Romney doesn’t say it, but middle class decline began with Bush
During his speech at the Republican National Convention, Mitt Romney stated “this Obama economy has crushed the middle class. Family income has fallen by $4,000 ... more Americans wake up in poverty than ever before.” Romney’s statements require comment.
First, with regard to the middle class, a recent report by Pew Social and Demographic Trends does indeed indicate that median household income for the middle class has dropped by about $4,000. However, the report notes that this drop has been occurring over the past 11 years, not just over the Obama presidency, as suggested by Romney.
In fact, the Pew report calls the last 11 years, “the lost decade” for the country’s middle class. The report also notes that over the last 11 years the middle class has suffered not only in income, but also in wealth, which has dropped by about 40 percent.
Next, regarding poverty, it is true that the number of people in poverty has increased over the past four years, however according to the U.S. Census Bureau the number of people in poverty has been increasing steadily over the past 11 years. Moreover, Census Bureau data show that over the past 11 years, while the 99 percent has suffered economically, the 1 percent has prospered with increased income and wealth.
While there are several reasons for this trend in income and wealth inequality, a major cause has been the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. These tax cuts have not created “good-paying jobs” as promised by the Republicans, but rather have enriched the wealthy at the expense of the 99 percent.
Romney wants to blame the economic problems of the middle class and poor solely on the Democrats, while ignoring the fact many of the problems began during the Bush presidency. Also, Romney does not want to acknowledge that while the middle class and poor have suffered economically, the wealthiest Americans have enjoyed increased income and wealth.
If elected, Romney intends to implement further tax cuts for the 1 percent. We should not give him the chance.
Fracking decision can wait for gas prices to firm up
The Sept. 9 opinion page published two conflicting viewpoints, side by side. I liked that very much. As I read each article, I became aware of a single common concern: water.
Engineer Don Cazer identified the need for large volumes during development, as well as the potential risk of groundwater pollution.
Karen Cookson, who lives in the development area, expressed concern over the many possible adverse social, economic and environmental impacts. She concludes that the harm would outweigh the benefits.
Mr. Cazer suggests taking the risk in order to reap the benefits.
I say: “Wait a while! The real question is how and when to develop the natural gas resources of the Marcellus shale.”
The price of natural gas has recently dropped because of the increase in available supplies. A good merchant would not bring to market a product during a glut, but would cleverly wait until the supply became scarce and the price rose. So, let’s wait until the scarcity of gas fully justifies the risks of exploitation.
In the meantime, we should dust off New York’s water resources development studies that I helped create in the 1960s under the aegis of our forward-looking governor, Nelson A. Rockefeller.
We found many potential multiple-use surface water reservoir sites throughout the Marcellus shale region. By harnessing the abundant surface water resources for uses including flood control and power generation, as well as water supply, gas exploitation could proceed with less adverse impact.
This could also be an opportunity for government-private sector cooperative enterprise. If that effort begins soon, it should bear fruit before 2020 — right on time to meet Rockefeller’s expectations.
Let Lower Taxes Now have line on the ballot
The recent lawsuit attempting to disallow a ballot line for the Lower Taxes Now! [party] is quite enlightening.
First, the lawsuit was filed by a so-called Conservative and Republican candidate. Isn’t lowering taxes supposed to be what that candidate should be fighting for?
Second, almost 1,700 voters signed a petition saying they want [county Legislator] Angelo Santabarbara running for state Assembly on the Lower Taxes Now! ballot line.
Whether our individual politics support lowering taxes is one thing. Attempting to thwart the voice of the taxpayers is another.
It appears Mr. Santabarbara’s opponent cannot successfully put his record against Mr. Santabarbara’s, of repeatedly cutting taxes and never voting to raise taxes.
Gerard F. Parisi