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If Ben Franklin were alive today, his famous aphorism may have boasted quite a few more decimal places. In response to the Aug. 7 Decatur (Ala.) Daily editorial (“Tea party willing to harm U.S.,” What newspapers are saying at home) assigning the tea party an “F for loyalty to our country,” I would like to reveal the authors’ ignorance of U.S. economic history. Our friends at The Decatur Daily explained that the allegedly anti-American tea party, a grass-roots community of citizens unofficially represented by many legislators, ignores the “economic truism that drastic federal cuts in an already-depressed economy create a certainty of higher unemployment and greater need for governmental assistance.”

The depression of 1920-1921, not to be confused with the Great Depression, has been largely ignored by liberal fiscal policy crusaders (read: most of the media). It was caused by an all-too-familiar government spending binge, and many politicians recommended a prescription of higher taxes and even more spending. Because President Warren Harding and his successor, Calvin Coolidge, understood free-market economics, this depression corrected itself within a few years. Despite its indisputable effectiveness, their solution was very unpopular to those with the loudest voices; because of this, it has echoed in history as barely a whisper.

How did the duo slash the double-digit unemployment rate by two-thirds? Did they raise taxes; pick low-hanging fruit from the Fed’s young, prolific magic money tree; or create unnecessary government jobs? Nay, all Harding and Coolidge did was cut government spending on a titanic scale and cross their arms while Adam Smith’s invisible hand righted the capsized economy.

“Silent Cal” said it best in 1924: “A government which lays taxes on the people not required by urgent public necessity and sound public policy is not a protector of liberty, but an instrument of tyranny. It condemns the citizen to servitude.” President Ronald Reagan reaffirmed this more than 60 years later: “The 10 most dangerous words in the English language are, ‘Hi, I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.’ ”

First Lt. Richard Headley

Camp Taji, Iraq

We see who plays blame game

As we approach the 2012 elections, the voters should watch the candidates from both parties carefully and stop voting for those candidates who do little more than tell us who is to blame for our woes. We should take notice that many of the leading candidates for the presidency, as well as party leaders on both sides of the political aisle, wasted no time in blaming the “other guys” for the embarrassing spectacle that passed for negotiations and only resulted in kicking the can down the road once again.

What surprises me most is that the voters continue to re-elect the same people over and over. If any of us performed so poorly, would we be retained in our jobs?

Even following the 2010 elections, didn’t anybody notice that we ended up with the same leaders in Washington (the only difference being that they were sitting in different chairs). The Republican and Democratic Party leaders are much too confident that they can fool the voters again and again and continue to put party politics ahead of making the tough choices necessary to move this country forward. However, to date, their confidence has been completely justified.

In this next election, we need to send the message to candidates on both sides of the political spectrum that the only way to win our votes is to stop the blame game, stop the political posturing, and tell us how they will reach across the aisle to find practical solutions to our problems. If we do that, I think we’ll find many of the current incumbents, both Republicans and Democrats, finally swept out of office. Until then, we have only ourselves to blame for electing and re-electing politicians who have gotten much too good at playing the game.

Lt. Cmdr. David M. Donselar

Naval Base Guam

Stripes in 7

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