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What Do You Think?

July 20, 2008

Editor's note: Each week, The Herald-Mail invites readers to answer poll questions on its Web site, www.herald-mail.com. Readers also may submit comments about the poll question when voting. Each Sunday, a sampling of edited reader comments will run in The Herald-Mail.

Last week there were three poll questions. The first question was: Should Karl Rove be immune from testifying before Congress under subpoena?

"Rove can sit and declare the 5th all day, but he should be obligated to appear before the Congress. No man is above the law and that includes Bubba."

"Bush may be one of the more incompetent presidents, but he still is the president and he is entitled to get the advice of staff without that staff being subject to partisan sniffing by a congressional committee whose purpose is to castigate that president. If there is a criminal act to be investigated, let it be by a grand jury, not by the legislative branch of government."

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"OK, history lesson. Does anyone know what the separation of powers is for? Separation prevents concentration of power and provides each branch with weapons to fight off encroachment by the other two branches. In other words, Congress makes the laws and cannot enforce the laws. Our current Congress doesn't even know what the Constitution is for."

"No one, not even the president, should be immune from testifying. These officials are accountable to the American public. Without this accountability, their own personal interests will take precedent over those of the American public."

The second question was: Is your retirement savings portfolio suffering as a result of ongoing stock market fluctuations?

"My retirement funds have lost enough over the last eight years as to be almost worthless today, and if things get much worse, even though I am disabled, I will have to try to compete with others in the job market, even though I have been retired for four years and have worked for over 50 years paying into Social Security and as a child a few years before that."

"Since December 2007, I have lost about $75,000. During the first 18 months of Bush's presidency, I lost $150,000. Bush has been a disaster to me financially. Yet they want people to invest in the stock market instead of funding Social Security. Will people then ask to be bailed out when the market plunges like it is doing now? The government cannot continue to bail out people who borrowed too much on mortgages, banks, etc. Just think if the billions (or is it trillions now) that was invested in the war in Iraq had been used to shore up our highways, bridges, search for alternative fuels, where we might be now?"

"If both of you lost that much money and you had an investor watching your money then you should sue them. If you had that much money and you lost it yourself then don't complain. I, too, have lost money, but made some back by changing my portfolio with the help of my financial adviser."

"I have lost money in 401(k), but it may come back as I am not retired and I have seen it go down before. The last big drop was after 9/11. I have lost more money with the increased property taxes and price of gas, which has led to higher groceries. Thank you federal, state and local government for allowing me to keep a little of my income."

The third question was: Do you fear that you or someone close to you could be thrown out of work because of current economic conditions?

"My answer was yes, but I have a job where there are layoffs when business is down and new hires when business is good and it has been that way no matter who is president or in Congress. It's mostly linked to the price of gas and if we drill it could bring those prices down. It will not take seven years to start making gas. That is another political misrepresentation created by Congress who are trying to prevent drilling. Just passing a law to allow drilling could bring down the cost, and if Russia and China can drill off our shores, why can't we?"

"For the last two years, I was saying the economy was bad. I knew too many people who had been unemployed too long. There were many letters to the editor saying how great the economy was when I knew it wasn't. I know at least two people who have been unemployed since 2005 and cannot find a job even with taking a 25 percent pay cut. I took a 25 percent pay cut back in 2004 and am still trying to recover. Since then, I have had a job where the company let everyone go and my current one where they have already let five people go and things don't look so good. President Bush has bankrupted this country with the war in Iraq."

"First of all, the economy is in a terrible state and I don't believe it will get any better anytime soon. Second, George W. Bush may not be in control of the mortgage lenders and banks, but it is under his administration that our economy has entered into a recession. I seem to remember we had an excellent economy under President Clinton. ... And according to the U.S. Department of Labor, the unemployment rate currently stands at 5.5 percent. And if the economy continues its downward spiral, the number of unemployed will only grow larger."

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