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Your Views: Bailout plan is taken over by pork projects
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Both presidential candidates talk about the need to change how business is done in Washington. I hope that one of the changes they plan to make is to the system that allows pork-barrel projects, now called earmarks, that requires all taxpayers to pay for something that should be paid for by local taxes. As one of the candidates said, "If we want a bridge, we'll build it ourselves." This is absolutely the way it should be.

During the past few days, we have seen a big push to create a mechanism whereby the federal government could buy up scads of bad mortgages in order to stimulate our banking system to loan money to the engines of our economy. This started out as a simple one-page resolution and almost immediately blossomed into a document containing hundreds of pages because of amendments adding pork-barrel projects that have absolutely nothing to do with allowing the federal government to buy bad mortgages. They were added to get specific representatives' votes for the bailout or to slip them through when no one else was looking.

In the future, let's insist that votes in the House contain only one proposition that can be voted upon either yes or no. Amendments should be allowed only if they provide clarity as to what is being voted upon. An amendment to provide funds for a community action organization has no business at all being included on a vote to allow the government to buy bad mortgages.

Some will say that the House members don't have enough time to vote on all these separate bills. I would argue that the number of pork projects being submitted will go way down when each one has to stand on its own merit.

Jim Waldrep

Help my IRA rebound
In view of the depleted state of my IRA (down 50 percent this year, not due to withdrawals), do you think the federal government could waive the required Minimum Required Distribution for 2008?

It won't save much in taxes for me, but it will at least give my retirement account that took 20 years to build, a chance to recover.

Bruce W. Hallowell

Government gives out goodies to earn votes
Whatever happened to personal responsibility? Everyone wants something for nothing. Bailouts, health care, handouts, entitlements, the list goes on.

This election is quickly becoming a question of "who is going to give us what." Democrats promise us everything. They are the Robin Hoods of politics. They give, give, give and want someone else to pay for it. Republicans play to our logical side, then they let us down by spending like the Democrats.

Do we really think that the government will handle health care any better than it has Social Security? How many people do you know that have ever been turned away from the hospital when they were sick? (Someone that you actually know, not a story about someone your friend knows.) It doesn't happen.

This economy is in the shape it is because it is a world economy. Europe and Asia are doing worse than we are, so let's not try to model our economy after theirs. The United States sends a huge amount of our money overseas every time we gas up our cars. Cut the red tape so that oil resources can be realized within our borders and we will reap the benefits in months not years as many politicians are leading us to believe.

Hold our politicians accountable! If don't start acting in our best interest, then we vote them out. Show them that our vote is more powerful than any lobbyist money.

Tom Lee

That ‘deal' on a house paid for by you and me
Want to buy a house that is advertised as a "foreclosure"? Forget it.

This is how it seems to work. First, Fannie Mae offers the house to the public on the courthouse steps for its apparent value of $110,000. There are no takers. The property is then handed over to those who will offer it for sale to the general public for, let's say $68,400.

That's a good deal. It is a pretty little house with three bedrooms, fireplace, an open kitchen, and a fence in the backyard for the dogs. Can you make a bid to buy it? Forget it. It is already "under contract."

Wonder what the sales price was? Can't tell you. That's a secret, but you can bet it is way less than the suggested sales price.

Who pays the difference between the actual value of the house and the actual selling price? You do; the taxpayer. Congress just passed the bill authorizing the bailout.

John M. Monson

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