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The Baltimore Sun

Stimulus only delays decline in our wealth

The Baltimore Sun's editorial "Trade trouble" (Dec. 28) suggests two paths for the United States to get out of the deep hole it's in: "The U.S. must either get its economic house in order, by reducing debt-financed consumption and rebuilding savings, or learn to live with a decline in American buying power and its influence."

It is certain that we are heading for Option 2.

President-elect Barack Obama has promised a stimulus package as big as, or even bigger than, the $700 billion financial industry bailout that's already been added to our national debt.

Option 1 would spell a depression, and as cathartic and healthy as that course might be in the long run, as economist Paul Krugman has remarked, "There are no atheists in foxholes and there are no libertarians in financial crises."

Prepare for less buying power and less U.S. influence.

Jim George, Baltimore

Reviving our industry offers a better option

There is little doubt that "trade has everything to do with America's economic dilemma" ("Trade trouble," editorial, Dec. 28). But we have more options available to us than simply reducing our "debt-financed consumption" or accepting a "decline in American buying power."

We could try rethinking our trade policies to keep more good-paying manufacturing jobs in the U.S. But as long as we are mostly consuming products made overseas, I think we can continue to expect our economic outlook to be bleak.

John Tully, Baltimore

Cowherd's wit brings respite from tragedy

I am in total opposition to the opinion of the writer of the letter "Many feel left out by holiday feasting" (Dec. 26), who criticized Kevin Cowherd's column about the various holiday foods he must serve his guests to accommodate their individual tastes and needs ("This Christmas, don't give us food issues," Dec. 21).

With the news today replete with stories of murders, kidnappings, Middle East crises, the lousy economy and individuals struggling to meet their mortgage payments or just make ends meet, I find most of Mr. Cowherd's columns, with their wit and sense of humor, quite refreshing.

Mr. Cowherd has a unique style of expressing his thoughts in a way that counteracts some of the horror stories of the day.

Freda Garelick, Baltimore

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