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Letters in a computer with red mailbox flag - 
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Tess Vigeland: It's Wednesday. Time to hear from you.

This week's big story is, of course, the federal budget deficit. Commentator Robert Samuelson gave us his take that we are to blame for expecting too much from our government, which in turn, makes promises it can't keep.

Danny Collum of Waddy, Ky., says the Bush-era tax cuts deserved more attention.

Danny Collum: "We can't afford it" or its blunter cousin "we're broke" has become the received cliche of the moment. We could afford our current level of services, and lots more to boot, if politicians were willing to tax the people who have benefited so richly from the American system.

Last week, economist Lawrence White gave his ideas for what should replace mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. He thinks the mortgage market can largely be left to the private sector.

Rick Moncauskas from Encinitas, Calif., wondered whether that faith in the market is misplaced.

Rick Moncauskas: What will happen is what always seems to happen: we end up with a kind of de facto oligopoly. Look at oil and health care, telecom, credit cards and airlines. We'll get the same thing with mortgages. That is, a small group of companies who have decided what they want to sell and won't offer what is best for the country, just what's most profitable to them.

Also on the program this week, shopping malls. They're losing tenants, even though people are buying more stuff these days, partly because so much shopping has moved online.

Kathryn Prybylski of New York City senses an opportunity here.

Kathryn Prybylski: I think the vacancy high is a chance to reconsider the form and for those developers who overbuilt to really and truly consider mall retrofits that fit in the character, or create a character, of a community.

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