Regarding Marlene Nadle's Oct. 27 Opinion piece, "No matter who wins in Brazil, the poor still need to act": Ms. Nadle's support of more populist policies in Brazil includes a prescription for disaster.
If you don't believe that, look across the border to Argentina. A political system driven by a corrupt populism sold off Argentina's natural resources at rock- bottom prices without establishing a solid market economy. Government subsidies created a tenuous middle class that collapsed into poverty as commodity prices fell.
In Brazil, turning away from market reforms won't work, either. Brazil is approaching a position where it can transform from a second- to a first-world economy as its population centralizes and grows more slowly, and as resource development and trade create wealth.
Nadle is correct that land distribution should go forward. But while Brazil's government certainly should negotiate to have its debt trimmed and restructured, simply forgiving the debt isn't going to promote fiscal responsibility among politicians who may begin thinking, "If we got away with this once..."
Attacking corruption, encouraging markets that drive economic growth, and finding ways to redistribute a significant portion of increasing wealth while still allowing for reinvestment is a balancing act that requires fine judgment. President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, now reelected, seems determined to take on that difficult task and should receive credit for it.
Michael J. Duff
Kew Gardens, N.Y.
I read Rosanna Hertz's Oct. 30 Opinion piece, "And baby makes two." Come on, how many of these women opting to be single mothers grew up without dads themselves? Can they say with authority that an "extended male network" is an adequate substitute for a father?
And do I even need to mention the vulnerability kids experience when they are exposed to a series of men from the dating world?
A woman perpetually either walking on air because of a new romantic interest or recovering from the trauma of a relationship gone bad is not in a great frame of mind to care for a child's needs.
There is no substitute for the dignity children live with when they have the advantage of two loving parents.
Children need the selfless concern that a long-term marital partnership makes men and women capable of.
Anna C. Craig
Congratulations on the fine Oct. 27 article, "Imagine this, Scooby-Doo," about a child's response to wisely limited TV exposure.
Fifty-two years ago, my husband and I chose not to have TV in our house – as did a small number of the people in the nation at that time. (I understand the number is even smaller these days.) People with kind intentions offered us TV sets free of charge. Our parents and others thought we were cheating our children of "the good" programs and that we were not quite "with it."
Our children excelled in school, became accomplished musicians, and have grown up leading successful adult lives. In their own homes, they have raised their children with very limited TV viewing and exposure to several fine videos.
The writer and his wife are definitely walking a good path.
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