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LETTERS: Wall Street crowd not alone or even unusual in cheating the system

Those now pointing fingers at Wall Street as the bad guys in our nation are pointing at many good, law-abiding citizens who are doing a good, honest job playing by the rules. There are, indeed, some who are bilking the system for all they can get out of it, but the percentage doing this tracks the percentage of people in all levels of society who are stealing and cheating every opportunity they get.

Looking back over my 59-plus years of work, I have known of cheats in every profession: in politics, banking, insurance, health care, education, child care, religion, engineering, construction, auto maintenance, community organizations, service organizations, the military, psychiatry/counseling, mail delivery, etc., etc. There is no organization where all the people are clean.

In the context of this writing, a cheat is anyone who takes that which does not belong to him/her. So, when we point fingers at others, we need to be aware that some of our fingers are pointing back at us.

Cheating has been going on since people first began to be in relationships, and it will go on until there are no more of us. We need to be aware that many people have trouble knowing what is right and wrong, and some simply don't care.

Some people say, when we do something, we do it because, in our particular circumstance, we believe it is the right thing to do. So, it does not matter if something belongs to someone else: we will take it because we want it. Thus, the man/woman on Wall Street manipulates the system for personal gain even if it is dishonest. So does the person who robs the convenience store. So do my neighbors who took mortgage money knowing they could not repay it. Likewise, the minister who embezzles church funds.

Is the person who takes millions more dishonest than the one who steals only $50? No! They are equally guilty of doing the wrong thing. The only difference is the size of their crime.

The problems with our economy are shared by us all. The economy in past years has done quite well while some fat cats have taken millions, so, to lay the blame exclusively on them is inappropriate. If what they did caused our economic problems, the decline would have happened years ago.

The thing which really triggered our economic mess was giving mortgage money to people who could not pay it back and who had no intention of doing so. When they did not pay it back, the lenders could not pay their bills, thus the collapse took place. And, who created the scenario allowing this to happen? None other than the politicians who occupy Congress and the administration. They are the chief culprits in our economic troubles, but, as usual, they are trying to deflect their guilt by encouraging and supporting those whose fingers are pointing at Wall Street.

Those who now occupy Wall Street are ill-informed, and, like the rest of us, need to understand that building our nation is not a matter of blaming others for our misfortune, and asking them to take care of us. In a free society, life is what we make of it, not what somebody else does for or to us. In my long life, I have never known anyone to fail who diligently pursued an education, and, with determination and drive, worked to make something of themselves. This is the stuff of the American Dream, and it has been available to all citizens during these past 50 years.

If we are going to restore our economy, we must all do our part in making it happen. If we demand that only one part of us straighten up our act, the needed work will not get done. We cannot expect Wall Street to clean up its act unless all of us clean up our own acts. It does not mater what level of society we are in, we cannot have a prosperous and well-functioning nation without us all doing what is right. A reality check is indeed needed by us all.

-- Roger Bolton

Conyers