- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 29, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

One reason I have not seen mentioned in the media that the current lag in the economy cannot be as bad as the Great Depression is the incredible number of government workers we have. In the 1930s, about 3 percent of the work force was employed by the government; today that’s about 14 percent. These people will not lose their jobs or take a cut in pay. Indeed, they will receive regular increases no matter how much money the government has to print. At one time, it was thought that civil servants should be paid less in exchange for their job security, but it evolved through time that they wanted pay parity. Now they have both.

JAMES KEEFER

San Francisco

* * * *

Who really bears the burden of bad financial and policy decisions that have severely impacted your life? Who really caused your IRA, pension and 401(k) to tank and lose a third of their value and counting? This did not happen because of any decision made by Citibank, Merrill Lynch, GMC, Ford or Chrysler executives.

I would suggest this descent on a slippery slope was started by those who put in place policies (the Housing and Community Development Act of 1977 and Community Reinvestment Act of 1974, with implementing regulations amended in 1989, 1995, and 2005) that allowed poor lending practices and forced banks to make these loans. I also would suggest that it is past time to start holding Rep. Barney Frank, Massachusetts Democrat, and Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, Connecticut Democrat, accountable for their committee decisions (House Financial Services Committee and Senate Committee on Banking) that mainstreamed these practices and led to the excessive bonuses paid to executives Franklin Raines, James A. Johnson, Jamie Gorelick and Daniel Mudd at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, while stonewalling any oversight. By the way, why is none of them being grilled on Capitol Hill?

This is what caused your IRA, pension and 401(k) to lose a third of their value and counting - not any decision made by a business executive.

As you ponder 2009 and your retirement, don’t allow these clowns to “fix the problem.” They are the problem, and we need to hold them accountable. Tell your representative and senators to vote no on the stimulus from hell, which will only stimulate these corrupt officials. Tax cuts are the only way to let Americans get this country back on track. Tell the government to take its hands off the economy, let the private sector work and cut government spending. Our children’s future depends on it.

BERNADETTE BERSET

Vienna

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