Obama must invest in national public infrastructure
In regard to the Dec. 9 Opinion piece, "The dangers of Obama's public-works juggernaut": Author Paul Navarro neglects to consider one important factor in his analysis of Barack Obama's plan to alleviate the economic downturn. Mr. Navarro suggests that there are only three ways to finance Mr. Obama's planned investment in our infrastructure: printing money, selling bonds, or raising taxes. But what Navarro failed to consider is the option Obama himself has indicated he would take: shifting of government spending.
The federal government has a budget that includes massive waste and pork-barrel projects. Elimination of this waste was suggested by Obama, and he implied that cutting this spending would finance these improvements. Additional spending was forecast by analysts, not Obama or his yet-to-convene economic staff.
I find it fascinating that Obama's presidency is being judged before it even has a chance to exist. Are Americans being overly vigilant to make up for their lack of vigilance during the Bush administration's early years, when the disasters that have befallen this nation were under construction? Or are these attacks on the coming Obama presidency the result of backlash from the far right, bent on trying to erase the fact that they helped create today's disastrous conditions? Either way, let's give Obama a chance to make decisions before calling them failures.
Let's not ignore the legacy that Depression-era public-works projects left us: the Golden Gate Bridge (1937), the Hoover Dam (1935), the Triborough Bridge (1936), and the Lincoln Tunnel (1937), as well as smaller projects, like the numerous beautiful courthouses in county seats around the nation. Why don't we leave our descendents something of similar enduring value?
This opinion piece reflects the views of the people, institutions, and ideology that brought us this current economic catastrophe. Why continue down the same ill- advised path? The golden goose has been roasted and the fork has been stuck in. Apparently, some economists have failed to notice.
Market should not be entirely free
In regard to the Dec. 10 article, "A government-run auto industry?": If the economic carnage we see around us is the result of free-market capitalism, then maybe we need a little more socialism. When an industry bankrupts itself and comes to the people for a bailout, why would the people give it money without some ownership stake to ensure such mistakes aren't repeated?
In my opinion, if a company is "too big to fail" – in other words, its failure threatens our very security – then it is too big to be left in private hands. Private industries cater to private interests and our national security should never be left so vulnerable.
Congress should appoint an overseer for each of the auto companies. The overseers must have the authority to delete any management or worker positions, as well as to set wages and salaries for workers and management. These powers will allow an overseer to streamline operations, alter the business model, and pay according to market. Anything else is more of the same.
Santa Monica, Calif.
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