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Letters to the Editor - May 23

May 23, 2012

Without fear of penalties, brokers will scam system


To the editor:

Tim Rowland’s Sunday Opinion column, “It takes talent to lose $2 billion,” is right on point. Clearly, rewarding those who screwed up the financial system with huge bonuses has not made any impact on their judgment at all. So is there a historical precedent on how to deal with investment swindlers?

I remembered an anecdote in the book “The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin” by H.W. Brands that provides a solution. The story goes that Franklin entrusted stockbroker John Rice with an investment. Due to circumstances, Franklin needed to sell the stocks and recoup the cash. After Franklin closed the accounts with Rice, Rice “came up seriously short on some speculative issues” and he forged documents and embezzled other people’s money to cover his losses. When this was discovered, he fled to France but the French sent him back to England, where he was jailed, tried and hanged by the no-nonsense English.

The moral of the story is a simple one: Do not play illegal games with other people’s money or you’ll pay the ultimate price. In my opinion, I think it is reasonable to assert that a broker knowing that they can scam the system and even if caught receive a huge bonus will never change their actions. On the other hand, a broker that knows that they will be hanged if they scam the system will act in an ethically proper fashion to avoid hanging.

In summary, I submit that what worked in the 1760s to curb investment fraud would also serve as a strong deterrent to brokers from abusing the financial system today, since rewarding their incompetence does not appear to be working.


Ernst Arnold
Hagerstown
 


Public safety officers deserve our thanks


To the editor:

It was fitting that honoring Washington County Deputy Sheriff Rick Kemmerer and the rest of Maryland’s Finest (“Police honored on ‘Officers Night,’” May 18) should occur during National Police Week (May 14-18 ).

I am not in law enforcement but am a humble retired U.S. Army soldier (1974-1995) and veteran of Operation Desert Storm. I ardently support those special persons who care enough to “serve and protect” everywhere.

We, the public, thank you brave officers — from the bottom of our hearts — just for being there in times of danger and chaos. You prove there are heroes and heroines yet.

 
Joe Hammell
Waynesboro, Pa.



Parrott’s mailing ‘disappointing to say the least’


To the editor:

I recently received correspondence from Del. Neil Parrott in the mail and found it disappointing to say the least. Most of this mailing sounds more like ultra-conservative campaign rhetoric than the constituent end-of-the-session legislative notification it is presented as. The newsletter contained references to “impact on religious institutions” and “religious liberty concerns.” 

This letter made it clear that Parrott has neglected to consider the fact that many Americans assert their right to freedom FROM religion. I am also extremely concerned with religious institutions affecting my family and friends. The separation of church and state is one of the most essential elements of being an American. 

In addition, the separation of church and state protects religious institutions from state interference with their inner workings. The marriage equity measure this letter refers to is an excellent example of the advantages of separation of church and state creating numerous exemptions for religious entities.

As a member of the House of Delegates, Parrott is a public employee, and this newsletter and his salary are paid with the taxpayer dollars of all the residents of District 2B, not just the ones who voted for him. It would be nice in the future if Parrott would send more professional communications that reflect the differing views of the residents of District 2B. Many of the residents of District 2B support marriage equity and the legislature’s efforts to ensure all Marylanders enjoy access to affordable health care.

We also know that you get what you pay for. This is why Maryland has the top-rated schools in America. Taxes and increased spending are not a bane on society; taxes are how we pay for a functioning society. Increased spending must be properly directed, not blocked in the name of false ideologies. 

The voters I know are sick of people demanding more and more tax cuts. In fact, large majorities now support an increase in the tax rate for the top 1 percent of earners. Tax fairness, support for alternative energy, and educational and jobs programs — not budget cuts and lower taxes for millionaires — will keep Maryland growing into the future.

 
Victoria Ross
Hagerstown


Editor’s note: Due to an editor’s error, a portion of the final paragraph of this letter was omitted when it was first published May 20.

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