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A second look at Third World USA

September 22, 2008

Re "Who's a basket case now?" Opinion, Sept. 18

Rosa Brooks has ventured beyond hyperbole and into the realm of utter obtuseness, a place inhabited by angry and ill-informed partisans and whence few, if any, solutions ever come to the challenges facing this country.

If this country is headed for Third World status, at least in the realm of erudition and political discourse, Brooks appears to be doing her very best to expedite the process.

John Tkacik

Washington

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I'd like to add that, out of all the turmoil and hardship caused by this economic meltdown, I hope the one benefit America will derive is the final debunking of Reaganomics.

Trickle down, supply side, capitalism unfettered -- whatever you want to call it -- Reaganomics is just another rhetorical stalking horse for what has always been the Republicans' central agenda, making the rich richer and jobbing the rest of us.

Now we're seeing just how well deregulation (or simply not enforcing regulations) and leaving markets to correct themselves works.

All of the lofty economic theories and arguments supporting Reaganomics are nothing more than lipstick on a pig.

Keith Kaczorek

Los Angeles

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Brooks' column is a Rorschach-inspired analysis of perceived causes for America's inevitable decline to Third World status. Psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach invented the inkblot test, an ambiguous stimulus that revealed how individuals' pre-existing attitudes affect their interpretation of external events.

So-called liberals and conservatives will interpret Brooks' analysis differently. Liberals will call for increasing government control over financial markets, whereas conservatives will argue for a laissez-faire approach.

But perhaps Americans can transcend the questionable reliability of Rorschach analysis. Perhaps Americans are sufficiently wise to choose a middle ground, independent of blind fidelity to political extremism.

Christopher W.

Williams

Valencia

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