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Web Letters | The Nation

Web Letter

In this continuing saga that in so many ways amounts to the the rape of the nation, nothing is more egregious than the fact of Goldman Sachs distributing $10 billion in bonuses after we gave them the ten billion to "save" the system. Not with my money you don't!

will watman

Portland , ME

Dec 19 2008 - 10:02pm

Web Letter

We should use the recurring money that is already in the budget in a way which stimulates the economy at home.

For years we have been inculcated with "close the bases at home" while we spend our military budget maintaining basis in the distant corners of the world. This money is a definite stimulus for foreign economies. Why not spend it at home? Yes, there are strategic relations and geographic areas, but it is time to rethink them all and strengthen our military at home.

We have spent about $12 trillion on defense since Reagan and we sent many our soldiers to war with equipment from the Vietnam War. Additionally, we should audit this budget and have transparency on where it is spent. OMB said that it used to audit at least the salaries of the defense budget, but in the run-up to the war a spokesperson said that we had even gotten away from that audit.

Let us remember that during the natural disasters that we have had recently we have had a shortage of US military at home to aid and protect the nation. Recently another spokesperson said that there was only one battalion of US soldiers at home. This does not seem logical while we are fighting terrorism. We want the protection of soldiers loyal to this country and not paid mercenaries serving private interests.

The military is a good place for job training and has launched many careers and should buy from American manufacturers.

Additionally, tax breaks for less than 1 percent of the wealthiest Americans should stop now, because we have had this stimulus for eight years and it does not work as a stimulus. We have transferred almost $2 trillion to a handful of people and have a horrible economy. We should re-deploy the money to the programs that would help raise the living standards of the growing number of poor.

William J. Hague

Hoboken, NJ

Dec 16 2008 - 3:48pm

Web Letter

I'm watching the president-elect's press conference announcing Arne Duncan's nomination to secretary of education. Mr. President-elect is still tip toeing around the fact that we have deindustrialized the country. Arne Duncan sounds a lot like same old, same old. "Test the bejesus out of kids," and make sure that we increase scores. Two problems with high expectancies. Education that isn't seamless grade-to-grade presents kids with lack of a sense of a future for themselves. To a student that knows that he or she has no chance of college and has to drop out to make survival money, high expectancies makes little sense. The other large problem we have in education is that we don't have a clue what kids will require for survival skills in the century. The Bill Gates Foundation has a good theory for schools, and having visited schools from coast to coast I know that Gates's theories work. He funds alternative schools that limit class size to fifteen and no school will be larger than 500 students. Each student will be known by every teacher. Testing is OK, but the tendency is to use tests for all kinds of mental brutality--on teachers as well as students.

JAMES PINETTE

Caribou, ME

Dec 16 2008 - 12:28pm

Web Letter

Save millions of jobs... now! Medicare for All.

Infrastructure spending will take time to implement. The money will not get flowing for many months. Sure, it will be allocated, but not spent into the economy for at least six months, and the bulk of it will take longer than a year.

Infrastructure spending is worthwhile, necessary and stimulative, but it will not appreciably help an economy that is in a free fall, with jobs being lost at an accelerating rate in the hundreds of thousands. By the time Obama's infrastructure stimulus reaches the economy, it will already be a basket case.

What we need now are job-saving ideas. It is far easier, quicker and cheaper to save a job than to create one. We need "Medicare for All." This saves jobs right away, especially in the public sector in states and local governments.

This re-capitalizes business, especially manufacturing, but also any business currently employing many people. Strings could be attached such as a no layoff rule whereby companies would run thirty-two hour workweeks paying for forty and supplemented by paid health insurance. States would be mandated to take any extra money and use it for unemployment benefits and/or pension fund replenishment.

Medicare for All would also make our businesses more competitive at home and abroad. All the other G7 nations have government-sponsored health insurance giving their businesses a subsidy.

We need to save as many jobs as possible as soon as possible. We need Medicare for All ASAP. Obama has the momentum, the people on the ground and the moral authority to get this done. Will he be a manager or a leader?

Michael McKinlay

Hercules, CA

Dec 12 2008 - 3:59am

Web Letter

Certainly a good deal of money will be spent on the stimulus package, but this is not an ill-considered action that wastes money. The purpose of this program is job creation. Consumers represent 60 to 70 percent of the economy. Ordinary workers are the consumers on which the economy depends. They must have a living wage and the disposable income to support the American market. They can buy no houses, pay no mortgages, purchase no cars without a disposable income. Wage slavery will only destroy the American market, and the world market too. China, for example, has potentially the greatest market in the world. But it must concentrate on internal development and raise the standard of living of its own people With a well-paid work force that has a disposable income, the Chinese economy will take off like a rocket. They already have some tariffs in place, and the Chinese have the habit of saving. Americans use to have tariffs and the habit of saving, but low interest rates, combined with lower wages, discouraged savings and made them dependent on credit for their basic needs. It also encouraged speculation on the housing market and Wall Street. Without savings there was no money for banks to business or individual loans. Home loans became a pyramid scam. Without job creation, there will be no American market or Wall Street!

Pervis James Casey

Riverside, CA

Dec 11 2008 - 4:28pm

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