Letters from our Readers: How America first got in this financial mess

What went wrong with Bear Stearns, Lehman and AIG could not have happened without Congress repealing the Glass-Steagall Act. That “iron door” separating banking from investing was replaced with a shell game among insurance, currencies and hedge funds. The new “trading shops” (formerly banks) expected that “extreme negative events” might happen just once every 100 years.

U.S. banks should not be a front for “betting halls.” We must revoke the 1999 Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act to put our country back on track. Congressional hearings such as the 1930s Pecora Hearings could reveal the greed that drove individuals to sanction actions leading to the potential financial ruin of this great nation.

Gerald Butrimovitz, San Francisco

Reform banking system

One year after the collapse of Lehman Brothers set off a series of federal interventions, the government is the nation’s biggest lender, insurer, automaker and guarantor against risk for investors large and small. Federal spending is a bigger share of the nation’s economy — 26 percent — than at any time since World War II.

Simply funding the banking system without reforming it is an expensive and dangerous game. President Barack Obama and Congress could truly fix things by dividing the Wall Street mega-banks under a new Glass-Steagall Act.

But will they?

Ted Rudow III, Menlo Park

Looks like Vietnam redux

The Examiner letter writer who wanted the new rules to reduce civilian casualties in Afghanistan eased back should consider the implications of his own comment that women and children were reloading for the Afghans who pinned down the U.S. Marines. Wouldn’t that seem as if the Afghan people just plain don’t want us there?

So are we supposed to win back their hearts and minds by freely killing lots more of them? Vietnam déjà vu all over again — and we didn’t win there either.

Reg Stocking, San Francisco

Better insurance for less

President Barack Obama says, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.” This statement is not true. For example, if the plan you have now excludes coverage for pre-existing conditions, that will go away. If they have a cap on what they will pay out if you are really sick, that will go away.

If they want to drop you when you are sick or raise your rates so you can’t afford it, that will go away as well. You will no longer be denied life-saving procedures by insurance company death panels like you have now.

So when Obama says that you can keep your health plan, don’t believe him. He’s going to force you to get a better plan for less money, whether you like it or not.

Marc Perkel, Gilroy

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