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The real deal on the New Deal

October 08, 2008

Re "Time for an FDR moment," Opinion, Oct. 2

Rosa Brooks' nostalgia for Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal is misplaced. The New Deal did nothing to lessen the severity of the Depression. The Depression did not improve until World War II.

My suggestions as to how to handle the current financial crisis: Get the federal government out of the housing markets altogether and spin Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac off to the private sector; repeal the Community Reinvestment Act, which may have encouraged lending institutions to make questionable loans to risky borrowers; deprive organizations such as ACORN of access to taxpayer dollars; and last but most important, get the federal government's house in order and dramatically cut unnecessary spending on pork-barrel projects, earmarks, boondoggles and discretionary spending.

Asking to reform entitlement programs is probably a little much in the current political environment, but it needs to be addressed. Congress and the federal government must balance the budget. That would do far more to restore confidence in our markets than any bailout proposal. We need less government, not more.

Geoffrey C. Church

Los Angeles

Brooks' column was good, but it missed the most important point. Roosevelt, in his Works Progress Administration, took men off the bread lines and put them to work. He restored a sense of dignity and gave them a small amount of government money for food for their family. This little bit of money paid the grocer, who paid his distributor, who paid his creditors, who paid theirs and so forth. The infusion of money into circulation was known as "priming the pump."

Roosevelt gave the working men, through the National Labor Relations Act of 1935, the unhindered ability to bargain for better wages and hours. I know. I was the daughter of a working man whose factory working hours were cut from 52 to 40 hours a week, which meant we children had our father home two days a week -- a family-strengthening move.

Maybe $700 billion will do some good. But it won't have a lasting effect if the little guy flounders.

June Ortegren


Palm Desert

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