The Baltimore Sun

Offer troubled assets to private investors

A disconcerting aspect of the financial "bailout" plans that Congress has been discussing would be the huge, not to mention involuntary, investment taxpayers would be asked to make in assets that are, by their very nature, "troubled" ("Shock Waves," Sept. 30). Fortunately, this is not the only option.

Rather than having the government become the owner of these assets via a troubled asset relief program, the government could create mutual fund-type products from these assets based on various estimated levels of risk, make shares of those funds available for purchase in a way that is similar to treasury notes and make the purchase price tax-deductible and any profits by investors tax-free.

The tax shelter alone would make the funds attractive enough to buoy the real value of these assets. More important, the risk of such investments would be transferred to those willing and able to take on such a venture.

This program would cost significantly less than a $700 billion bailout since the only money the government would lose is the taxes otherwise accrued on the income used to purchase shares and the profits realized.

This plan would not solve every aspect of our current financial crisis, but it would forestall the even greater crisis of having our government become the investor in chief.

Tom Coale, Ellicott City

Democratic leaders didn't get the votes

Given that the Democrats are running the show in Congress, I find it amusing that The Baltimore Sun blamed House Republicans for the failure of the financial rescue package ("Bailout bust," editorial, Sept. 30).

Congressional Democrats have the majority in both houses of Congress. The president has indicated that he will sign the bill. So not a single Republican vote was required to pass a bailout bill.

But neither House Speaker Nancy Pelosi nor Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has the clout or the gravitas to get his or her own troops in line.

If there is political grandstanding taking place, it is by the Democratic congressional leaders and The Baltimore Sun.

The blame for this failure goes directly to the do-nothing Democrat representatives led by Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Reid.

Michael DeCicco, Severn

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