LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Tough choices must be made

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This space has been seen many "movement toward socialism" missives since Mr. Obama became President.

Writers have predicted a quickstep march to a socialist hell on Earth. God save us, we could end up like Sweden (chuckle).

These writers blame Obama for all the job losses and refuse to admit the fact that eight years of the Bush administration had anything to do with where we are now.

Selective memory apparently can ignore the $1.5 trillion tax cut, primarily for the rich, another trillion for two off-the-books wars.

The greatest feat of memory, however, is forgetting that the global financial meltdown occurred on President Bush's watch. Forgetfulness, or selective filtering of information, extends to current events. This very day Goldman Sachs is still using the credit default swaps and other fanciful derivatives that brought the world to its knees. That's crazy.

The left often gets tangled up in its own brand of demonology and sees a different path to hell. Both sides tend to ignore the obvious.

An obvious fact is that the United States produces less than we did in the past. We now buy things from China, incurring ever increasing debt, and hand the borrowed money over to oil producing countries, many of whom despise us. This simply can not come to a good end.

Seventy percent of the U.S. economy is consumer driven. Remember when President Bush asked us to "go shopping" the day after 9/11?

Before the crash most Americans were not saving. Most were buying cars, houses, Nintendos, TVs and, in general, too much "stuff" they couldn't afford. This style of living became unsupportable for many after the 2008 crash. Bankruptcies and foreclosures skyrocketed.

If we want to turn things around, we should produce more here (which would significantly raise the prices of items).

Without a self-defeating "drill baby drill" mentality, we should cut our dependence on foreign oil (there is no painless, cheap way to do that). Consumers need to save more for rainy days and retirement (which would mean buying much less "stuff").

All the demonizing and "to hell in a handbasket" talk simply obscures the really hard, unpleasant, and unpopular things we need to do to get America back on an economic even keel.

There is no easy way out, and the colors of "The Truth" are shades of gray.

Norm Osterman
Walla Walla

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