'The Future of Affluence': Robert J. Samuelson's article drew praise for what one reader called its "sobering assessment of a more responsible and less extravagant future for Americans." Others sounded off on their own financial turmoil. "I'm disgusted by my own overreliance on credit and I'm sickened by the $143 billion AIG bailout," wrote a reader who recently lost his job. Others criticized the juxtaposition of our cover story with our TIP SHEET gift guide. Wrote one, "If I want to look for items that are completely out of my reach, I would be reading Vogue."
On 'The Change Agent': "Andrew Jackson was perhaps one the greatest presidents to hold office. The first 'citizen-president' representing the common man believed strongly in keeping too much power out of the hands of the wealthy."
Honesty and Economic Woes
It is not easy for me at retirement to overcome my natural inclination for quiet contemplation; but I will not remain deaf to the appeal of a well-written article. Today the barometer for honest information is at an all time low. Robert Samuelson's cover story "The Future of Affluence" (Nov. 10) was accurate, honest and informative. Fortunately he is not one of the many who commonly distort the facts to win approval of his readers. His purity and courage of thought impress me.
G. D. Magness
Boca Raton, Fla.
Robert Samuelson's focus is on the threats to economic growth that have appeared lately. It has been an unquestioned paradigm that there must be growth to provide jobs, higher incomes and more products and services. One of the threats to growth is global warming. The solution is to develop technology and more fuel-efficient cars and to invest in carbon "cap and trade." These are plausible goals but they're insufficient and too long-term. What is needed are drastic, immediate carbon-release reductions that will come from gasoline rationing and the mandating of limited travel, a decrease in new construction, and the rapid development of a national transportation network, to name just a few essential measures. These are the steps, anti-growth as they are, that will stop runaway global warming. We either stop growth now, voluntarily, or it will happen under uncontrollable conditions that are forecast for us in the near future.
You present the term "Affluent deprivation" in the cover story. Does that mean we won't be able to purchase Verdura's Night and Day cuff links ($5,750) or a LuvME2 pet carrier ($290) among other items in TIP SHEET'S Holiday Gift Guide? How ironic to have a cover article about the future of affluence and the promotion of expensive gifts in the same issue?
s Strategist Has His Say
In 1996 when I was the lead strategist for President Clinton's campaign, I benefited from the tendency for everything to be perfect in the winning campaign and awful in the losing campaign ("President Obama: 44.," Nov. 17). This year, quite the opposite. But while I share my responsibility for the loss, many of the incidents in the accounts of it this year are not accurate, based on a system of anonymous sources that can be gamed by any two participants with a score to settle or a history to rewrite. I did not for example, trash Howard Wolfson after the Geffen incident; quite the opposite, I defended him. Everyone on the senior team had access to the polling and the ability to ask all the questions they wanted. And I issued no Iowa turnout estimates at all—they came from the local team and experts hired to make those calls. I did urge that we take on Barack Obama early, before he was established, and that was opposed by Patti Solis Doyle, who then went to work for the Obama campaign. When we did air the 3 a.m. ad and we took on his "bitter" comments, the campaign was transformed with added edge, fight and momentum, and we won more delegates from primaries—only by that point it proved too late to overcome fully the early caucus-delegate edge Obama had amassed.
Mark J. Penn
Former Chief Strategist
HRC for President Campaign
Play Ball for the Cure
What a great idea Michael Goldsmith proposes in his MY TURN essay (Nov. 10) to have Major League Baseball proclaim July 4, 2009, ALS-Lou Gehrig Day "Batting for the Cure"! While there are many studies underway, massive new funding is needed to conquer this dreaded disease. As someone who lost his wife of 48 years to ALS last year, I can testify to the helplessness that is felt by those afflicted. There is no easy diagnosis, no treatment and no cure for ALS. Many of us have held walks, baseball games, bake sales, etc., to raise funds to work for the cure. We have appealed to Congress and our state legislatures. There are baseball teams, such as the Phillies, who have dramatically helped ALS fundraising. But what a day July 4, 2009, could be if it became ALS-Lou Gehrig Day! The Michael Goldsmiths and their families could find some hope in a world with very little now.
John H. Gauger
In an article in the Oct. 20 issue ("Ready, Aim, Fire!"), we should have noted that an accompanying illustration of Barack Obama was based on original artwork created by Christopher Cox. We apologize for not crediting Mr. Cox.
In chapter III of the "President Obama, 44." issue (Nov. 17), we wrote that Bill Clinton "compared Obama to Jesse Jackson, who had won the South Carolina primary in 1988 and 1992 by appealing directly to black votes." In fact, Jackson ran in '84 and '88, not '88 and '92. And they were caucuses, not primaries.
In Tip Sheet's "The Great Holiday Countdown" (Nov. 10), we misstated the Web site where readers can buy wallsize stickers of the Jonas Brothers band. The correct address is fathead.com. NEWSWEEK regrets the errors.