The Wall Street cleaner

Regarding your Sept. 15 article "New York's one-man scourge of Wall Street": It would seem to me that Eliot Spitzer is just the kind of person this country needs to restore balance to the capitalist economic system. What white-collar crime has done to harm this country is beyond mere words.

Mr. Spitzer is not just a man for our time; he may well be a man for our future. We need many Eliot Spitzers to keep greed and criminal activity from creeping back into the normal daily business of Wall Street. If our economy is going to thrive, we the people must have faith that the foxes aren't the only ones guarding our nest. Bravo to Spitzer!
Will Kurts
Old Fort, N.C.

Delineating the public-private divide

I couldn't agree more with your editorial cautioning public entities about accepting - if not outright soliciting - private financing of the production of public goods like education ("Selling the Public Square, Sept. 16).

The other side of this issue is the acceptance of public money by private entities. It's called corporate socialism, and it's thriving in America. We should draw a line between public and private sectors, prohibiting the acceptance of private subsidies (and the strings attached) by public institutions, and forbidding, in turn, the provision of subsidies by public institutions to private entities.

But that would never work, would it? I wonder what economists might have to say about the idea.
Jon R. Koppenhoefer
Springfield, Ohio

A massive blow to public services

Regarding the Sept. 8 Opinion "Keep libraries alive, check out a book": I was dismayed as I read about public libraries having to close on Wednesdays or cancel programs for children or cut back on reference staff to keep their doors open. Then, when I hear that Attorney General John Ashcroft now wants to look at my library card checkout records to see what I have been reading to make sure the nation is safe, I am appalled.

Between massive cuts, which have hit so many states and their services to local communities, and the government's desire to poke its nose into my reading preferences, I can only bemoan that our president has made several big mistakes. Our public libraries are supposed to enable the public to become informed citizens who will be better able to vote wisely in a true democracy.

What we could not find in Iraq - weapons of mass destruction - we seem to have created right here at home: mass destruction of public services to our own citizens. Can you just imagine what good $87 billion per year could do here at home for our worn-out national parks, our diminished libraries, our limping schools?

Thank you, Mr. President, for mass destruction right here.
Rachel Crandell
Town and Country, Mo.

Shopping, not earning, causes debt

Regarding your Sept. 17 article "Two incomes, more debt?": I have to disagree with Elizabeth Warren's assertion that the second income is a prime reason for the rampant debt problem facing American families. Where is our sense of personal responsibility? No one is forced to buy a luxury home, own a Hummer, or send their kids to private school. I believe overconsumption and failure to save for the unknown are the prime causes of our national debt problem. I know way too many single men and women who are hopelessly in debt only because they "needed" the newest car, the nice clothes, the luxury apartment, and the hip social life.

You are not what you own.
Chadd Hamilton
Charleston, S.C.

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