A 1970 comic strip quote, "We have met the enemy and he is us," aptly describes our nation.

A 1970 comic strip quote, "We have met the enemy and he is us," aptly describes our nation.

Though we agonize over who shall serve as president, it matters little when 95 percent of our dysfunctional Congress consistently wins re-election. With minimal public debate or discussion, the Congress proved derelict in allowing President Bush (Cheney?) to sacrifice American lives in the Mideast cesspool of religious zealotry.

The Brown University Cost of War project estimates the actual cost of the Iraq fiasco at more than $3 trillion. Realistically, the report includes costs of caring for returning veterans through the year 2050.

This $3 trillion expenditure plus another $600 billion expended in Afghanistan and Pakistan (to date) led to our nation's current financial predicament. During this extended period of utter waste (of American lives and dollars), Republican fiscal conservatives concentrated on tax cuts for our wealthiest citizens (often themselves) while hypocritically voting to increase military expenditures.

With the presidential race serving as a distraction, 95 percent of the unsavory incumbents in Congress were again re-elected by Ignoramus Q. Public. Pogo was correct. We are indeed the enemy. — Robert Warren, Medford

The fiscal "showdown" has everyone panicked. But we're about to throw the baby out with the bath water for need of a little context.

Our national deficit is a problem, no one can argue differently. So why not discuss the real causes of the deficit? The real causes are high unemployment, rising household debt and stagnant wages.

Together these are widening the wealth gap by shrinking the middle class. Without good jobs, American families no longer have the buying power to contribute to a healthy economy.

We have a choice. Address the real problems with aggressive job creation and investments in our people to restore strong economic growth and healthy tax revenues, and ease the need for government assistance. Or, cut budgets for education, jobs and poverty alleviation programs and feed the problems that landed us here in the first place.

The first option provides a path out of economic crisis by building on what has always made us strong: good jobs and the industry of our people. We've already watched the second option fail in the austerity and national debt trap of struggling European countries.

Congress should fix the real problems, not feed them. — Tracy Milam, Central Point