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Web Letter

Anyone that says this is not capitalism failing but rather socialism creeping in our back door and destroying our financial system clearly doesn't understand either capitalism or socialism.

Capitalism is a completely free market allowing businesses the ability to do anything they choose in order to increase profits. In a capitalist society businesses also hold the power to govern, using funds to influence government officials and other private firms. This is the situation that led to our housing prices rising to higher prices than their actual value. Banks did anything they could in order to put people into homes and seal a mortgage in order to increase short-term profits. No regulations were in place to prevent this irrational behavior, and now the nation pays for it as a whole.

Socialism is a free market system with near total transparency, strict regulations and protection systems of checks and balances that prevent the corruption inherent in free market systems. Generally more taxation is needed to fund the government's ability to employ citizens to fill these roles. This creates a much more stable system that provides focus on the advancement of the social community rather than large corporations' profits.

The founders wrote our constitution and set up a government based on a democratic system of checks and balances to prevent fraud and corruption, and to promote growth of the people as a whole. As our country has grown, however, many new sectors of government have not provided the same system of checks and balances and loopholes have been put in place to circumvent the old system. This brings us to where we are today. Companies dictate which people with certain illnesses live or die, and how our Congressmen vote, and create speculative pricing systems to increase profits.

So you can see, capitalism provides no check on greed, corruption and oppression, leading to the rise in power of the elite rich but the severe decline of a society as a whole (taxpayer money has been spent to give CEOs bonuses for failing). This is how the ancient society of Babylon was set up, and we know what happened to them. We need to learn and change before it's too late.

Keith Pryor

Clarksville, IN

Oct 25 2008 - 9:47am

Web Letter

The bankers were in the widget business.

Every laborer, even the one employed in what's known as the "service industry," is paid to produce widgets. You'd think Congressional Dems, late of bailout enthusiasm and fame but always the party of the worker, would've known this.

Damn good thing we weren't relying on the bankers for the production of nuclear weapons, the ones we'd use for purposes of defense.

Cameron Jones

Indiana, PA

Oct 6 2008 - 7:52am

Web Letter

It is amazing to me how diametrically incorrect "progressives" are about the cause of our recent financial crisis. Those familiar with the issue know the code-phrases of "economic justice" and "social justice" mean neo-Marxism and some form of slave or racial reparation. These are part of the charter of organizations like ACORN and became a poisonous insertion to financial institutions, primarily by Democratic legislation and oversight.

This was not a failure of capitalism; it was "social and economic justice" in action. It was the burdens of socialism creeping into the back door, perverting good financial practice and undermining the monetary system.

The Community Reinvestment Act in its various forms stipulated that Fannie and Freddie support risky subprime mortgages and at a recent point further demanded that 50 percent of the Fannie and Freddie portfolio consist of these subprime mortgages. The allowance of bank mergers and bank growth in the private sector by government regulators were predicated by increased buy-in ratios of subprime lending.

In the guise of "good intent," which is the Democrat's trademark accomplishment, the financial road to hell was paved with bad paper, bad business practice and painted with a veneer of "social and economic justice." Now we the taxpayers, only 70 percent of us who now pay more than Social Security taxes, are left holding the burden.

Think of the Soviet Union, of the burdens of its social programs, state control of everything be the self-serving apparatchiks, its nonproductivity, and its ultimate collapse. We got the retroactive ills of a dose of it these past two weeks. Want more? Then elect Barack Obama, who will, in the name of "universal health coverage," impose these same types of government edicts on the medical sector and small business that collapsed the financial markets.

Allen Kelly

Edgewater, MD

Oct 5 2008 - 11:18am

Web Letter

Mr Hayden never reveals to us what candidate Obama's bailout strategy was.

Hayden wrote, "I have no problem with Barack Obama's supporting the bailout package as long as it keeps him on track to the presidency." I find little meaning in "so long as [supporting the bailout] keeps [Obama] on track to the presidency." On track? Would having condemned the bailout taken Obama off track? If so, how? On the contrary, it would have put him on track with nine out of ten citizens who expressed themselves to their members in the Congress.

Hayden wrote, "I have no problem with Barack Obama." Well, Tom, I do have several problems with the choice the left has made, and I don't find any answers in The Nation. I read only weak hopes that the antiwar, community-activist Obama will emerge from the stealth-Obama who suckered the left in.

The left has been set aside again because it so wants to be the loved child of the Democratic Party. A child it is, a Cinderella left in the kitchen while its sister, Centrissa goes to the ball.

Alvin D. Hofer

St. Petersburg, FL

Oct 4 2008 - 11:34pm

Web Letter

"I have no problem with Barack Obama supporting the bailout package as long as it keeps him on track to the presidency."

