Game of chicken over debt ceiling will hurt global economy
When will the Republicans stop playing games with the future of this country and its people and realize what will actually happen if they fail to raise the debt ceiling?
A report from the Bipartisan Policy Center on the debt ceiling has me very concerned if the Republicans continue to follow through on their irresponsible threats.
Failure to raise the debt ceiling isn't just "shutting down the government" until the president caves or the Democrats cut Medicare and Social Security. It is the United States defaulting on its debts; the government of the most powerful economy in the world admitting it is so dysfunctional that it can't be relied upon to pay its debts.
The first thing that will have to be done, [if we are] to acknowledge our debt and raise the debt ceiling, is to decide what will be paid. (Hopefully, this will include Social Security, defense and food stamps.) There are literally millions of checks issued though a computerized program. [Figuring] how to instruct the computer on which to pay will not be easy. What if we inadvertently miss an interest payment on our Chinese debt, proving that we are a risky borrower?
The list of what we [might not] pay is scary: the FBI, nuclear bomb tracking, the FAA, and, of course, the courts will have to close their doors. [It would] certainly be a financial hardship for many people if tax refunds [were] not paid.
The financial markets will be in complete chaos, ensuring that all interest rates will spike at every level.
The last debt ceiling debacle ended up costing us over $19 billion due to higher rates. What [might] this unconscionable action of defaulting cost?
We hear the Republican mantra over and over, "we have to reduce the deficit." They need to realize that defaulting will probably increase the deficit due to this increased cost of borrowing.
Legislators need to understand the devastating consequences of their threats. This is not future spending; this is money they have already spent.
We need to resolve this issue once and for all. Pay what we already owe and then deal with future spending. Republicans need to understand that they are not just playing chicken with our economy; this is the economy of the world and our standing in it.
Comparison of cars and semiautomatics absurd
In his Jan. 4 letter, "Gun ban after killings as illogical as car ban after DWI 'attack,'"David Chew attempts to use sarcasm to illustrate that banning violent weapons makes no more sense than prohibiting vehicle ownership by private citizens, i.e. cars and guns are equally dangerous in society.
Sarcasm, or satire in its literary form, can be very effective in exposing underlying truths or ironies, but this comparison is beyond absurd -- it is laughable. Let's actually compare car ownership to gun ownership.
In order be licensed to drive an automobile, one needs to pass written and driving competency tests, and drive only insured vehicles. Cars must be registered, and they must pass annual safety inspections. We all need automobiles, for transportation to work and daily living activities -- not to enter movie theaters and massacre as many people as possible, nor to be driven to schools to slaughter scores of innocent children, or to kill rival gang members on a daily basis.
The ownership and use of lethal weapons, on the other hand, is just a bit different. To purchase, and use, a semiautomatic, lethal weapon, there are no tests required, and no insurance needed. One needs only to find a gun show, and have enough cash to buy the weapon -- no license or mental health tests required. There is no tracking of gun owners to ensure safety, check gun usage or monitor mental health. Clearly, these weapons are not needed by people for work, school or any other mundane activities. They have one purpose, one intention, i.e. to kill lots of people.
This nonsensical, irrational comparison seems rooted in the desperate attempt by gun lovers to keep their toys, regardless of the carnage and slaughter caused by the horrific incidents of late.
Rein in people’s violent tendencies, not guns
Further restricting law-abiding citizens' [right] to buy firearms will not stop violence, which is truly the monster that needs to be stopped.
Nationally there are over 20,000 gun laws that don't stop criminals; why would more laws? Violence is not dependent on the tools available, which has been proven time and again by countries that enact gun bans.
England and Australia, countries held up as examples of gun control, have significantly higher violent crime rates, and Australia has had an increase in gun violence since the gun bans went into effect. Oddly enough the 15 years before the bans went into effect, gun deaths had dropped by 50 percent.
People talk about guns like they have malice; guns have none. They are simple machines designed to ignite powder moving a small lead or copper projectile out of a barrel. That is the extent of their design; where they are pointed is what determines their use.
People say "there is just no need...." Maybe not for you. I don't see the need for most anyone to own a Hummer, but I don't criticize them for owning it, and many people can be killed by it if the driver has the intent.
Real change will be effected by social interactions, little legislation. Understand what brings people to violence of any form and we start to fix the problem without damaging the rights of good people.
How high county tax hike for Glenville residents?
Benjamin Franklin famously opined that "the only things certain in life are death and taxes." I can't help but think that even he would find the property tax rates of Schenectady County unrealistic.
As the Gazette's Jan. 4 article, "Rotterdam tax rate hike largest in county," highlighted, we are facing some of the highest property tax increases in the Capital Region. I received my [county] property tax bill last week, the [increase] was a whopping 8.5 percent.
As a retiree, this rate is unsustainable. But I'd be willing to bet it's unaffordable for anyone, especially in an area where unemployment is nearly 9 percent.
I am a lifelong Capital Region resident, born and raised in Scotia-Glenville, where I raised two children and spent over two decades as a teacher. I am proud to be part of this great community, and am happy to support the maintenance of it, but during the last decade my property taxes have doubled! I find myself contemplating what many residents have already done -- moving.
When will it stop? And what happened to the tax cap? The heritage of this community is better than this.
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