Letters to the Editor

July 09, 2010

Big business needs supervision, oversight

To the editor:

Former President Calvin Coolidge is remembered for his comment, "The chief business of America is business." Among some conservative circles, Coolidge's thought is one to be emulated.

Coolidge's works might fairly be amended to read "big" business since he had disdain for those on Main Street who sought to keep their business afloat or the small farmer attempting to keep the family farm going.

What Coolidge and his Treasury secretary sought to do was to roll back the safety restrictions that had been passed in previous administrations and remove constraints on business and those who were willing to invest at risk. They were the architects of what Herbert Hoover reaped -- our nation's Great Depression.


That attitude is still present -- the resistance to government oversight, the assumption that big business can set its own standards and the right of contract means that some workers must work in unsafe conditions, the short-cutting on safety standards done as a cost of doing business (including the risks given to both workers and consumers).

However, the chief business of America is building community. An independent entity should determine the cost that BP must pay for the damages done to the workers and environment in the Gulf.

It is time to reclaim the appropriate supervision of big business for our nation's health, including a return to serious oversight of our industries. The permission granted BP for an artificial island off the Alaska coast for "on-shore" drilling, for example, should be rescinded.

Stephen D. Harris
Waynesboro, Pa.

Financial reform makes sense for all Americans

To the editor:

I want Congress -- and all Americans -- to know that reform doesn't just help create a more stable economy, it would actually improve the lives of everyday American families. Here are five benefits I want to make sure everyone knows.

1. Reform forces credit card and mortgage companies to play by the rules. No more hidden fees or pages of fine print.

2. Families that are hoping to buy a home or pay for college are put on a level playing field with lenders. Reform ensures they'll get the information they need presented clearly and concisely so they can make good decisions. The same goes for small businesses and community banks that play fair and deserve to see their businesses grow.

3. The legislation cracks down on predatory lenders looking to mislead people into taking on irresponsible debt.

4. Wall Street reform establishes an independent agency -- the Consumer Financial Protection Agency -- whose sole job is to protect consumers and enforce the new consumer financial protections, which would be the strongest ever enacted.

5. Finally, American taxpayers will never again be asked to bail out the big banks that are "too big to fail." I want to be absolutely clear about this, no matter what our opponents in Congress say.

Reginald M. Walden Sr.

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