Yes, let's sell out everything to get to the presidency!

Typical Tom Hayden dillusion.

Jim Gibson

Laguna Woods, Ca

Oct 4 2008 - 1:31am

Web Letter

I agree with what Mr Hayden has to say about the bailout bill, but I think it's a fantasy that Obama will break free from the dictates of Wall Street. Apart from taking wheelbarrows full of money from Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, and JP Morgan, he's included in his program a promise to expand the size of the US military, which is definitely not pragmatic progressivism.

The first job of any progressive movement has to be to finally win the fight about the costs of our militarism and our irreparably broken health insurance system. Combined, these two account for the waste of more than $1 trillion per year--almost 10 percent of US GDP! Health spending alone wastes about $1 trillion, since estimates are that half of all spending is wasted.

When it comes for the Democratic Party platform, ideas like single-payer or downsizing the military are, of course, "off the table." The squandering of such massive resources renders progressive programs virtually impossible--at best they can be hollow, token gestures.

Obama has not shown even the minutest interest in this very big-picture topic, or or in educating Americans that a radically different path is possible. The corporate media, of course, maintain an almost complete blackout of the alternatives. Until we have a public struggle over the biggest ticket items, no mandate rejecting the reckless status quo can possibly be had. Therefore, any progressive program to come from an Obama administration will be necessarily confined by the looting of the militarists, the big Wall Street firms, and the for-profit healthcare business.

By taking the big-picture ideas "off the table," an Obama administration is guaranteed nothing but table scraps.

Myles Sussman

San Francisco, CA

Oct 3 2008 - 8:30pm

Web Letter

I want to suggest an addition to Tom Hayden's call for action: We need to get beyond using government regulation against a system of commerce where the interests of consumers of and investors in financial services are at odds.

A stronger cooperative sector will lessen the need for regulation because the consumers are the investors. Already we can see that credit unions are doing much better than the banking sector, and this is related to their inherent stability and having the consumers' interests built into them. Here is a specific example of how we can build on that success:

The Grand Unification Bailout is based on the premise that Main Street will suffer unless Wall Street gets help. However, if we were to help Main Street, suddenly all those toxic investments would be less toxic because investors could have confidence that the foreclosure epidemic was cured. This would get money back into the economy at the ground level, where it is needed the most. It would also address the crisis of confidence at the market level.

How we might get this money to the consumers without simply bailing them out? In Canada, there are three cooperatives that help Muslims to buy houses without paying interest. These cooperatives have a specific religious function, but they serve as a model for an orderly way of rescuing all homeowners in a way that could facilitate repayment when the crisis passes.

With some modifications, this could be just the thing needed to help homeowners (and bankers) in a fair and equitable way. The model cooperatives start with people who don’t own houses, but what I am suggesting is that any homeowner bailout funds be used to set up cooperative organizations that take over troubled mortgages. The homeowners would legally surrender the title in exchange for a similar-valued bundle of shares.

They would remain in their homes, which would lessen the need for expensive and traumatic foreclosures and evictions. They would become members of a not-for-profit organization that is under their democratic control. Each member would have one vote, regardless of how many shares they have bought.

Over time, members would purchase more shares in the cooperative until they have invested enough that they could essentially trade their shares for ownership of their homes. As the crisis passes, these cooperatives will be able to repay the funds to the government. They might also be able to use the same framework to help others buy many of the dwellings that are glutting the market.

This would address the root of the problem in a way that does not rely on ever-greater government intervention.

Andrew McLeod

Sacramento, CA

Oct 3 2008 - 5:07pm

Web Letter

Senator Obama seems to understand, more than most, that the globalists do have a flawed vision of what the world economy should look like. We have traded generations of sweat equity for the pipe dream that if we ship our industries to other countries we can all sit back and watch capital roll in. An industrial job, real labor producing something like a vacuum cleaner or a car usually supports about ten other jobs (teachers, doctors, motel owners, garbage collectors, firemen, police, restaurateurs...). We can spin all the Amway circles we want but unless we manufacture and sell the soap, the whole pyramid falls apart. Ergo, Wall Street and the Nixon, Greenspan, Clinton failures.

And be especially cautious when they say it is complicated. Wall Street simply used the credit cards that Congress gave them to charge trillions to other countries. Now China wants its money back, with interest.

We need to realize that the class war has been waged on the poor and they are now tapped out and dying.

W e started out with a $700,000,000,000 pig, added $100,000,000,000, and now we have a really fat pig. We aren't going to be much better off until we admit that de-industrializing the country and turning it into an investment/information economy doesn't work.

JAMES PINETTE

Caribou, ME

Oct 2 2008 - 1:15pm

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