Markets send call for action | Aug. 9, editorial
On the wrong path for decades
Blaming Standard & Poor's, the Republicans or the tea party for this debacle is like blaming the fire alarm for the fire.
It should be obvious to anyone who isn't blinded by partisan ideology that this country has been going down the wrong path for decades. Our growth rate has been declining and personal income shrinking for an extended period.
It's time to take an honest, nonpartisan, nonideological look at the basic assumptions that appear all across the Times opinion section and ask some hard questions.
Why do we still believe in Keynesian stimulus when it's been a failure, when analyzed honestly, whenever it's been tried?
Why do we think economists can usefully predict the future, or invent grand theories of macroeconomics, when the vagaries of human behavior and the laws of statistics make accurate predictions impossible? And why would any of those economists think that spending on more Chinese consumer junk will help an economic recovery while saving and investing for the future is bad?
Why do we continue to believe that government is a better manager of the money and lives of the people than the people themselves, when government policies are set by politicians and executed by bureaucrats whose primary interests are their own positions, careers, pay and perquisites?
Nations can go down the path to stagnation when they reject introspection, when "compromise" and "opposing views" mean nothing but minor variations on a theme, when all ideas that aren't in the accepted mainstream are dismissed as radical or crazy. I hope that we all, and that includes the editors of the Times and its opinion writers, take this as a wakeup call. We have been doing a lot of things wrong and our national survival and prosperity depends on making some basic changes.
James Klapper, Oldsmar
Credibility, chutzpah and America's debt Aug. 9, commentary
Out of control spending to blame for our crisis
Paul Krugman blames the fiscal problems of our country solely on the conservatives. He completely overlooks the fact that Barack Obama's failed stimulus and out-of-control spending have raised the national debt to nearly $15 trillion.
Businesses and investors have no confidence in this administration and rightfully so. The radical fringe in this country is not the tea party, who are concerned American patriots. It is the clueless, incompetent, extreme-left president and the Democratic Party leading us to failure through big government, big taxes and big spending policies.
Looking at Obama's record in just under three years frightens me to think what damage he could do with another term in office.
Martin Horne, Treasure Island
A solution is out there
We've got a simple solution to putting our debt rating back to AAA. It's call the Simpson-Bowles proposal. Time to put it to use rather than leave it on the back burner.
George Chase, St. Pete Beach
It hurts and amuses me that my Republican U.S. representative and his colleagues, in their push to undermine President Barack Obama, steadfastly refused to increase taxes and held the American economy hostage for an increase in the debt ceiling.
The resulting Standard &Poor's downgrade and the precipitous decline in the stock market over the last two weeks has cost the wealthiest Americans and American corporations trillions of dollars in market value.
If Congress had voted for a clean debt ceiling increase, this debacle would never have happened. If Congress had not extended the Bush tax cuts, this debacle would never have happened. If Congress had increased taxes with a balanced approach for cutting the debt, raising taxes and cutting expenditures, this debacle would never have happened.
Any of these actions, which Republicans steadfastly refused, would have resulted in American jobs, would have increased tax revenue from the newly employed, would have avoided the credit rating downgrade, and would have avoided the increased possibility of a double-dip recession.
The failure of Republicans in Congress to implement a fair tax on America's wealthiest individuals and corporations has cost the American people more than twice what the tax increases would have cost.
Alan Drimmer, Indian Rocks Beach
Clueless at the top
Blame Standard & Poor's for our debt downgrade. No, it's the tea party extremists — and those Republicans who wanted a balanced-budget amendment.
Or we could just admit that we hired a community organizer as CEO and he doesn't have a clue.
Mike Lyons, Apollo Beach
Little guy gets hurt
A barrel of oil dropped below $82 this week. The last time it was that low, gas was $2.55 a gallon, but now it's over $3.50.
Property values are down 50-60 percent in some areas, yet taxes are going up. Insurance is up 40-50 percent in the last six years, and we've had no tropical storms since 2004.
Is anybody out there watching out for us? The shakedown of the average guy continues.
Craig Costa, St. Petersburg
An era of lost children | Aug. 9, commentary
We can't afford it
It is truly regrettable that we have so many poor children in our country. Our problem is not that the states, or the federal government, have spent less. The problem is that they have spent too much.
We have millions of illegal aliens in this country who receive benefits who have never paid one penny into the system. We have generations of families, black and white, who have lived for years off the system without paying one penny into it.
We have an education system that worries more about the teachers then it does about the students.
We simply cannot afford this system any longer. We have approximately 50 percent of the working population that pays for the other 50 percent.
Wayne Parlow, Ridge Manor