Helping workers helps business

I can't agree with Ramesh Ponnuru's right-wing diatribe "The president's cursed crusade" (Dec. 14). To say that the Depression was the result of a tight money policy may bear some truth, but it seems self-evident that it was mainly a matter of manic optimism fueled by capitalist greed, and followed by a generous dose of economic reality. Henry Ford never went to business school to learn the quarter-to-quarter profit maximization techniques that all too often pass for good management in our country. Instead, he understood that giving his workers a higher standard of living would stimulate economic growth and that would come back to him through increased car sales and personal wealth.

President Obama is obviously on the right track in suggesting that corporate CEOs look at how their decisions impact the larger world instead of focusing only on their company's results. Sharing the wealth with those who toil on the production lines and elsewhere can't always be bad business, or we never would have had the 1950s and '60s.

John Baxter, Exton

Separating facts from lies

Ramesh Ponnuru devotes a few paragraphs to reframing the causes for our recent economic decline, and the recessions of the past, thereby strengthening his argument that President Obama's class warfare is not only unfounded, but also dangerous. As Mark Twain once said, "A fact can be easily discredited. But a well-told lie can last thousands of years." So what are the facts and what are the lies? Is it the millions of Americans out of work because years of deregulation put their livelihoods into the hands of irresponsible industrialists and corporate capitalists who shipped their jobs overseas to improve profit margins? Or is it because of politicians like Obama, who just pander to populist rhetoric to get votes from a working class that is not that bad off and who could benefit even more from their capitalist protectors? Maybe the answer will come when columnists like Ponnuru take a step down from their high-rise ivory towers of opinion and check out the facts in the factories of America - if he can find any factories.

Nick Esposito, Philadelphia

Times too tough to save

Jonathan Zimmerman's op-ed piece "Saving before they're earning" (Dec. 13) made me laugh. How can a family save money when it takes every dime to live and pay taxes? Just having employment and making a wage is important.

Seeing your parents get out of bed every day and go to work is an education. Seeing my 22-year-old son, who recently graduated college, move home until he could find a job (but in a retail establishment because there are no jobs in his field) is an education for him. He cannot afford rent, much less save his money. He works downtown, puts gas in his car, and pays to park all day so there really isn't much left to a minimum-wage paycheck.

Saving money is important, but when I was in my 20s, I worked just to make ends meet, and, early in my marriage, we struggled just to pay our bills, much less save money.

If you are lucky enough in this current environment of joblessness and rising costs to have a decent paying job, you are called selfish, greedy, and an evil capitalist.

Connie Waterman, Narberth

Gingrich's private life vs. Clinton's

The "change history to suit ourselves" attitude of the Republicans would be laughable if it weren't so infuriating. Here's the most recent example: After salivating over the impeachment - impeachment!!! - of President Bill Clinton, they are insisting that Newt Gingrich's less-than-stellar personal record has nothing to do with his qualifications for nomination. They're right, but so were those of us who pointed out the same thing on behalf of the intelligent, hard-working, well-read Clinton.

Marie Conn, Hatboro

Questions of character and ethics

No matter how damning the allegations against Newt Gingrich, on his character, ethics, and morality, it seems to slide off him like water off a duck's back. Gingrich may not be a crook, but his ethics and morals are easy to question. He's had three wives, he has cheated on his spouse, and he's a lobbyist supreme, accepting money from a very disreputable Freddie Mac. Do you want this impulsive man, whose mouth is frequently disengaged from his brain, to have his finger on a nuclear arsenal that could end civilization as we know it? I surely do not.

Ken Derow, Wallingford