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Simple Economics

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To the editors:

Thank you for David Futrelle's article ("The Rhetoric of Denial," June 26). He put into words what I could only feel. For readers who missed it, I suggest you send for a copy. It's that important. It's one of the few times I've seen someone untangle the rhetorical glut in the media. I've often wondered if anyone else felt that none of the so-called experts was quite getting it right. Yes, it's wonderful that a celebrity owns a broom and uses it to sweep up some of the mess left by rioters in LA. And yes, black, white, brown, and yellow people still aren't cool with each other. But why knock people as liberals or conservatives in op-ed pieces? Why are we so dismissive, saying the rioters were simply irrational nihilists? Why do we expect the answers to be so simple?

Mr. Futrelle made an excellent point that the evening news narrative feeds this simple-solution psyche. The riots are shown at 11, but by 11:30 we see volunteers at a homeless shelter. We're soothed in a half hour. I think that's why no one talks about economics. It doesn't sell, and the solutions take longer than a week. If George Bush could bomb the economy the way he bombed Iraq, I think he would. But he can't.

Mr. Futrelle knows the strength to change resides in telling the truth. The government doesn't give money to the poor because that doesn't make money. Should we be surprised that behind most actions in this country is a serious economic reason? If we change the reasoning, we'll change the situation, and the media, even the supposedly more intelligent print media, has shirked its responsibility as a leader. It's not only the government's fault for pushing the blame for every problem on someone or something else. The media places too much emphasis on issues such as race relations or human values when something like the riots in LA arise. It's economics. If people have no money, they're pissed. Forget their values for one moment. Who's going to go to a self-help class when all they want is a bite to eat? Every time George Bush or a political candidate speaks, we should demand they give us an update on the progress of their economic plan. Who cares whether the ideas are liberal or conservative. Is it working? No? Okay, let's change it.

We may not be the wealthiest nation in the world if we close the gap between rich and poor, but we don't have to be the most violent. For a country run on the idea of attaining wealth in material goods, it shouldn't be surprising that that's what will cause our problems. I'd rather make $25,000 a year than $35,000 if my brother a few blocks away can make $14,000 rather than $4,000. At least that way I know if he punches me in the face it's because I deserve it, not because he has no cash to buy a sandwich.

Mark McGowan

N. Lake Shore Dr.

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