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Letters to the Editor for December 2, 2008

Monopoly and life

To the Editor:

Did you ever play Monopoly? As a kid I played it all the way to the end. Most people play to the middle stage where all players still have properties and money. Played to the end, there is only one possible outcome.

Eventually one person obtains all of the property and money. Everyone else is bankrupted. This is not the result of the skill or morality of the players, but from the roll of the dice. Likewise, in real life economic dominance comes from being in the right place at the right time or having connections that can open profitable doors.

Once Monopoly reaches the end stage, there are only two ways for the game to continue. Additional imaginary money can be provided to the losing players, call it a sub-prime loan. However, as the game continues all this new money moves into the hands of the winner. The game collapses with massive outstanding debt.

The other option is to implement new rules, call them regulations. If the monopolist were prevented from owning all the property and money, the game could continue indefinitely to the benefit of all. Progressive taxation could affect this balancing transfer.

Monopoly parallels life. An unregulated, free market economy leads to the same result experienced in Monopoly. Eventually, and inexorably, all property and wealth moves into the hands of a few with the majority of people left with nothing. Sound familiar?  

Government always has the choice of implementing regulation and progressive taxation. All it takes is insight and political will.

We can learn a lot from Monopoly. And we certainly live in a teachable moment.

Phil Nichols, Sonora

Legislation from bench

To the Editor:

The passage of Proposition 8 places us no closer to solving the issue of what constitutes the definition of marriage. Worse yet, the Supreme Court is being called upon to impose a ruling on a decision already decided upon by the voters of this state.

Those who opposed Proposition 8 and continue to oppose or speak out against it say that its passage violates one’s constitutional rights and-or is discriminatory. Proposition 8 discriminates against no one. It merely defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, nothing else. The constitutions of California and the United States both guarantee a person’s rights as an individual and protect those rights. They do not guarantee what defines a marriage.

Carrying this issue to the State’s Supreme Court reinforces an already dangerous premise; that of encouraging legislation from the bench, wherein the Court imposes its values, not those of the voters.

Stephen Lampl, Twain Harte

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