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Web Letter

One of the few good things coming out of this recession is that it justified dozens of billions of dollars given as yearly bonuses (up to $200 million per person) to Wall Street’s financial gurus. Those individuals have actually been able to make the federal government (the Federal Reserve and central bank) pay the bills of those bankrupt Wall Street companies in exchange for almost worthless mortgage-based securities. The banks got $200 billion in hard cash (taxpayers' money) in return for collateral in the shape of notorious securities that nobody else in the financial world wanted.

A completely unrelated question is what law has authorized Mr. Bernanke and friends to trade taxpayers' money for the stinking, contagious papers of the private companies.

It's one thing to provide the banks with loans when they need it. A completely different problem is to voluntarily deprive the federal government and all taxpayers of the right to go after the sound assets of private banks by accepting worthless monetary notes as collateral.

But the FBI is ready to investigate any potential crime as soon as they are done with the investigation of Client Number 9, who used his own money to pay for a prostitute who is already on her way to stardom. We need to fill up a hole left after a sudden death of Ann Nicole Smith, otherwise dozens of cable channels might be forced to shut their doors.

If ex-Governor publicly demanded the taxpayers' money to pay for his own stupidity, he would be untouchable, at least according to Mr. Bernanke. Isn’t that compassionate conservatism or what!? It's a good thing Mr. Spitzer has resigned. If he was stupid enough not to say that any kind of investigation would impede his efforts to defend New York from another terrorist attack, then he is really useless. If he claimed that he was a mole that penetrated the prostitution ring, receiving confidential information that prostitution money had been funneled to overseas terrorists and that he, as a career-long fighter against organized crime, volunteered for this dangerous mission, he would be considered a true American hero, on a par with Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney.

Hasn’t this duo used claims like this during the past seven years? Whatever they did was in America's best interest. They started the Iraq War to destroy WMDs and Al Qaeda. Does anybody care that the Pentagon’s own investigation proved both statements wrong? Now Bush and Cheney must complete what they started, otherwise thousands will have died in vain. At least Spitzer’s lie would have far more sense.

The other good thing coming out of this recession is that it will put an official end on the absolutely unsustainable and delusional Bush economy. You know, reducing taxes in order to enlarge the national debt, become completely dependable on China’s line of credit, undermine the American economy by opening the gates of the US market to foreign competitors et cetera has always been completely insane policy.

You'd have to be on drugs to believe that American workers with ten times higher wages can compete with foreigners who work for crumbs but who have the latest technology, equal to America's, thanks to our big business. which eagerly exports it to our foreign competitors.

But if the goal was to bring the American wages down to the Chinese level, then the whole macroeconomic policy makes perfect sense.

Kenan Porobic

Charlotte, NC

Mar 15 2008 - 3:18pm

Web Letter

The general reference to Keynesian economics in the main article needs to be developed, and the different uses of that system by the "New Deal" and "free market" enthusiasts should be examined. Deficit spending in the New Deal was designed for job creation. The money spent on infrastructure was spread across the nation, because the infrastructure is spread across the nation. Local contractors were often employed, and support services for the employer, along with their employees, also benefited the economy. ( This should have been the model for rebuilding Iraq and the Gulf Coast!)

However, it should be noted that World War II provided the stimulus to the economy. In support of the war, industries and jobs were created, and the shortage of men, now in the service, brought more women and minorities into the workforce. While more peaceful pursuits would have worked over time, the war jerked us out of the Depression by providing jobs, increased wages and those businesses that supported the workers and the defense contractors.In other words, the "New Deal" model benefited both workers and business by developing a consumer-supported market.

National security concerns as well as isolation because of the war restricted the job market to Americans. As for the Iraq War, deficit spending benefited large corporations with sweetheart deals to take over government functions in the Pentagon and other government agencies, along with weapons programs that as only corporate welfare. They, in term, subcontracted and sometimes outsourced these services by using foreign workers. Outsourcing industries and jobs, along with in sourcing cheap labor does not produce the jobs, wages, and disposable income to support an American Market.

The profit motive replaced national security as a measure of success. The "benefits" of this deficit spending have gone to the top income earners. The basic problem with "trickle down" economics is that lower wages and reduced employment do not produce a prosperous base to support a market. No market, no profits, and economic collapse is the result. The top of a pyramid requires a wide base. However, Keynesian economics is a method and not an end in itself. How, where and the results, determines its usefulness as a method. War is not a requirement for it to be a success.

Pervis J. Casey

Riverside, CA

Mar 15 2008 - 3:07pm

Web Letter

We are bleeding money in Iraq, there is no doubt. The budget for the Department of Defense should be cut in half. But what about our trade deficit ?

We are bleeding over 700 Billlion a year with no end in sight. A new book sheds light on our free trade policies and their ramifications economically, but politically as well: Ha-Joon Chang's Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism. From a review by Thom Hartmann, on BuzzFlash.com.

Even worse, opening a country up to "free trade" weakens its democratic institutions. Because the role of government is diminished - and in a democratic republic "government" is another word for "the will of the people" - the voice of citizens in the nation's present and future economy is gagged, replaced by the bullhorn of transnational corporations and think-tanks funded by grants from mind-bogglingly wealthy families. One-man-one-vote is replaced with one-dollar-one-vote. Governments are corrupted, often beyond immediate recovery, and democracy is replaced by a form of oligarchy that is most rightly described as a corporate plutocratic kleptocracy.

When this corporate oligarchy reaches out to take over and merge itself with the powers and institutions of government, it becomes the very definition of Mussolini's "fascism": the merger of corporate and state interests. As China has proven, capitalism can do very well, thank you, in the absence of democracy. (You'd think we would have figured that out after having watch Germany in the 1930s.)

We also need tariffs--without them the United States is finishedanyway, economically and politically...

Michael McKinlay

Hercules, CA

Mar 14 2008 - 3:02am

Web Letter

Well, gentlemen, it's easy to see why no one claims authorship of this article--it's bunk, start to finish.

So starting with the finish (last two paragraphs), before you take anything MoveOn says, you have to weigh motives, and they're hardly centrists on the political scale. "Bombs or unemployment insurance"?! The government may have some claim of national defense when it comes to spending tax dollars on military ordnance, but to tell the truth, the libertarian in me screams in rage at the thought of giving it to someone on unemployment. That is definitely not within the constitutional realm of the federal government, just as most of the entitlements and "earmarks" are not.

While withdrawing from Iraq is probably a good thing for everyone, where would you get the notion that the US should be obligated to pay war reparations? The Iraqi people don't need our money, since they're literally swimming in oil. But I'm sure if we were to give it to the UN, they would find a way to put it into the hands of those who need it the least.

Boys, "with the country poised on the edge of recession," the last thing you want to do is upset the applecart with wild ideas.

Halliburton and Blackwater are easy targets for cowards with a pen, but the truth is both are essential to the Iraqi operation, and are there because they are good and what they do, and are cost effective (if there is such a thing in war).

You're pandering, editors.

Steven L Bradley

Lakewood, CO

Mar 14 2008 - 2:53am