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A Dream Undeterred
Fareed Zakaria's recipe for restoring the American Dream is far too rational and requires too much sacrifice [Nov. 1]. Instead, this country will increasingly rely upon intimidation and military force to preserve its consumptive way of life.
Ray Finch,
Lawrence, Kans., U.S.

I found it amazing that in his article suggesting a "radical rebalancing of American government so it can free up resources" to help re-create the American Dream, Zakaria failed to mention military costs, which account for over 50% of the federal government's discretionary spending. Until that changes, finding money for important domestic investments will be extremely difficult.
Dennis Harbaugh,
waterloo, iowa, u.s.

Your article, with its U.S.-India comparison, contains not a word about race or racism. African Americans and Hispanics have a far more difficult time than whites do in moving up or even staying put. Until we recognize the institutional racism that characterizes our educational, housing and other systems and make necessary reforms, the American Dream will recede for more than a third of our population.
Chester Hartman, Poverty & Race Research Action Council,
Washington

Zakaria's article on the American Dream shows how little the country has learned from the financial crisis. The U.S. should shed its preoccupation with wealth and instead design templates for self-restraint. Otherwise, America's dream will be a recurring nightmare for us all.
Colin V. Smith,
Rainford, England

Zakaria's article provided a much needed perspective during a fear-riddled campaign week. He illuminated the big picture, something that takes considerable insight at a time of global social change.
Monica Day,
Onondaga, Mich., U.S.

It was unbelievably refreshing to read a sober and thoughtful article about the challenges we face and some meaningful suggestions about what really needs to be done to fix them. Most folks still seem to expect a magic, easy solution, and they will vote for anyone who tells them what they want to hear. Thanks for saying what needs to be said.
John Wood,
Portland, Ore., U.S.

Zakaria omitted one very important factor holding back investment and industry motivation in America: litigiousness. Who would want to develop a new product, taking normal commercial risks, only to be exposed to ruin for one tiny mistake?
Ian H. Bane,
Sydney

Sarkozy's Pension Problem
A fundamental reform of the French pension system is necessary, urgent and inevitable ["Reform, Oui. Sarko, Non," Nov. 1]. It is a question of survival on a national level. President Nicolas Sarkozy has the courage to implement unpopular reforms without regard to his short-term popularity rating. Come 2012, the civic unrest will be forgotten and the reforms will stand Sarkozy in good stead for a second term.
Karl H. Pagac,
Villeneuve-Loubet, France

Pension protests have been growing and reforms have been pending, yet France's two main parties have never considered where they have fallen short. Now Sarkozy does the same. There are certainly more demonstrations to come.
Dan Chellumben,
Amboise, France

Got Candor?
Joe Klein's penchant for lampooning conservatives assures me there must be plenty that Senator Ted Kaufman has done that Klein omits in his glowing characterization ["Mr. Smith Has Gone to Washington," Nov. 1]. Yet having said that, I think Kaufman's frank comment on Wall Street regulators, that "the cops weren't doing their job," was spot-on. It was a bipartisan failure. The message we should all take from this is that the more we ask government to do for us, the more chances we give it to mess up.
Hal Pate,
Atlanta

Klein mocks Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell for "learning, to her surprise ... that the U.S. Constitution contains a provision that separates church and state." Klein should reread his Constitution; it contains no such provision. The Constitution does bar the establishment of a national religion and guarantees the right to free religious exercise. Nowhere, however, is there a provision separating church and state.
Carol Lesnek-Cooper,
Brighton, Mich., U.S.

Joe Klein responds: The so-called establishment clause excludes religions from having a state function. As we've seen in recent years, that leaves open the possibility that the state can contract with religious organizations to provide some limited social services. But the standard interpretation of this provision clearly prohibits religious organizations from having any part in the decisionmaking apparatus of the state.