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Your Views: Like Pharaoh, our government seeks to control harvest
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Perhaps among the multitudes in this nominally Judeo-Christian nation, some still recall the 47th chapter of Genesis. The account of this secular event holds profound implications for our present circumstances.

Pharaoh’s dream (fat cows, lean cows) came true (as Joseph had correctly interpreted), and the famine came. The previously stored grain was sold to the fainting Egyptians. Their money was depleted and the people traded their cattle for food. They did so preferring economic loss to starvation. They purchased food enough for one year. Who could blame them?

But the famine continued. Then they sold their land and finally themselves and their own children into servitude. Pharaoh had some seed to sell as well, so he demanded and got a 20 percent tax on the harvest. That Pharaoh did well, for himself at least, with the prosperity-through-taxation business model.

Amidst our present spiritual famine (and like most famines it is of our own making), our money has begun to fail. What shall we sell to the new Pharaoh?

What is the difference between bailing out a company, taking over whole segments of an economy in exchange for control, and selling bread to a starving, dependent populace? Although our federal government has promised that their adventure into acquiring the private sector with printed script is temporary, the journey is uncharted and the destination far from certain.

Like the hungry Egyptians, we heaved a sigh of collective relief when the specter of economic collapse was apparently turned from our national door. If the economy improves quickly and business grows new legs, some contend that the prospect of federal retreat becomes more likely.

But if months of economic pain drag into years, taxes continue to suppress economic recovery, no spark has ignited the optimism necessary to prompt rational business risk-taking, more banks and business submerge beneath their debts, federal controllers will grow ever more comfortable with their role as the new overseers.

The juiciest of all takeover plumbs would be federal control of the insurance industry and its vast cash flow. If the federal apparatus (which is operated by men of enormous ambition) will not relinquish hold on the banking and automotives, we will metamorphose into the 1936 German model that resulted in a forced but later cozy 10-year partnership between the National Socialist German Worker’s Party and business people who wanted to keep their jobs.

What pyramids are waiting to be built with our unwilling, manacled hands?

Michael J. Riemann

Health care only is one issue worrying Americans
The article in Sunday’s Times by McClatchy-Tribune News Service’s Steven Thomma ("Anger within U.S. isn’t just about health care," page 3A) is right on. This country is in a financial mess because of irresponsible do-gooders in Washington.

Everyone should own a home, no matter that they cannot afford one? I know they meant well. But we elect them thinking they have common sense. They all want to do something for their constituency, no matter how it hurts millions of others.

Bush was no conservative; he was bad enough. Then along comes Barack Obama with his "change we can believe in" and he goes nuts with these bailouts. Then he and his peers want to push this health care program down our throats.

Medicare is out of money, Social Security is out of money. All government programs are out of money. But he’s going to get the trillions of dollars from somewhere.

I don’t know enough about the health care bill to be for it or against it. And no one else seems to know. The only change I can believe in is when I change my 2-year-old grandson’s diaper.

Neil Boykin

Smokers are more of a nuisance than any pets
The story about a woman who sued Northeast Georgia Medical Center because she fell while looking for a place to smoke illegally casts an interesting light on the recent debate on your Opinion page regarding the relative damage done to rental property by kids and pets.

While I come down on the side of the pet owners (animals don’t routinely scribble on or put holes in walls or play with matches), smokers are truly a different animal. Their odor permeates everything in the dwelling, their butts are all over the lawn and they’re likely to leave holes anywhere from counter tops to carpets.

What’s more, there’s always the danger that they’ll burn the place down. And when they’re late with the rent, they somehow always manage to find the money for a couple of packs a day, even at today’s higher-than-ever prices.

The slip-and-fall smoker was asking $4 million in damages. The jury awarded her close to $7,000. She didn’t deserve a dime since she was injured in the process of attempting to commit a crime.

Michelle Crawford