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How to cure the economy

Letter to the Editor | Friday, October 10, 2008

We are writing in response to Christie Pesavento’s Viewpoint article (“Who’s to Blame?”) on Oct. 7.

In the article, Pesavento cited movements by the U.S. government since 1977 that led to the credit crisis and the subsequent recent failures of several large financial institutions. Pesavento wrote that while members of Congress are busy placing blame on each other, it is really the unintended consequences of Congress-enacted policies that are to blame.

While we agree that government interference with the free market caused the current economic crashes, we believe that the ultimate blame is on us, the voters. We are responsible for hiring and firing our government leaders. In Tuesday’s Mock election 93.7 percent of the votes implied that there was a difference between Senators Obama and McCain. The most recent debate painted a different picture.

The first question in the debate addressed the topic in Pesavento’s article, mainly how would the candidates help Americans stay in their homes. Senator Obama’s response was that the Bush administration stripped away regulations and allowed the market to run wild. This is a nonsensical statement considering that the two major troubled financial institutions are government sponsored enterprises, the Community Reinvestment Act remained in place during the Bush administration, and the Federal Reserve managed the interest rates during the housing bubble. It’s hardly valid to say that the market was free to run wild since the housing bubble was inflated and managed by the federal government.

Senator McCain’s response wasn’t any more defensible. Instead of defending the band-aid solution bailout that he and Senator Obama supported, he pretended that foreign oil is the problem. The leader of the “conservative” party continued by saying that he’d order the treasury department to buy up bad loans. In other words, the same socialization of mortgages that senator Obama supports is the same course of action that the supposed fiscal conservative supports.

The views of the candidates are nearly indistinguishable. Neither are offering economic freedom. Neither will say that home ownership failures are a result of mortgage fraud committed by individuals, “main-street” appraisers, and local mortgage companies or by government interference, a poor monetary policy and loose lending practices. Instead, these candidates are reprimanding bad business practices with their right hand while handing them a $700 billion check with the left. Government accountability and individual responsibility be damned; these candidates will maintain the façade that their party is infallible and that no citizen is responsible for his or her failures.

As George Bernard Shaw said, “Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.” This is the travesty and irresponsibility of the American voter. Those students that composed 93.7 percent of the votes (52.6 percent for Obama, 41.1 percent for McCain) are voting men into office that will continue shifting blame to other parties, to other organizations.

The oft-used excuse of voting for the lesser of two evils does not apply here. Candidates who do not offer economic freedom, a humble foreign policy or a sound monetary policy are not lesser evils. If we do not want to continue to pay for failed government legislation, we must abandon our current voting tendencies. The one party system that this country has adopted has failed.

Please join us in trying to enact true change by voting for candidates who support liberty and the free market. America cannot fully enjoy the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution, or a robust economy, if our individual liberty continues to be eroded.

Eric Smith

Rachel Getman

Jeremiah White

grad students


Oct. 9