Letters: Bailout, Wall Street's Guilt, Palin's Candidacy

Listeners comment on the failed bailout, whether or not Wall Street would have gotten into such trouble without help from the rest of us and Sarah Palin's potential harm to McCain.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

NEAL CONAN, host:

It's Tuesday, the day we read from your emails and blog comments. Congress is not in session today, but leaders on both sides continue to work on a plan to rescue the U.S. economy or bail out Wall Street depending on who you listen to. We've been talking about several different aspects of the crisis. A week ago, we focused on one oft-mentioned aspect of human nature, greed. Could Wall Street have gotten into such trouble without the help of the rest of us?

It always takes two to tango, Mark Beaver's email from San Antonio. "Over 20 years ago, during the easy credit days of the Reagan presidency, my wife and I bought a house that was frankly beyond our means. After paying our mortgage and bills, we were left with $20 to last the remainder of the month. Even the good old days, $20 did not go very far. We recently moved and bought a new home, we decided to spend only one quarter of our net monthly income on our mortgage. As our lender was reviewing our application, she asked if we knew we could qualify for twice the amount of the monthly payment we'd applied for and didn't we want to buy a more expensive house. We replied no. She asked the same question again, and we said no again. She looked at us like we were stupid. These days we feel pretty smart."

Another listener took a different view, "I don't think it is greed that got the average American in trouble, but rather the American entrepreneurial spirit combined with a lack of experience. The greedy people could be defined as those who might have exaggerated their income in order to qualify for an investment property or a better home. But most of us, just wanted to take advantage of a market situation in which we could earn a profit. That is what our great country is based on after all." That email from Kim in Salt Lake City, Utah.

On the opinion page yesterday, syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker explained her change of heart on Governor Sarah Palin. She was a fan at the start, but now argues that Palin should resign as John McCain's running mate for the good of their party and the good of the country. After listening to her TV interviews, Ms. Parker concluded she's clearly not ready. Many disagreed including a listener named Cecille. "She's far more ready than either candidate on the opposing ticket, can legitimately claim, and certainly has more and more appropriate qualifications than her opposition can claim. Governor Palin has far more actual executive experience than Senator Obama and Senator Biden combined and most importantly is the only person on either ticket that actually knows, again from experience, how the vast majority of us live, work, raise children and think in this country. She has neither the polish and the lack of scruples nor the far left mind-set of both Obama and Biden and seems tied for points with Biden when considering poorly worded or poorly chosen statements. Frankly, I trust her because she's still, more than any of the other candidate's, one of us."

Kara Kuhn(ph) in Carlson City, Nevada is not convinced. "I think Palin has backbone, and toughness, and certainly patriotism, but so far as anyone out here in the general populace can tell, she doesn't seem familiar with the complex issues facing our country. Forget Obama's so-called experience, if you compare her resume to all the vice presidents we've had so far, Dan Quayle had more experience." You can hear the entire conversation with Kathleen Parker, and hear other listeners reactions on our Web site, npr.org/talk. And if you have comments, questions, or corrections for us, the best way to reach us is by email. The address is talk@npr.org. Please let us know where you're writing from, and give us some help on how to pronounce your name.

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