Like many Americans, I am confused about the different approaches the Treasury Department and Congress have shown toward the large banks and investment companies compared with the automobile industry. Both groups have proved less than truthful, and both are causing the collapse of our economy; yet it appears that only the auto industry - except for Lehman Brothers - will pay an economic price.
Could it be that the union workers who could be hurt by the failure of the auto industry don't have the same clout as those hurt by the failures of the so-called "Masters of the Universe"? I don't know the answer, but, as usual, the middle class will suffer, and our children and grandchildren will be paying the bills.
In considering a bailout for automakers, Sen. Arlen Specter should ask what plants, if any, they plan to close ("Specter, auto officials confer," Wednesday). If they want to close U.S. plants and put Americans out of work, maybe they should be asking the Mexican and Canadian governments for help.
As the Bush administration nears its end, there are those who say, "At least President Bush kept us safe." I would counter by saying that 9/11 happened on Bush's watch, and that credible evidence exists that he ignored reports that such an attack was at least being considered by Osama bin Laden. Does the pitcher who gives up 20 runs in the first inning, then nothing for the final eight, get credit for a shutout? If we are attacked again during the Barack Obama presidency, but not more than once, will that be OK?
Home-builder Robert Toll's suggestion for a $20,000 federal tax credit to boost purchases of luxury homes is outrageous ("Toll: Add a tax credit," Friday). Those of us who already have purchased homes, saving and scrimping to do so, received no federal handout in the process. What possible good could come from handouts that encourage more profligate spending? Instead, let's devote federal funds to revitalizing our cities and curbing the suburban sprawl that has eroded the environment and our sense of community.
Judy Nicholson Asselin
Until this year, Philadelphia enjoyed a resurgence in residential housing construction, largely because of the 10-year real-estate tax abatement. It was an incentive that made a tremendous difference for consumers because it made housing costs more competitive in Philadelphia.
City Councilman Darrell Clarke last week introduced legislation to modify the program ("Clarke proposes real-estate incentives," Friday). While builders are willing to listen to anything that helps the real-estate market in these difficult times, we think it's critically important that City Council weigh carefully both the short- and long-term impacts before making a decision. We need to think hard about why we should tamper with a program that has a track record of success in Philadelphia.
Building Industry Association
While I have great respect for Caroline Kennedy and all of the members of her family who are so active in public service, I think New York Democratic Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Carolyn McCarthy would be much better choices to replace Hillary Rodham Clinton in the U.S. Senate. Both women have served long and were elected on their own merit.
Nancy Mortimer O'Brien
Re: "Obama must abide by the law and punish torturers," commentary, Sunday:
Professors Anthony D'Amato and Jordan J. Paust are right. Torture condoned by the U.S. government has cost America dearly, not just in terms of our international image, but in encouraging jihadists all over the Middle East to travel to Iraq to kill American soldiers.
There is no evidence that torture has saved a single life. Torture is a policy that needs to be absolutely and unequivocally rejected by all agencies of the U.S. government.
Richmond L. Gardner