Economic chaos

Just let the free market fall, and fail, as it will

It is appalling that working-class families are losing their homes in the mortgage crisis, but the businesses that made millions off the boom will not have the same hard landing. We should let free-market capitalism do its job removing corporations that deserve to fail and allowing those that made better decisions to rise up and take their market share.

Corporate bailouts not only cost the taxpayers money, but also cheat America of one of its greatest assets — its entrepreneurial spirit.

Kristin Boetticher, Minneapolis


Current economic problems are caused by a system of investment products so complex that the majority of people, politicians and regulators included, couldn't understand them and those who could understand them used their knowledge to plunder the savings of everyone else. And now the victims will pay again through bailouts. Something has to change.

Matt Hetzel, St. Paul


For all those anti-government ideologues now eagerly grabbing for a government lifeline, all I can say is: "Let them eat cake."

Tom Ehlinger, Bloomington


The bailout of AIG is stunning in its suddenness and magnitude. Overnight, apparently, our government decided it was necessary to lend an amount equal to $600 or $700 for every household in America. To an insolvent company. And it is not apparent that this decision was ever discussed with any elected representative. Oh, well — easy come, easy go.

But two questions: Do we not regulate well enough, or is the sheer size of AIG a threat to our economy? And should we tolerate such threats?

John Evans, St. Paul

Minnesota's Senate race

Maybe all three men will wallow in the mud

I must admit I'm enjoying the "sniping" in the U.S. Senate campaign almost as much as Independent candidate Dean Barkley (Minnesota Poll, Sept. 15).

Wouldn't you really just like to see them take off the gloves and go at it full-tilt? They could split the vote three ways if Barkley were to get off his high horse and join them.

Why not see if we can't make a muddy enough mess here in Minnesota that Karl Rove feels the need to moralize about it — then we'd be on the map, by golly. After all, our governor was passed over for a "pit bull in lipstick." We've got to do something to regain our self-respect.

Dave Leussler, Minneapolis


Exactly how stupid does Norm Coleman really think we are? After watching his attack ads it seems pretty clear. We all know Al Franken failed to pay taxes in 17 states and overpaid in Minnesota. Honest mistake if you ask me.

As for the check cards all you need to look at is the people for and against the issue. Republicans and big business against.

Unions and Democrats for. And the no secret ballot issue as being un-American is blown way out of proportion. Why do you need to vote if you already pledged your support by signing the check card? The vote just gives the company another opportunity to crush the union which is the only reason they are opposed to it in the first place.

Robert Hilger, Burnsville


While I am sure all of our U.S. Senate candidates are set on spending millions of dollars defining each other over the next several weeks, I hope that Minnesotans don't lose sight of a fundamental contrast that exists between the two major-party candidates:
Sen. Norm Coleman has spent his entire adult life working hard on the behalf of Minnesota's public good. Al Franken, on the other hand, moved away from Minnesota as soon as he could and has now only returned because he thinks he can win a Senate race. While he was away, he spent his career belittling and mocking anyone who dared to disagree with his opinions.

You don't need to look very hard to see that Franken doesn't have the people skills to be a good senator for our state.

Jesse Stebbins, Minneapolis

Rail crash

Freight industry is ready to improve safety

Your Sept. 16 article "Feds blame railroads for not installing safety equipment to prevent deadly crash," mistakenly left the impression that the freight rail industry has been slow or reluctant to implement positive train control technology (PTC). This is far from the truth. The rail industry took the initiative to develop PTC and has invested millions of dollars in research and testing.

There are more than 140,000 miles of rail track in the United States, and passenger and freight trains share close to 25,000 of that same rail. For a nationwide PTC system to work, both freight and passenger trains must be equipped with collision avoidance systems that communicate with one another. That is not the case today.

We look forward to working with the passenger rails and commuter agencies, as well as the Federal Railroad Administration, to implement a standardized anti-collision system.

Edward R. Hamberger, president and chief executive officer, Association of American Railroads, Washington

Cyclists and motors

Critical Mass tactics hurt the overall cause

Kudos to Stephen Regenold for calling it like it is ("meaningless, contrived, aimless") on Critical Mass (Variety, Sept. 15). My husband and I are among the unlucky motorists who have been harassed by "righteous" members on the monthly ride, whose sole intent, it seems to me, is to provoke.

How this group purports to gain support or respect for cyclists by its illegal, confrontational, in-your-face tactics is beyond me. There is room for both cyclists and motorists on our roads, but not with Critical Mass at the forefront.

Laurie Eibensteiner, Minneapolis

Palin's oaths

If she flouts Alaska's laws, why promote her?

How can Gov. Sarah Palin refuse to comply with subpoenas that require her, her husband and her key employees to testify about whether they broke Alaska's laws that protect their citizens from political cronyism? We should not be electing officials who won't support or even comply with our laws.

Bruce Kelley, Minneapolis