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Letters to the Editor

January 02, 2009

Keynesian history and its relation to current economy



To the editor:

What a beautiful juxtaposition of columns in your Saturday editorial page! The professor emeritus at the community college goes back to FDR to explain that Keynes is the answer to our financial situation and The Washington Post columnist goes back to FDR to explain that Keynes is not.

The professor, Allan Powell, overlooked a great argument on his side by omitting that famous quote by that famous president, Richard Nixon, "We're all Keynesians now!"

He also omitted the equally famous war of words between Federal Reserve Chairman William McChesney Martin and Lyndon Johnson over whether LBJ's Keynesian policies would or would not overheat the economy. As I recall, that argument ended when the economy overheated. The economy remained less than stellar until Jimmy Carter became president and made it a basket case.

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The economy was revived from its Keynesian "demand side" depths only when President Ronald Reagan pushed through a totally un-Keynesian "supply side" economic package that resulted in the longest post-World War II peacetime expansion of the economy, from 1983 until the Clinton recession, starting in 2000 (interrupted only by the short and mild recession caused by Bush 41's tax increases in the early 1990's).

The professor seems a little confused over the term "trickle down." (I'm sure he's not being deliberately misleading).

"Trickle down" was the term created by the Democratic Party to demean and belittle Reagan's supply side policies, and anyone who uses it today is either deliberately ignoring or totally ignorant of the last 25 years' record of the economy (Professor Powell excepted, of course).

President Bush 43 has already given us two Keynesian "stimulus" packages to get the economy to its present condition.

President-elect Obama plans to give us the "mother of all Keynesian stimulus packages" of a trillion dollars or more. Shall we all join the professor emeritus in cheering him on?

Gary Dungan
Harpers Ferry, W.Va.




Thanks to all who helped us with car woes



To the editor:

I wish to publicly thank and commend some local citizens of your area. On Christmas Day, my wife and I were traveling to Shepherdstown, W.Va., to spend the night.

We were on Burnside Bridge Road, a few miles east of Sharpsburg, when we hit a small stick on the road

For some unknown reason, this caused our engine to shut down and the transmission to lock in the park position, making it impossible to move the car.

A further problem was that we were in a hollow area and couldn't use our cell phone to get help. Two men came by and stopped to see if they could assist.

One offered me a ride to the hotel where we planned to stay, where I could probably find help.

My wife said she would wait with the car which was in the middle of the road and unable to be moved.

I went into Shepherdstown and after some time was able to find a tow truck driver open for business and we got back to the car.

My wife had been joined by three men who had some mechanical experience and who were trying to determine the cause of our dilemma.

But our car, a Jaguar, wasn't familiar and despite considerable effort, they weren't able to solve the problem after a couple of hours of trying to do so.

The tow truck driver towed us to our hotel and the next day to Vienna, Va., where there was a dealer able to repair the car.

What was so astounding was the help we got from all concerned and I wish to publicly thank them.

Alas, I didn't get all of their names, but hopefully they will read the newspaper and recognize themselves. Courtney and Sons Towing came on Christmas day.

Dan Field, a former Marine, gave me a ride to the hotel. Sgt. Clint Paradise of the Maryland National Guard, had electrical test equipment and tried to track down the problem. Three others assisted in various ways, but I didn't get their names. All were truly representative of the spirit of Christmas.

James R. Campbell, Major, USMC (Ret.)
Marguerite J. Campbell, Colonel, USMC (Ret.)
Arlington, Va.




Trying to lose weight in '09? Eat vegetables



To the editor:

Looking to drop a few pounds in the New Year? Or boost your immune system? Or maybe you're hoping to reduce your risk of chronic diseases?

As a dietitian, I know that making a commitment to a healthier diet, full of plenty of fruits and vegetables, could help achieve all these New Year's resolutions and more.

Abundant research as shown that people who maintain a healthy weight over the long term tend to eat a plant-based diet.

Low-fat, antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables can also boost the immune system and prevent illnesses. A meatless diet can even help reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers.

So if you're looking for an all-around healthy lifestyle change in the New Year, start by leaving meat off your plate.

Try building your meals from a generous array of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans. For recipes and tips on how to get started, visit NutritionMD.org.

Susan Levin, M.S., R.D.
Staff dietitian
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

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