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Bottom line for workers in U.S.

September 06, 2008

Re "Renewing the contract," Opinion, Sept. 1

I was in college in the early 1960s, the heyday of American liberalism.

One day in economics class, a student asked rather impertinently why we weren't studying Marx's economic theory along with the rest. The professor replied that there was no need to. Marx's theory of working-class impoverishment had been disproved by the rise of organized labor, the Wagner Act and a thriving middle class.

Now, looking over an article like Leo Hindery's with its alarmingly divisive statistics and the social trends they represent, I begin to wonder who was right after all.

Doug Doepke

Claremont

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Hindery writes that the American dream is intimately connected to corporate operations. What a crock. The American dream is about individual freedom and liberty to pursue happiness and autonomy -- not collectivism provided by corporations. Policies in both parties have supported corporate collectivism to the point that what Lincoln called our "political religion" -- the laws that enable us to live free and prosper -- has been shredded.

We need to end the corporate rule of our nation, not beg for a kinder, gentler corporation.

Mary T. Ficalora

Agoura Hills

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Re "Immigrant raid splits Miss. town," Aug. 31

Fabiola Pena's comment gets to the key point of immigrant issues: "I was working 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. I didn't see them working like us."

"We" don't want to work like that. We want to work fair hours for a fair wage. We want to raise families and be there to support them. We don't want a century of labor reforms eroded by extremely hardworking people who will sacrifice a quality of life they may never have known for what are, to them, acceptable wages and conditions.

Their hard work commoditizes labor and allows businesses to break their contract with the middle class, as Hindery wrote on Sept. 1.

Hard work sounds noble, but change the context and it could sound like life in a neo-feudal society.

Anthony Ettaro

Topanga

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