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Fix the system
Fix the system
Joseph Giangiacomo, 67, professor, Columbia, Mo.

No one really knows President-elect Obama. It will take time to see how he reacts to a complex situation. His victory is a mandate but I'm not certain it was a vote for him or a vote against the Republican Party, which has been transformed by President Bush; Bush rarely exercised his veto power on spending, which escalated during his eight years in office.

The financial markets have been corrupted worldwide; it was not only the U.S. housing market. Look at the hedge funds; the manipulation of oil prices; the high debt load in the U.S. and elsewhere; poor savings by Americans; and the cost of higher education, which offers a product that is a disgrace despite being the most expensive in the industrialized world.

We need honesty and integrity within our political system, which is oxymoronic. The special interests groups, which are innumerable, have a grip on Washington. President-elect Obama has many IOUs to pay back for his victory -- he is already campaigning for 2012. If you look at his speech election night, he said, "our problems will not be solved in the next several years."

At the end of the '90s, before the end of the technology bubble, the U.S. was competitive, productive and efficient. The treatment for our system-wide "disease" cannot come about without some pain. We need capitalism to be productive with goods, services and technology. If Obama curtails this "goose that lays the golden egg," which made our nation economically strong, it is anyone's guess what will be the consequences.

There is so much to be done socially, politically and ethically, but what a great country. I think the rest of the world is envious and jealous of the scope of our freedom and opportunities. We demonstrate that every four years. My father was an immigrant: He loved Italy, but he loved America more.

NEXT: Right in the bull's-eye

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