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We can do without all the current discussion of a recurring depression and the need to nationalize our largest banks. It serves no purpose other than to worry consumers and investors and lengthen the current recession. What we need is a plan to help our financial system regain capital and liquidity that doesn't scare the heebie jeebies out of consumers, investors and taxpayers alike.
All these toxic assets held by banks in the form of securitized mortgages, credit card debt, auto loans and more, contrary to popular belief, are performing assets with associated cash flows that should equate to their balance sheet mark-to-market values.
The federal government could simply guarantee such assets at their current price, plus or minus a "risk/volatility" factor associated with their cash flows. Then the banks could offer them for sale in a private, auction-based environment, where the minimum bid is the current price plus the risk/volatility factor, in addition to an auction premium.
The government would not need to purchase anything -- only guarantee buyers a floor price, essentially guaranteeing little-to-no downside risk for buyers. Buyers only need question how long until asset values rise to meet or exceed their bid price (therein lies the buyer risk). In this manner, the toxic or depressed-value securities could be taken off the banks' balance sheets at an immediate price that is above the their currently depressed valuations.
Banks now holding the toxic assets could determine those it wants to auction under such a government guarantee program depending on the rules of the program. These toxic assets are not "valueless." And they are not all the same, as demonstrated by their respective cash flows. The government doesn't have to spend billions or trillions of taxpayer dollars to bail out or nationalize the financial system. It just needs to use a sound risk/reward-based mechanism that allows private funds to help our nation's troubled banks. That's capitalism.
I recently read where the auto industry was concerned about paying benefits to their retired employees. This is a perfect example of the greed of management and the unions. Now they think the government should bail out their retirement benefits.
The automobile industry sold vehicles that they could make the most profit on, not vehicles that would keep them in business long-term. The union took advantage of the industry when times were good. I would like to see how much the retirees are being paid, and I would be willing to bet their hospitalization is also a benefit.
If any of the bailout money goes to this cause, it's time for public outrage. I lost 50 percent of my retirement. I wonder if the government will subsidize my loss?
Let these people change their lifestyle, and do not reward them for their greed at the taxpayers' expense. This would be another way to save the taxpayers' money.
Thank you for reminding us of the valuable role our libraries play in the lives of Minnesotans ["Users aren't the only ones looking to save at libraries," Feb. 15 Star Tribune], especially in light of looming budget cuts.
Libraries serve as instrumental facilities in our neighborhoods that foster education and lifelong learning. They help reduce a growing number of barriers to learning, such as Internet access, expensive textbooks, and computer and language skills, which many students and adults face today.
Libraries give people of all ages, cultures and socioeconomic status the opportunity to acquire new skills and knowledge free of charge. They provide classes and workshops on topics such as taxes, resume-writing and computer technology, as well as services such as tutoring for students and community resources for recent immigrants and adults out of work.
State budget cuts threaten to reduce the variety and number of services our libraries provide. We must find alternative funding sources to keep these vital institutions a part of our city and community life.
Darwin really didn't have the answers, did he? Just a much-debated theory for the "faithful" to hold on to.
Let's remember some of the anomalies that Darwin tried to deal with, not always successfully.
It's striking how much faith it takes to hold to a Darwinian "natural" source for all the material and energy that make up this universe. Science has been able to find no such natural source for those items.
It takes real faith to hold to the Darwinian idea that life originated "naturally" from previous non-living materials. Scientific study has consistently demonstrated otherwise, that life can come only from pre-existing life (law of biogenesis).
It takes faith to believe that in nature, simpler forms of life can move toward the more complex on their own as Darwin proposed. Science has shown just the opposite, that the more complex in nature tends to move toward the simpler (second law of thermodynamics).
It takes a Darwinian faith to accept that the enormous variety of living creatures, past and present, came about by natural selection, the survival of the fittest. Science and history do not show such a trend in nature; rather, just the opposite, with a vast loss of species as seen in the fossil record and much less variety now.
In short, evolutionary philosophy requires a faith to carry it in ways that are hard to demonstrate, even contravening the results of much scientific study.
An alternate theory (appearance of design) is gaining support in some areas, its tenets seeming to align better with what scientific study actually finds. This premise, of course, the Darwinian faithful cannot countenance.
If Darwin had been the beneficiary of the past 150 years of advancement in knowledge resulting from science, one wonders which theory his rigorous logic would have pointed him toward today?
Would his true believers have had the courage to follow?
REV. ARNOLD E. LEMKE, CHANHASSEN