastrophe.

Now, instead of losing their jobs and going to jail after their friends have made millions, these perpetrators are offering to come to our rescue and save us from certain economic oblivion at our expense.

Aside from my children’s economic future, am I missing something?

BOBBY FLORENTZ

La Habra, Calif.

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Complex events never have single causes or simple fixes. A case in point is the collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two institutions that uniquely blended private incentives associated with Wall Street with public privilege granted by Congress. Rep. Ed Royce (“Inevitable Collapse,” Op-Ed, Friday) correctly called attention to the role of Congress and the danger signs members ignored for more than a decade on grounds of promoting affordable housing. Fannie and Freddie generated private values for investors (and well-connected managers) as well as political values for their supporters. Neither can avoid responsibility.

More important, dual accountability for the collapse must be reflected in any remedial actions. Congress chose to ignore the risks from moral hazard and the unavoidable costs of outrageous leverage on the companies’ balance sheets. Apologists who took credit for the benefits look to blame others by averring: “The private sector got us into this mess. The government has to get us out of it.” Intelligent consumers and voters know better. If Congress does not recognize its role in the debacle, it forfeits any reasonable claim to support for remedial action. Mr. Royce might well have quoted George Santayana, who famously proclaimed that those who ignore history are destined to repeat it. So it is here. Hidden subsidies for politically popular causes impose hidden taxes on us all. Think about Congress’ share of $700 billion.

LARRY F. DARBY

American Consumer Institute

Washington

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The financial market collapse in America brings to mind two geniuses, both of whose ideas are in play.

The economic system practiced in the United States and other Western countries is the creation of Adam Smith, who believed in the free-market system and the goodness of capitalism.

However, uncontrolled capitalism has greed at its core, and the modern-day financial MBA wizards find ways to exploit it to get rich quickly.

On the other hand, Albert Einstein, the Nobel laureate in physics, believed that “we cannot solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” Rightly, the hard-core capitalistic United States has begun to adopt principles of socialism to solve its woes and avoid a deeper recession.

Experience tells us that a mix of two opposite principles (be it economic or political) produce the best results.

Countries like the predominantly socialistic India, which has been economically disadvantaged by its “license raj” and inefficient public enterprises, are opening up their markets and privatizing. China, the behemoth of communism or the “control raj,” has been embracing capitalism recently to great effect.

Though hit by the American financial debacle, both India and China are galloping economically, with 8 percent to 10 percent gross domestic product for the past five to 10 years primarily because of the adoption of attributes of the opposite philosophy.

Should not the adoption of a few socialist principles be good for us whether it be banking, universal health care, energy, etc?

The Securities and Exchange Commission has put 799 financial-corporate securities under short-selling control as well as the $5-trillion-plus mortgage giants, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

Congress is negotiating a $700 billion bailout package that would be executed in two phases of $350 billion tranches to inject a bittersweet taste of socialism - a la France and India.

The first $350 billion tranche would be available right away for the Treasury to pick up bad debts banks have and help mortgage lenders make new loans and keep credit lines open. The remaining amount could be blocked by Congress should it find the plan is not working to its expectations.

The relief plan would address the greed effect by controlling mind-boggling executive salaries and severance packages, which are on the minds of all Americans. This is another socialist attribute that will take root in a small way as the government bailout plan is implemented.

The real questions are: How much longer will our capitalistic notions be allowed to rest on the wobbly pillars of fantasy progress and get-rich-quick schemes, and how many beatings do we have to take before we recognize that we need to revise our thinking in this regard?

Yes, we can skirt our problems with a bit of socialism for the good of Americans.

DAVE ANAND

Trumbull, Conn.

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