Union Democrat staff

American Poverty

To the Editor:

I would like to applaud and emphasize Mr. Liedlich's sentiments expressed in his letter on Dec. 19. It has become quite obvious that for quite sometime now the good ol'USA has been sliding backward vis-a-vis its promotion of the "general welfare," (see the preamble of the U.S. Constitution). How does one reconcile the rhetoric proclaiming this the "greatest nation in the world," with the fact that we are now so low in the world rankings in health care, education, and percentage of incarceration.

I would like to add that the Census Bureau just estimated that approximately half of our population is living below the established poverty line. I have been one of the Occupy participants now, and I agree with Mr. Liedlich. And for my evangelical/conservative Christian friends, who was Jesus, if not a "bleeding heart liberal" in his time?

David A. Fristad


Congress, Wall Street

To the Editor:

Like the mythical beast Hydra with many heads, the troubles we face economically have many faces, but a common body from which they grew. Unemployment, runaway foreclosures, underwater housing values, bankruptcies, civil and social unrest, and more, are traceable to the "beast" of unchecked greed and corruption within our capitalistic system.

We once had better regulations that protected the consumer from misleading or downright dishonest practices. Those safeguards were changed by congressional laws that allowed huge sums of money to be made by those not interested in making an honest dollar if risky financial transactions could be passed off as great investment opportunities instead.

By 2008 it was apparent that the whole economy, without federal intervention, would make the Great Depression pale in comparison.

Both the Bush Administration and the new Obama administration took steps to ward off calamity with taxpayer money to first stabilize the banking and financial giants, followed by stimulus money to try and jump-start the economy.

We are still living with the consequences of what can happen when the fox is allowed to guard the henhouse.

With the passage of the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, sane minds prevailed over financial powerhouses that fought against this law and once again a law was passed with the intent to protect unwitting consumers from suffering the same fate as hundreds of thousands of other Americans.

Our fellow Americans, mostly Republicans, in Congress are trying to kill or dilute the agencies powers and have so far prevailed. Is it any wonder that thousands of frustrated Americans from all walks of life are marching to protest their feelings of being sacrificed by Congress and Wall Street?

Wayne Kirkbride

Twain Harte