Letters to the Editor
Readers write about solving the financial crisis, and the definitions necessary for determining moral absolutes.
Solving the financial crisis with credit cards
Regarding the Sept. 30 Opinion piece,"The real solution to the financial crisis: recession": Yves Smith is probably correct in her assessment of the current situation. We have been told throughout this crisis that our financial problems are perhaps too complex for the American people to understand. I think we understand it full well. But to simplify it, I often use an analogy with my clients. I remind them of the commercial where we see a man discussing his life – his home, cars, etc. – and then finally saying, "I'm in debt up to my eyeballs."
When a family finds itself in such a predicament, they have an unpleasant choice to make. They either have to restructure and possibly liquidate some of their assets; or, as is often the case, prolong the inevitable by getting another credit card in order to keep up the cash flow.
Right now, our government is, in effect, applying for another credit card, on the false belief that we can borrow our way out of debt.
We need to demand that our government restructures our monetary system in such a way that ensures sound fiscal policy.
Mike Wickerham, CFP
This past week, with all the hurry, worry, and scurry to expedite an economic bailout, reminds me of the story of Chicken Little. He claimed that the sky was falling, only to stir everyone into hysterical frenzy.
I'm not implying that the sky isn't falling, but do we want to "juice the economy with monetary steroids for more than a decade," as Yves Smith states? The side effects may not be worth it.
Bailout or investment?
Well, if that is the case, let's not use tax money for it. "Investments" should pay some type of dividend. So, let's sell a special US savings bond or similar instrument that provides money for the bailout, pays a dividend in a certain number of years, and defers the taxes on the investment into the bond until it is cashed out.
If the government will not do this, then I would suspect it of lying when it says this is an "investment," and it really is a bailout.
Moral certainty requires agreement
In response to the Sept. 26 Opinion piece, "Lincoln's lessons for today's culture wars": Allen C. Guelzo's argument is based on a false premise. The reason Lincoln was able to take a position of moral certainty on the issue of slavery was because there was complete agreement on the definition of slavery.
In contrast, it is unreasonable to take a similar firm moral position on, say, pornography, simply because there are nearly as many different definitions of pornography as there are people.
Or in the case of recognizing gay marriage; does doing so mean the state is officially sanctioning homosexuality? Or does it mean that the state is merely establishing equality under the law? The answer is a matter of personal opinion.
In a democracy, where there is no agreement on definition, Thomas Jefferson's position – "it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God" – is exactly correct.
Enforcing a moral opinion on others through legislation is tyranny.
Wayne A. Spitzer
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