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'Them' and 'us' and Mr. Jefferson

August 15, 2009

Re "Them versus us," Opinion, Aug. 9

Joseph J. Ellis is right on target. While distrust of government made some sense in the 19th century, it now acts in a deleterious manner. Government of the people, by the people and for the people has been supplanted by a corporatocracy that buys and sells most politicians.

The so-called free-market system has determined that it is not profitable to insure nearly 50 million Americans or give basic protection to an additional 25 million underinsured citizens. Hence, you produce a senator from Montana, Democrat Max Baucus, who is bought and paid for by the major insurance companies. To this senator, representative democracy is defined in that way.

The American people are not blameless in this. They should be screaming from the rooftops for public financing of all political campaigns. Trust in your government can be better ensured if your political leaders truly represent the people.

Robert Teigan

Santa Susana

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While I agree with Ellis' conclusions on the need for government intervention in our society, he misinterprets the Hamilton-Jefferson disagreement.

Yes, Thomas Jefferson was against a strong national government, but he defended states' rights and state government. Jefferson was also against a national bank. Also, he believed that the intellectual elite lived in rural and agrarian America at that time.

Alexander Hamilton wanted a strong national government to promote the mercantilists in the cities and intervene on their behalf, not to regulate them. Today, as fate would have it, we have an exact turnaround from the 18th century: a populist movement born in a great cross section of America that is begging for government intervention, while the business/monied class shuns government intervention.

Let's not place Jefferson in the anti-government, Bible Belt pocket.

Chet Chebegia

Long Beach

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In a short article, Ellis describes with laser-like accuracy the most fundamental question Americans must answer. "They" need to be "us" if this country is ever to efficiently and effectively address issues now and in the future.

This should be required reading for all Americans.

David E. Wohlmuth

Manhattan Beach

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