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Letters are posted as we receive them during the week, and before they are printed in the paper, so check back frequently to see new letters. If you'd like to send a letter to the editor, use this postmarks submission form, or email your letter directly to mail@austinchronicle.com. Thanks for your patience.
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Concentration of Wealth Stymies Political Change

RECEIVED Tue., Nov. 29, 2011

Dear Editor,
    I disagree with Adam Johnson’s statement [“Postmarks,” Nov. 25] that Latin America’s main problem is crony capitalism rather than wealth concentration.
    Just as in the U.S., the concentration of wealth in Latin America stymies political change. In 2006, Mexican presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador promised sweeping reform. A group of Mexico’s wealthiest businessmen responded by illegally financing a massive media campaign portraying him as a “danger to Mexico.” López Obrador lost the election by 0.56%, and Mexico’s establishment remains firmly entrenched.
    Similarly, Mexican Carlos Slim, declared by Forbes to be the world’s richest person, uses his vast wealth to deter any government regulation which would undermine his telecommunications empire. The resulting high telecommunications costs discourage investors.
    Finally, Latin America’s high degree of wealth concentration undermines sound economic development. Billionaires such as Carlos Slim simply don’t buy that many TVs, stoves, or houses, thus dampening domestic demand and job creation.
Philip Russell

Don't Hold Fellow Man in Contempt

RECEIVED Sun., Nov. 27, 2011

Dear Editor,
    Every day I drive past people standing on the corner. At first I felt sorry for them, but after a period of time I came to feel contempt. In the words of our neighborhood newsletter “some feel sorry for these people, but if they observed them for one day I think they would change their mind.” It is true, I watched them sitting on the edge of the road, drinking, littering, a bit intimidating on a dark night when you pull up to the light.
    Then there is Robbie. I saw Robbie whenever I was getting a cup of coffee in the neighborhood shop. He was obviously homeless, dirty, weathered, and unkempt. I tried to pretend I didn’t see him, preferring to see the pretty barista instead. I barely responded to his greeting, fearing it would be followed by the inevitable request for a handout.
    Yet I began to notice something about him. First off, I never saw him doing anything disrespectful to himself or others. He washed windows for a cup of coffee and had a good rapport with the local businesses. He didn’t ever approach or bother anyone, though he would stand on the side of the road.
    I found out later Robbie was a Vietnam veteran. Several people had offered him a place to stay. Yet even in the bitterest cold he wouldn’t accept gifts of clothes or offers for shelter. In fact, he takes very little and is willing to work for what he gets. I don’t know why he lives that way, but he has done nothing to deserve my contempt.
    As a Christian, I feel it was wrong to hold this fellow human being in contempt. As an American, I think we owe this man a debt. Maybe we don’t spare some change for these people; perhaps it is enabling them to continue bad choices. Yet we must remember they are often struggling with mental illness and hard times; at the least, you could say they have poor coping skills. We must remember not to judge, lest we be judged. So the next time you see one of those people, try not to be the contemptuous ass I have been.
Thomas Vinson
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