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Government is biggest thief

I appreciate your inclusion of Rachel Shteir's piece "Our nation of thieves" (Viewpoint, Sept. 18). It correctly highlighted a significant increase in the tolerance for stealing — even noting that theft has become romanticized in Robin Hood and other "heroic quest" portrayals.

While the author bemoans this trend as a potential societal woe, I believe she missed the mark on where tolerance originates. She points to white-collar criminals stealing rare maps and books, and CEOs stealing investment funds. She should have considered the thieveries of our government officials as the real reason we now are so willing to tolerate thieves. Consider recent events. President Bush, with the endorsement of Congress, has just stolen billions of our tax dollars in order to show charity for Katrina victims. In a charitable context, that's charity at the point of a gun.

If we come to expect such thievery from government, why wouldn't we tolerate stealing as commonplace?

William R. Bodine