Letters in the Editor's Mailbag

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Byline: The Register-Guard

Side-bet casino hurts the economy

I have a few questions I have not heard answered in the debate on financial regulation in Congress.

What benefit is provided to the economy by allowing investors to bet against another investment through a derivative? How are average citizens or companies seeking investment helped by allowing people to bet that the value of a security will go down? Finally, why is the debate about regulation, instead of total elimination?

I would maintain that only the financial services industry's side-bet casino benefits from these kinds of "products," and that only its profits would suffer if we eliminated them.

As columnist Paul Krugman noted, it would not be a bad thing for the country if the financial services industry shrank. It makes no real products, and only exists to facilitate financial transactions, of which the industry keeps too much as a middleman. It appears unable to contain its greed regardless of the suffering the industry's actions inflict on the rest of us, and these products create a temptation for it to influence markets in a way that helps push values down.

I know that many would suffer financially in the short term if the financial services industry were significantly reduced in size. Many work in the industry or have investments in those banks through 401(k)s. Nonetheless, I think we have to consider the long-term benefit of focusing our investment dollars on building companies that need investment, not placing side bets that values will go down.



Arizona law is justified

I applaud Arizona's governor for signing the new law allowing police officers to ask for documentation of legal status in the United States.

We are a country of laws, and those who break them need to pay the price. If you want to come into our country, do it the legal way. You should not be supported for breaking our laws. Because our federal government has not fulfilled its obligation to protect our borders and enforce our laws, Arizona had no other choice.

My grandparents and father immigrated to the United States from Canada shortly after World War II. My father was only 13 years old. They came into this country legally. One requirement was to have a "sponsor" who would guarantee that my grandparents and father would not be a burden to the United States. My father's uncle in Minnesota sponsored them. If they could not support themselves, he would have to be financially responsible for them.

My father went to school and worked to support himself and his family in Cottage Grove. When he turned 18, he was required to register for the U.S. draft as a Canadian citizen in this country legally.

Along came the Korean War, and Dad was drafted. He had the choice to go into the U.S. Army or go back to Canada. He decided to go into the Army. He honorably served his two-year enlistment. Sometime after serving the United States, he became a U.S. citizen.



Do good, whatever your creed

Reading about Church Women United (Register-Guard, April 26) and thinking about neoatheist criticisms of religion, I recall President Kennedy urging the United States and the Soviet Union to compete to see which nations - communist or capitalist - can do more good, not produce more weapons.

Church Women United do much good, and our world is poorer without them. Similarly, modern secular critics cleanse, so to speak, religious traditions of many of their narrow, immensely repressive and oppressive aspects, both personally and socially.

But when any single ideology - scientific or secular as well as religious or spiritual - becomes absolute, then it becomes deeply destructive.

So I propose those who think religion is irredeemable, as do neoatheists Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, compete with groups such as Church Women United to make our world better; likewise those who think secularists are irredeemable. …