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We’re mired in Fed, Congress obstacle course

Here is why the federal government has allowed the recession to continue for 17 months: An online article dated March 3 by Jeannine Aversa, Associated Press economics writer, contained both the following comments:

“The Federal Reserve announced Wednesday it will spend up to $300 billion over the next six months to buy long-term government bonds. . . . Fed purchases should boost Treasury prices and drive down their rates.

“In addition, the Fed said a $1 trillion program to jump-start consumer and small business lending could be expanded to include other financial assets.”

Think about it. With the right hand, the Fed reduces the amount of interest the government pays into the economy. With the left hand, the Fed increases the amount of money it sends into the economy.

Two opposite strategies. Clearly, the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing.

The Fed has lowered interest rates dozens of times, all to no avail, but these repeated failures seem not to have proved instructive. The Fed continues to believe low interest rates stimulate the economy, although historically there has been no relationship between low rates and economic growth.

Here’s why: For every borrower, there is a lender. While low rates may help borrowers, they punish lenders to an equal degree.

And who are these lenders? You and I. Every time you open a bank account, invest in a money market account or buy bonds or Treasury bills, you become a lender and low interest rates hurt you.

Further, by lowering rates, the Fed invites the return of inflation. Uncertainty about what the Fed will do next keeps the economy in an unstable condition.

Between Congress’ political posturing and arguing, and the Fed’s mixed strategies, we’ve suffered far too long.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

Wilmette, Ill.

Economy requires platitude adjustment

In the episode “Woody Gets an Election” from the 11th season of the sitcom “Cheers,” simpleton Woody Boyd receives some advice from Frasier Crane.

Frasier suggests that even an awful candidate can receive a meaningful percentage of an election’s votes simply by mouthing empty platitudes, such as “say(ing) the word ‘change’ a lot.”

Embracing the advice, Woody goes on to win the election. This would be even more amusing as regards our empty suit of a president and how he won his recent election, if it wasn’t for the enormous economic harm President Obama’s war on prosperity already is causing.

Mark Kalinowski

New York, N.Y.

Leave Afghanistan; wage war on Wall Street

I was a registered Republican for 41 years, but haven’t voted for a Republican presidential candidate in a general election since Ronald Reagan’s first term.

I usually ended up voting for third-party candidates. Why? Republicans have become the big spending dispensers of corporate welfare and agents of the military-industrial complex.

If any of the third-party candidates I voted for over the years had been elected, this country wouldn’t be in the condition it’s in today and we wouldn’t be running around the world telling everyone else how to live at gunpoint.

This time, in a fit of dual personalities, I supported Ron Paul in the Republican primary and then hunkered down and voted for Barack Obama in the general election. I gave him more money and worked harder for his election than any previous candidate.

Why? He was by far the most intelligent candidate and the one who ran the most ethical campaign. While the news media played up the fact that he’s black, they need to know that Colin Powell could have been our first black president.

Had he been elected, the world would be a safer place and we wouldn’t be killing people in Iraq for no legitimate reason. Nor would we be in the financial mess we’re in.

I have only a couple of suggestions for President Obama: Get us out of Iraq and Afghanistan pronto.

There’s a reason they call Afghanistan, “The place where empires go to die.” Ask the Russians. Anyone who has watched a “B” western knows we’re being lured into a box canyon.

Send a special operations team into Pakistan and drag Osama bin Laden out, dead or alive – but get our troops out now. I’m tired of my tax dollars being spent protecting Afghan drug dealers.

Secondly, stop sending our money without strings attached to save Wall Street and start spending it to help companies who actually produce products and food in this country.

Rick D. Manuel

Grove City, Ohio

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