Friday, January 15, 2010

Day 15

Dear Mr. President,

It is difficult to think of anything to write about besides Haiti. I've donated via SMS to the red cross, I've read the news all day, I've worried and worried and worried. Not particularly helpful, to be honest. I don't think I can write to you, who is doing so much, about something I can do next to nothing to help. So this letter is going to be about the Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee, which I just heard about from the e-mail that the Vice President's office sent out.

I already added my name to the petition, and I hope that the tremendous popular support for this idea is enough to get it passed over the objection of the banking lobby. I'll be writing my congressman (not that contacting Rick Larsen has done me much good in the past) and state senators as well. Don't back down on this, sir. Conservatives are saying it is a mere distraction. Michelle Malkin claims that the fee will be passed on to consumers, which may be true, but seems like it should be an indictment of the banks, not the government. If my bank tries to charge me more, I will simply take my business elsewhere. I say all of this as some one with a layman's understanding of economic policy. I could be entirely wrong, but I think a number of Americans are confused about the nuances of this, and we are putting our trust in you and your administration not to take advantage of this crisis for political gain.

Tomorrow I return to work after 2 days off, and as much as I'm dreading getting up early and dealing with the tedious and often absurd public, I'm thankful to be among the employed. I'm still worried about the economy, but I think that things will slowly get better. Bearing in mind my admitted lack of economic expertise, I've previously mentioned John Edward's campaign promise to reform college financial aid systems and work to lessen current student debt. Maybe this is oversimplifying things, but wouldn't it stimulate the economy if the recently graduated who are struggling with loan debt could spend the money elsewhere? Or invest in their own futures, by purchasing houses or starting businesses? If we can bail out banks and auto companies, why not students who are facing unprecedented amounts of student loan debt? Especially as much of that debt is the product of a system already exposed to be rife with corruption and predatory practices. I don't know, maybe it's a terrible idea, but it seems to me that as a society, we benefit more from a well-educated youth with less debt than we do from lending institutions making huge profits off of the dreams of the middle class.

I don't know. It seems frivolous to be asking about debt relief while thinking about the conditions in Haiti, or in any number of places across the globe. Perhaps this is a discussion for another day.

Respectfully yours,


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