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The Obama endorsement

October 21, 2008

Re "Obama for president," editorial, Oct. 19

I want to congratulate you on your endorsement of Barack Obama. It's encouraging to see your appreciation of his obvious intellect and abilities. We need a coolheaded and inspiring president who can lead this country back to the values on which it was founded. Thank you for standing up for those values.

Jane P. Woodward

Arcata, Calif.

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It is no surprise that The Times endorsed Obama for president. What is surprising is that your endorsement downplays your lack of enthusiasm for Obama's economic proposals.

We may be in the worst economic crisis in the history of our country, yet, as pointed out, his key tax proposal will do little if anything to stimulate the economy. Obama proposes new programs without offering a clue as to how he will pay for them.

Further, one trigger of the economic meltdown was well-intended but reckless zeal on the part of Democrats to provide housing for everyone. With a probable increase in Democrats in both houses of Congress, how can we expect anything other than more risky spending and less ability to have a say in our own destiny?

That Obama's lack of economic expertise can be mitigated by sounding out the "best thinkers and practitioners" provides little comfort. John McCain may be less eloquent, but his intent to promote incentive-based tax cuts to those who can afford to invest in new business and research will lead to real economic recovery.

John Davidson

San Juan Capistrano

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Although I appreciate your endorsement of Obama, I'm puzzled by your concerns about his economic policies.

Your main concern seems to be about Obama's "ideas on taxation," which, you say, "do not stray far from those put forward by Democrats over the last several decades." You say this like it's a bad thing. In fact, the "high tax" policies of at least one Democratic administration over the last several decades have produced considerably greater growth -- and smaller deficits -- than the "low tax" policies of Republican administrations.

This, despite economic theory saying that higher taxes are bad for the economy. In real sciences, theories that predict the opposite of what is observed are rejected. Not so in economics. I think this shows that Obama's apparent lack of mastery of economic theory is a sign that he has mastered it quite well -- and has correctly concluded that history trumps theory.

Richard S. Marken

Los Angeles

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