Greedy businesses, not government, to blame for the mess we’re in
Don Cazer’s July 16 letter blaming government for the recession and collapse of the banks has no basis in historical fact.
Was it the government that lobbied itself to eliminate longstanding checks and balances like the Glass-Steagall Act, a sensible regulation that had been in place since The Great Depression?
From 1797 to 1933, we had pretty much unregulated capitalism in this country. There was no social safety net. About every 15 years, we would have a major banking collapse.
We called them panics or runs. Most people were too poor to be able to educate their kids; there was no middle class, little upward mobility. People worked all their lives with little hope of retirement. It was a Republican paradise. The greed and speculation of this unregulated utopia led to the Great Depression, a worldwide collapse that culminated in the rise of fascism and World War II.
After that, sensible banking regulations were enacted, and for 50 years we had no bank failures. During that time, we built one of the biggest middle-class economies the world has ever known. People could afford homes, education for their kids; upward mobility was possible.
Starting in the 1980s, President Reagan began to deregulate everything. We pulled all government support from health care, creating the most wasteful, expensive health care system in the world; so much for market efficiency.
The first warning was the savings and loan scandal in the 1980s; the second was the collapse of Enron.
Without regulations, banks could sell their mortgages. They had no responsibility to collect their debts, having made their money up front. Wall Street became a casino; the point is, it was not the government that created the recession. It was deregulation and the self-destructive greed of the market.
The American economy became the world’s largest, because sensible, enforceable regulations kept the greed of the markets in check long enough to foster the development of a middle class that had the money to buy things and improve their lives.
We don’t need less government, we need better government; government freed of K Street [lobbyists], where sensible laws and tax codes have a chance. Why should capital gains be taxed at a lower rate than wages? Why should how you make money determine your tax rate? Why should large international corporations making billions under the security umbrella provided by the State Department and military not pay income taxes on their profits?
These are the questions we have to ask ourselves as a nation. When we lose the basic values of life, like respect for work, fair laws and taxation that give everyone a chance to succeed, what kind of country are we becoming? Just looking at the excesses of executive salaries or the trillions in profits sitting off-shore and you’d know something is wrong. Business greed has done this — not government.
Sic NSA on those pain-in-the-neck robo-callers
So the NSA has been tracking who I call and who calls me? There surely must be enough data to track and stop the illegal robo-calls and telemarketers plaguing my landline.
Clayton, New York, calls nearly once a day promoting fracking. Credit card Suzie calls nearly as often; “I’m calling about your credit card. . . ”. Do not call lists don’t work anymore.
Turn the pertinent information over to law enforcement (is there any in this area?) and let them do some real public good with this publicly paid-for information.
Each robo-caller or telemarketer must stand out like a lighthouse in the sea of data — it shouldn’t take any exotic NSA algorithms to identify them.
Let’s put these bums out of business so we can all eat our dinners in peace.
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