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A Perfect Model for GOP Failures

August 24, 2004

It's completely appropriate that Amity Shlaes, in the conclusion of her Aug. 23 commentary, "GOP Needn't Fret Over Economic Data," cites the public's fascination with Donald Trump's "The Apprentice" as validation for the GOP's economic policies.

Trump's casino businesses are now going into bankruptcy for the second time, and yet, through slick marketing, Trump is managing to appeal to the American public as an icon of capitalist success. It is a perfect metaphor for the hollowness, dishonesty and bankruptcy of the GOP policies that are in reality leaving more and more of us out in the cold.

It isn't the toughness of the competition that bothers us, but the type of rigging that can make a double-bankrupt who once made it into the brotherhood a big success while poor people trying to work their way up just have it harder and harder.

Anne Willard

Bethel, N.Y.

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Shlaes argues that a more even income distribution across society, as found in Western European countries, leads to slow growth and the government going "broke." Yet what is the United States, with a deficit approaching $500 billion, anything if not broke? At least in Western European countries, the citizens have excellent social services and universal health coverage to show for their deficits.

The fact of the matter is that Bush economic policies have been an utter disaster for the average American. The measly tax cuts most Americans received have been significantly outweighed by lower wages, higher healthcare costs, higher education costs and fewer social services. Taking into account population growth, there are fewer jobs today than there were four years ago.

Before voting, the question every American should ask is: Am I better off than I was four years ago?

Arman Afagh

Riverside

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