Re "They aren't like the rest of us," Opinion, March 22
That rich people should act in their own self-interest is not surprising. What is unfortunate for our democracy is their extreme degree of political influence. Political leaders are put into office to represent us all.
The average voter hasn't the time to brood over many of the finer political issues. We are looking for work, trying to get through school, dealing with family health issues or simply keeping creditors at bay. The rich have more options to mitigate these stresses.
The super wealthy's blood sport of choice is politics. For the rest of us, it is life.
James H. Benson
The ultra-rich have never cared about deficits in the way they would have us believe. Vice President Dick Cheney famously said in 2002, "Reagan proved that deficits don't matter," meaning they don't matter politically. Ronald Reagan could, and did, convince enough people that everything was fine despite his tripling of the national debt.
They saw then what we now see: the deficit as the best tool to eliminate America's social safety net. They cry, "We can't afford it, the debt is too high, so entitlements must be cut." An entitlement is what you've earned — your salary, your contracted old-age pension or interest on money you've lent. The debt is the arrow, the safety net the target.
If America welcomes the new form of feudalism the ultra-rich appear to desire, what will it look like and who, besides them, will want to live here?
The authors fail to note the historical value of a balanced checkbook. Many families of wealth have always preserved that ethic.
Is it possible to see their contribution to public policy from that basis?
The wealthy may be able to see what is important for all of us when those in the 99% are preoccupied with other essentials. Being close to both sides (the 1% and the 99%), I know that the latter will be very grateful in the future that these issues persisted in public policy.
Maureen K. Halikis
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