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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

See ya, Susan

OK, fine. On your way, could you pick up Alec Baldwin, who was supposed to move to France if George Bush were elected?

SUSAN SARANDON, who appeared in three films last year and won kudos for her TV movie "Bernard and Doris," is still not a contented soul. She says if John McCain gets elected, she will move to Italy or Canada. She adds, "It's a critical time, but I have faith in the American people."

As a matter of fact, why don't you leave now, just in case?

I have problems with all three remaining candidates (no, she still hasn't quit), but considering the dunderheads this nation has have survived, I think I'll stick it out here no matter which new dunderdead we get.


Steve T.
Fri, 05/30/2008 - 5:01pm

Funny -- I have faith in the American people too, and I think that guarantees she'll be needing to keep her and her husband Tim's passports valid at least through early '09...

Fri, 05/30/2008 - 7:36pm

Leo's last sentance is a big part of the problem that we have in America today. I think a general belief exists that no matter what, America will always be great. I lived inside the city of Detroit before I moved to Fort Wayne in 1996. That same thinking was commonplace in Detroit back in the 1940's and 50's. Today Detroit is a wasteland. I fear that America is today where Detroit was in the mid-50's. We see the destruction coming but we don't want to face it.

Bob G.
Sun, 06/01/2008 - 1:35pm

You're definitely on to something...and I agree. It is happening in most major cities throughout the USA.

But I hope the future proves us both wrong (in that regard).
I'd like to believe we, as a nation can come out on top of this, and reverse the trend of "wasteland creation".



Harl Delos
Sun, 06/01/2008 - 6:32pm


Sun, 06/01/2008 - 10:47pm

Leo's last sentance conveyed a certainty that the nation will be Ok no matter who is president. That was the part that concerned me. As for what action need to be taken, well, that would take me about 30 or 40 hours to just get started. However a return to the Gold Standard and abolishing the Federal Reserve would be great starts. This would force our government to live with in it's means. If this sounds "far-out" and strange to you it is only because you don't know how our monetary system truly works and how that affects the broader society.

Harl Delos
Mon, 06/02/2008 - 2:25am

Returning to the Gold Standard and abolishing the Federal Reserve are not necessary to force our government to live within its means, and they aren't particularly desirable.

You're unaware that the Federal Reserve System is responsible for clearing checks and doing electronic funds transfers? If they stopped doing that, you'd only be able to write a check at a business if that business had an account at your bank as well. Bank-by-mail works fine for deposits, but if you work in an auto plant in Alabama, are you going to drive to National Bank of Detroit once a week to cash your paycheck?

Your proposal of returning to the Gold Standard would, indeed, limit the amount of currency, but it wouldn't limit the amount of money. When you write a check, you're doing exactly what the Federal Reserve does - you're creating money. Your money only lasts until the check wends its way back to your bank account, but there are a lot of checks floating about at any given time. Car loans are money. Mortgages are money. Coupons good for 35c off Post Toasties are money.

Currency is the "oil" that lubricates the engines of commerce. When there is a shortage of currency, everything grinds to a halt.

It makes sense for government to live within its means, but when you buy a house, you borrow most of the money. Very few people ever burn their mortgages; they typically move first, and while the sale of the house extinguishes the first mortgage, they usually buy another house, with an even bigger mortgage, and they keep paying on mortgages until they retire.

If you use a mortgage to build a house, what's wrong with government using a mortgage to build a courthouse? If you finance your new car, what's wrong with the government financing their new aircraft carrier?

Well, it's expensive, for one thing. Back in the late 1950s, a school district in NW Ohio was the first in the state, possibly in the nation, to establish a "pay as you go" millage which allowed them to add classrooms, a few every year, without issuing bonds. Typically, you pay for your house three or four times, once to the builder, and two or three times as much to the bankers, for interest. That particular millage was very popular, and they rarely had any trouble getting voters to renew it. But when that school district decided to tear down a century-old building and erect a new high school, they couldn't do that on a pay-as-you-go basis; it was just too much money. So they issued bonds to pay for it.

How much is Yellowstone National Park worth? How much is Cape Canaveral worth? What about the Pentagon? How much is the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service office in Decatur worth? What about I-69? The national debt is staggering, but what the federal government owes is a small fraction of what it owns.

There's an old joke about a pollster asking "What do you think Congress should do about the Smith-Johnson bill?" and the housewife says, "If we owe it, we should pay it." Up until the "Contract with America", the GOP generally said that we should pay our bills, while the Democrats said that running a deficit stimulated the economy. The GOP generally lost that battle, because it was popular when the Democrats gave ponies and circuses to their constituents, and telling little children that they can't have ice cream isn't going to win you any hugs.

At that point, the GOP strategy was changed, to limit taxes and not worry about spending. Inflation, after all, was a form of tax. So with the GOP controlling both houses of Congress, Dubya was able to put the Iraq "war" on a credit card.

When the Democrats are the ones trying to put the brakes on spending, the country is in serious trouble, fiscally.

Just like a business in trouble, the government needs to pare down operations to its core operations, and pay down debt. The US Post Office has been operating as a corporation for some years, and it has a number of profitable competitors. Let's go through an initial public offering, and sell it. The weather bureau has a number of profitable competitors. Let's sell it. There are a number of National Parks which could be highly profitable if they were managed properly. Let's sell them. We have lots and lots of federal offices here and there. Most businesses recognize that branch offices have changing needs; they lease the space they need, so they can move. Let's sell most of our federal offices and lease space.

If this sounds "far-out" and strange to you, it is only because you don't know how our government truly works and how that affects the broader society.