Letters to the Editor for April 1

Monday, April 1, 2013
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GOP plan to cut our way to fiscal stability lacks necessary balance

Early on March 23, the U.S. Senate approved a budget for 2014, the first by the Senate in four years.

The budget calls for about $1 trillion of tax increases and about $875 billion in spending cuts over the next 10 years. The spending cuts come from reduction in federal health care programs, domestic and military spending and reduced interest on borrowed money.

This budget presents an obvious solution to our country’s financial problems — increasing taxes while cutting spending. This is what an American family would do if they faced financial difficulty, get a part-time job and lower the heat a little bit. Americans know fighting two wars and a severe financial crisis without providing proper funding caused big problems.

As unappealing as it is, most American are not freeloaders and are willing to pay increased taxes if it will get us out of this mess. Unfortunately, Republicans, especially those in the House who must also approve a budget, do not see it this way. Their plan calls for reduced spending only. This is akin to solving your financial problems by turning down the heat, selling the house, stopping food purchases and eliminating six-packs.

The Republican plan calls for major cuts to almost all programs and transforming Medicare into a voucher program for the states. This will effectively destroy Medicare as we know it. Why anyone would suggest eliminating Medicare, which has helped almost all retired Americans over the last 60 years, defies reason.

Medicare does have problems; it’s going bankrupt. But rather than killing the system, let’s fix it. People are living longer now, so why don’t we adjust the age of eligibility for Medicare from 65 to, say, 68 or 70? This only makes sense.

In addition, Medicare is paid for by a 1.45 percent payroll tax on employees and employers. This small amount used to be enough. Now, though, with the high cost of medical care and fewer workers, 1.45 percent won’t cover the costs.

The answer should be obvious, even to a Republican congressman: Increase the payroll tax on the employee and the employer to, say, 2 percent or 3 percent. This will still result in the best and cheapest medical service you can buy.

Let’s tell Congress to fix the system rather than destroy it.

Terry Amrhein

Burnt Hills

More birds than ever in this sanctuary

Re the March 24 front page story, “Where did the birds go?”: They’ve come to our back yard.

Waves of gold and purple finches, pine siskin, and [an] occasional Redpoll. We have a pair of red-bellied woodpeckers and other woodpeckers, a pair of cardinals, an occasional blue jay, lots of chickadees, Junco, Nuthatches and Titmice. It’s like “bird land” here. They perch in our homey locust tree and Bradford tree next door or go to the tall tress in the back.

I feed them black wildflower seed and suet — our seed feeder is usually empty by morning’s end. And we have two marsh hawks that live in a field next door.

I have never seen so many birds. It’s as unusual as seeing none.

Peg Lapo


English-only voting rule doesn’t quite make sense

I’ll admit that as a language teacher, my first response to Don Vanderwarker’s [March 23] and Shirley Guidarelli’s [March 15] suggestions that in order to vote in the United States, one must understand English, was a negative one. But upon further reflection, I think they may be onto something.

Perhaps we should make it a requirement that before anyone (as in Congress, for one example) votes or serves on committees affecting matters in the Middle East, they should speak Arabic and Hebrew.

Perhaps before anyone votes on matters concerning science (women’s health, geology, climatology, etc.) they should have to take a little test to prove they actually know something about the realities. If we could have a knowledgeable electorate, it would be a good thing!

I do have a question though: Why would one think that people can’t be educated and well informed through languages other than English?

Robin Schnell


Better editing might improve newspapers' fate

[According to the March 22 Wall Street Journal], “the decision ... clears the way for 21st CMH Acquisition Corp. to buy the assets of the Journal Register Co. for $114 million in secured debt and $6 million case [sic] .”

That sentence, in part, may explain the slow demise of newspapers in America.

Dennis McClune


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April 1, 2013
4:59 a.m.
Phils2008 says...

Terry, maybe some fairy dust will fix our budget problems but that's as ridiculous as your Obama talking points. More money has never been the answer to fixing any of Washingtons problems. The fraud, waste and abuse of the money we already pay is overwhelming. Democrats refuse to implement anything to fix that and only spend their time devising new ways to steal more of what the working man makes. If you would just open your eyes, you would see they are only interested in plans that get them votes not fixing problems,lowering taxes or cutting spending. We just had an election that disproves your theory that most Americans are not freeloaders. Democrats, have worked diligently to create a freeloader society and have finally gotten us to the 50% point that ensures their continued electability. You must be living under a rock!

April 1, 2013
7:01 a.m.
muggy says...

Hey Terry. Remember Obama's "one-time" stimulus package of spending in 2009? It was $800 billion dollars. It was going to be the shot-in-the-arm to "stimulate" our moribund economy. We had "shovel-ready" projects lined up. We had Joe Biden going around the country talking about "Stimulus Summer." All those road signs highlighted the myriad construction projects (only 6% of the stimulus went to this, but I digress), courtesy of the heralded Stimulus package. Unemployment would shoot up above 8% if we didn't do it! (never mind that it has stayed at that level) That supposed "one-time" expenditure is embedded in the baseline spending of the Federal budget. How about removing the $800 billion dollars from the budget? What do you think Terry? How about we tackled the $125 billion dollars in waste, fraud, abuse, and duplicate services identified by the Congressional Budget Office? What's your answer? Typical leftist: RAISE TAXES. REALLY?

April 1, 2013
8:36 a.m.
wmarincic says...

Terry Amrhein When I consider all of the money I pay out in tax and fees including property, phones, cable, gasoline, store, excise on food and whatever else, I pay probably 70% of my income. As a maker as opposed to a taker, I'm NOT willing to pay more taxes.

April 1, 2013
4:56 p.m.
BILLK518 says...

Phils2008,muggy, wmarincic.

Typical radical Republican gibberish.
The actions begun in the later days of the Bush and expanded by the Obama administration saved the country from a major depression. In the 1930's the unemployment reached 25%. We didn't fully recover until the spending stimulus provided by the expenditures for WW2.

April 1, 2013
5:04 p.m.
wmarincic says...

OK BILLK518 go waste your money and leave mine alone. Typical liberal socialist gibberish.

April 2, 2013
6:08 a.m.
Phils2008 says...

billk528, typical liberal spin. You no more know we were saved from a depression anymore then you know Obama saved or created a billion jobs. Fact is Obama's mere presence in and abuse of the White House has spread or created more depression then the reign of the other worst President in the history of this country, Jimmy Carter.
He is by far the laziest most corrupt self serving person we could have in there at a time of great need. Golfing, Vacations, Parties, thats all he's about. While people suffer he lines his pockets and exhausts himself on the perks of office. If you werent one of the 50% free loadering, you just might care. He is doing what all Socialist leaders do, play and gorge on the working man.

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