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Letters to the Editor - Weekly Issue of November 29, 2010

Readers write in about budget cuts and Britain, billionaires and giving, honesty and US business, and rebranding American government.

Rebranding government?

In his Nov. 15 "Upfront" column ("Brand-new thinking about government?"), editor John Yemma provides an interesting perspective. But perhaps it is impossible to "rebrand" government, as he suggests, since government means different things to different people.

The best we can do is to learn to respect our differences and work maturely together as Americans. While Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neil were on different sides of the political spectrum, they enjoyed a healthy relationship and treated each other as friends. This is the common ground that more people in Washington, D.C., should seek to embrace in their interactions.

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Honesty in business

Regarding David Francis's Nov. 15 column ("Is honesty waning in American business?"): Honesty in American business isn't waning; it has waned.

Consider the hundreds of thousands of subprime mortgages based on manipulated income figures that have been made. And for years, Wall Street brokers have been playing Russian roulette with investors who trusted them with their savings.

The real success of free enterprise depends on the integrity of those who head both the public and private sectors. Too many of these leaders have let greed and power override a sense of responsibility for the real needs of "we, the people."

Relying on honesty and integrity alone hasn't worked; we need better regulation.

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Giving, not redistributing

I applaud the billionaires named in the Nov. 22 cover story ("The Billionaires' Club") who are willing to donate significant portions of their wealth to charitable needs. It's a huge step in the right direction, even if our American model is not fully followed yet by Europe or Asia.

While I'm nowhere near their category of wealth, I, too, subscribe to this ethic of giving, supporting many different charitable organizations. Of course, I have the choice of who will receive my charitable contributions. And the superwealthy should have that right as well. This right shouldn't be essentially abrogated by the US government to "ensure a more equitable distribution" of this wealth.

We can do as the British do

The Nov. 1 Monitor editorial, "Doing as the British do," shows that there are strategies that may and can work if political leaders are willing to act. We've gone to the polls to be heard and made big changes. Now we must wait to see if Congress heard us.

The time for dillydallying has long passed. The citizens have made cuts and adjusted budgets. It's time Congress did, too.