Response to John McClaughry

To the Editor:

Carpenters have a strict rule that they adhere to: "Measure twice, cut once". Adhering to that principle saves lots of lumber. John McClaughry should adapt it to say "read twice, respond once". He takes me to task in his letter of 12/4 for "inadequate knowledge of the economic and political events of 1993-2008". Using his own review of the book "Reckless Endangerment", he rambles on about how the housing bubble caused all of our problems and Democrats were responsible for most of it. I find it amusing that McLaughry uses his own writings to substantiate his critique of me rather than going to independent sources. I guess he believes he has all the right answers and doesn't need analysis from any other experts.

McClaughry did not respond to the central point of my letter of 11/28. I was criticizing columnist Michael Reagan for using the term in his November 20th column "Obama Recession". Whatever the causes of the Great Recession that began in 2007, blaming Obama is ridiculous. He didn't become president until January of 2009 and served in the Senate for only 4 years prior to becoming president. My point was that conservative columnists and commentators have the dispicable habit of creating falsehoods, repeating them incessantly, and finally convincing huge numbers of political bedfellows that the lies they spew forth are true. Look up references as to why a substantial number of Americans still believe Obama is a Muslim despite no concrete evidence in order to verify my conclusion.

As for the causes of the Great Recession ... a principal cause was the signing into law in 1999 the Gramm-Bliley-Leach Act, a law proposed by three Republican legislators. This law repealed significant sections of the Glass-Steagall Act passed in 1933 which regulated banking and helped bring this country out of the Great Depression. Clinton was presented the Gramm bill for signing by a Congress that had a Republican majority in both the House and Senate and had passed it with a veto proof majority in both Houses with many Democratic votes. The blame is shared by both parties. The changes in banking and finance brought about by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act led to less regulation and more speculation, including the loosening of regulations on mortgage financing. There has been an effort by conservatives to blame the entire recession on government because of changes in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac regulations, letting Wall Street off scot free. Look a bit deeper, John, and you'll find plenty of blame to share.

Back to my original point. If John McClaughry had read my letter twice he might have noticed that I was writing about something totally different than what he responded to. But like many right wingers, he chose to take an opportunity to make his point even if it meant he had to distort the content of my letter to do so.

Claudette Sortino

South Ryegate, Vt.

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