I read Peter Goldmark's column "Lessons from New York's near-default" [Opinion, Oct. 20]. I remember when New York was on the brink of financial collapse, and I appreciate his role in fixing it.

But it seemed strange that Goldmark didn't note the difference between the New York situation and the federal situation. New York had to balance the budget, and although it borrowed money, the funds had to be repaid. The federal government can continue printing money and push the obligation down the road, until it reaches the point of no return.

Fitch Ratings warned that it might downgrade the federal government's credit rating, and if we did not do something, it could drop. The battles between Congress and the president are more important than your opinion, which seems to denigrate the reasons behind the bickering.

The truth is that we are spending and creating debt faster than any time in our history. The Senate and the president have given lip service to cutting the deficit, but either they await a miraculous growth of the economy to bail them out, or they hope a future administration will do the unpopular work of cutting entitlements, both personal and corporate, so our children and grandchildren don't suffer from our profligate spending.

Alan Kristel, Cold Spring Harbor


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