To survive, capitalism needs regulation Somehow the debate over the present financial debacle has become confused. The bailout of those who caused the crisis seems to violate the most basic principles of justice.
The problem, however, lies not with the bailout but what necessitated it. When the market is poorly regulated there is no law to restrain greed and no cop on the corner to apprehend the violator.
Some would argue that the government should not shield those who brought about this catastrophe but instead simply allow market forces to exact justice. The problem, of course, is that to allow market forces to prevail would punish not only the mendacious manipulators of monetary funds but also the innocent — those who would lose their jobs, their businesses, their homes.
If the government had been wise enough to reasonably regulate the market, greed could have been restrained and the present crisis averted. Laissez-faire, therefore, is not the solution; it was the problem by allowing a misplaced faith to jeopardize the very thing it cherishes and is supposed to preserve — capitalism itself.
If you love your child, provide some rules. If you love your dog, keep it on a leash.
Paul Lupone, Spring Hill
Homeowners are hit from many directions
I have sat in on many real estate closings and have not heard people say, "Gee I don't think we will be able to afford this home in two or three years." People are generally upbeat and positive about their home purchase, assuming rising incomes will cover the terms of the mortgage.
What they did not anticipate is:
• Energy costs that doubled, along with rising costs for transportation, heating, cooling, water and food. This shock was immeasurable.
• Rising local real estate taxes, and communities spending beyond their means based on rising real estate values.
• Homeowners insurance doubling.
• Payments on adjustable rate mortgages increasing. These were probably factored in at the time of the purchase but did not consider higher costs for energy, insurance and real estate taxes.
• The Community Reinvestment Act pushing companies to lend to less-than-qualified people.
There is a simple formula in lending: character, collateral and capacity. Without the three C's you will have problems.
Most folks could probably handle two or three of the shocks, but not all. Throw in an illness, marital problems or job loss and you have a perfect storm.
Joseph O. Paoletti, Tarpon Springs
In the second half of the 20th century, welfare benefits were paid to the poor. Your right to benefits was based on indigence. In 2008 we have adopted a new standard. Your right to a government dole is now based on incompetence. If you mismanage billions of dollars in assets at your bank or insurance company (AIG), you can get in line for benefits.
The country club elite have replaced the ghetto dwellers as beneficiaries of the welfare state. For some 200 years this country operated on a fundamental capitalistic principal, to wit, if your bottom-line sucked you went out of business.
Not anymore. Apparently the government wants a partnership interest in the companies and banks it bails out. Smells a lot like socialism.
Leonard Pessin, Tampa
Paying for bad decisions
All of us have made bad decisions. The choice of the Wall Street geniuses to package very risky loans into investment instruments is of such profound stupidity, I am amazed there is not still a continuous flow of outraged phone calls to "our" representatives.
This poor decision is akin to the brother-in-law who marries the stripper he met in Miami, has two children with her only to find out, "Hey, she's unstable and a lousy wife." Now he has to pay alimony and child support, but in this case, he asks us to do it.
In the case of the bailout of the financial services industry, we are paying the child support and alimony for their poor choices.
Why are we not getting more control of the financial services industries? Why isn't the Glass-Steagall Act re-enacted and the provisions removed by the Republicans put back?
We and our responsible children will be paying in the future for this greed, and we get no control. Thanks, brother-in-law!
J. Steele Olmstead, Tampa
How did it happen?
For years many reputable economists were warning us of an impending disaster. So we all ask ourselves, "How was this allowed to take place?"
There is only one logical answer that we could conceive. Those who were sitting on top of all the financial institutions and were raking it in to the tune of millions and billions, had more influence on our government than the ordinary citizen. They sold us a bill of goods about the free market, deregulation and keeping the government out of our lives. And we bought it. The mentality of "What's good for General Motors is good for the country" consumed us.
It's time for the average voter to think about this coming election and vote in those who can perhaps serve the best interests of us and the nation.
Jack Levine, Palm Harbor
Rights and responsibilities
While many are blaming others for the problems this country is going through, there is nobody who can do more to fix them than the person staring at you in the mirror. Barack Obama claims the opposite. How come when something good happens to a person it's because they are wonderful, but if something bad happens it's always the fault of someone else, like President Bush.
I will never vote for a Democrat because their general concept is that the government is there to be your mommy and daddy. It never was intended to do what the Democrats claim. Since the '60s, as the government has gotten more and more involved in our day-to-day lives, people have shifted blame away from individuals to more nebulous groups like "society" or the government.
We do need a change in this country but it's exactly the opposite of what Obama proposes. True freedom requires rights linked very closely to responsibilities.
Nicholas J. Boyer, Tampa
Some new voters shut out | Oct. 11, story
I want to make sure I have this right. The 20-year-old art major, Brittany Reynolds, stated that "she is so busy she could barely glance at the letter she got this week (from state election officials stating that she had not yet qualified to vote), let alone fax a photocopy of her driver's license to the Pinellas County election office."
But she had time to be interviewed about it by a reporter. Is this just another example of hypocrisy or just poor time management?
For the record, 24-hour copy centers provide fax services.
Gregory Laskerr, Wesley Chapel