"The price of greed" is great reporting [Sept. 29]. Andy Serwer and Allan Sloan compressed a staggering amount of information into five pages and still made this trajectory of avarice remarkably clear. Now that I think I understand it, I wish I didn't feel so angry. Edward Claymore, LAGUNA WOODS, CALIF.
Where has the government been? Remember Ronald Reagan's mantra: Regulation is bad. The Reagan, Bush I and Bush II administrations believed in three main things: deregulation, tax cuts that provide little relief for most Americans and government subsidies for huge corporations. John McCain now has a "comprehensive" plan for the economy that begins with firing the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Yet in September his initial response to this crisis was, once again, to make the Bush tax cuts permanent and to increase Federal Government support for corporate America. Maybe McCain hasn't noticed, but this isn't working. Ruth Parente, MIDDLETOWN, CONN.
The government is much more responsible for this mess than Wall Street is, by refusing to reform Fannie and Freddie in 2005 and by allowing subprime mortgage loans to be made to unqualified buyers. Forrest S. Walters, ERIE, PA.
The federal government can and should encourage buyers to head back into the real estate market by announcing that people who buy a home during the next year will be exempt from federal income tax if and when they later resell that home for a profit. Driven by the profit motive--and tax-free profit at that--real estate investors and others would soon begin snapping up short sales, foreclosures and any other bargains they could find. Unsold housing inventories and mortgage foreclosures would decline, and the housing market would be on its way to recovery. Good old-fashioned capitalism would again save the day. Charles Lingenfelter, CARLSBAD, CALIF.
It is too simplistic to blame greed for the financial mess. The fault is a broader human trait: the reluctance or inability to consider the downside of a situation that has so many attractive features. The financial products at issue were profitable, and people were getting houses. Any problems that arose would be taken care of tomorrow. Wonderful invention, tomorrow! Kenneth Viste, BOISE, IDAHO
I am from China, where it is extremely difficult for leaders to apologize publicly for the mistakes they make. I always thought Americans were much better in this respect. However, I wonder why there has been no one from Wall Street or the White House who would apologize to the American people or even to the global community for the horrible financial mess we are now facing--someone who would have the guts to stand up and say, "I am sorry for my mishandling, my misjudgment, my negligence." Wang Zhixue, MONTEREY PARK, CALIF.
A Fight to End Maternal Deaths
Thanks to Vivienne Walt for the thought-provoking article on maternal mortality in Freetown and the whole developing world [Sept. 29]. This issue is a priority for our people, and we will be committed to staying the course until we see results. But governments definitely have a central role. Keep up the good work! Rashid Abdulai, FREETOWN, SIERRA LEONE
The scope of the maternal mortality crisis is magnified by the fact that it's a crisis that can be solved. One of the largest contributors to maternal deaths in the developing world is unintended pregnancy. More than 200 million women would like to limit childbearing but have no access to safe, effective birth control. This results in 70 million to 80 million unintended pregnancies every year. Public-health experts estimate that almost half of all maternal deaths could be averted by universal access to contraceptives. The U.S., which should lead the way, has instead placed more roadblocks in the way of poor women who want to use birth control. Since 1995, U.S. funding for overseas family-planning clinics has declined nearly 40%. In the same period, the number of women in their childbearing years has grown by 275 million. It's time for a renewed commitment to family-planning. Brian Dixon, Vice President, Population Connection, WASHINGTON
Of Winners and Losers
I don't know where Mark Halperin spent his week, but here in the real world, McCain--a "winner" on The Page--looked lost and frantic [Sept. 29]. He praised our economic fundamentals, then redefined them. He opposed the AIG bailout until he was for it. He attacked the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, then confused it with the Federal Election Commission. He even misplaced Spain. Senator Barack Obama, by contrast, was calm and reassuring, meeting with economic grownups and continuing his longtime advocacy of the kind of realistic regulations that might have helped prevent the financial catastrophe we find ourselves in. If ever there was a week the Democrats won, this was it. Jeffrey J. Mariotte, DOUGLAS, ARIZ.
The Art of the Campaign
Joe Klein claims there is little "moral equivalency" between McCain's brand of lying and Obama's, with the former's ranging anywhere from the "annoying to the sleazy" [Sept. 29]. And Klein could think of only one instance when Obama crossed the line (though never calling it a lie), whereas McCain has turned it into an art form. Absent from the list of Obama's "lies" is his declaration that McCain actually is O.K. with the war in Iraq continuing for 100 years if need be. That pronouncement far exceeds any exaggerations from the McCain camp. The media's love affair with Obama is well documented. Nevertheless, TIME magazine should at least attempt objectivity. Hirbod Rashidi, LOS ANGELES
At last, someone is smart enough to address publicly the nastiness of the McCain campaign. Klein has spelled it out exactly as it is. I cannot help wondering if his age and melanoma history have caught up with this man, resulting in an inability to be rational. One day, he is very cordial and soft-spoken; another day, he is very harsh and condemning. If he is elected, we will not have four more years of the Bush Doctrine but four more years of Bush, Cheney, Karl Rove and Donald Rumsfeld rolled into one. God help us. Mary Helen Haskell, BLOOMINGTON, ILL.
It's Not Easy Being Green
I read your recent article about General Motors' Chevrolet Volt with disbelief [Sept. 29]. There was no acknowledgment that four companies--Aptera, Miles Electric Vehicles, Tesla and Think--plan on bringing fully electric vehicles to the U.S. marketplace before GM does. In the future, perhaps you could research a little deeper! Alexander Fox, CHARLESTON, S.C.