Congress should lead by example or be voted out
I understand that Congress and especially the Tea Party supporters want smaller government and reduced spending. Do they need to be reminded they are the legislative branch of government?
Congress needs to lead by example. Members should reduce their staffs, cut out their pork barrel projects and stop building monuments to themselves.
Perfect examples are the rural airports pushed by former Pennsylvania Rep. John Murtha and Kentucky Rep. Hal Rogers and the Alaskan bridge to nowhere.
Once elected to Congress one represents the best interests of all the people, whether Democrat or Republican. It appears Congress only cares about party politics and being re-elected.
It is absurd that those who represent us have the right to vote themselves automatic salary increases, exceptional benefits and retirement packages. Since the voting public puts them in office, we should also be able, through referendum, to determine their salaries, benefits, retirement packages and term limits.
If you and I had a job approval rating of 13 percent, as Congress has, we would probably lose our jobs. Perhaps it is time to vote all incumbents out of their offices.
Get real, Tea Party
It is time for the Tea Party to become a legitimate political party and stop hiding behind the skirt of the Republican Party.
I predict the movement would not get 20 percent of the popular vote if it ran its own candidate, yet it is able to hold the country hostage by strangling Republicans.
So, there is the Tea Party challenge: Become a legitimate political party and see how popular its views are with voters. If not, it is simply another group of angry loudmouths.
Progressives on a smear trail
Progressives are at it again with their dutiful foot soldiers on letter campaigns. When they can't debate issues with fact and reason, they smear and slander.
One recent letter claimed that " 'Teapublican' representatives ... do not believe in compromise, because they are at war with America." Well, what about Barack Obama and his fellow progressives? Since they did not compromise on health care reform, they must be at war with America.
"Progressives" is the chosen name because elitists of that group are moving forward. When you move forward, you also move away from something. In this case, they are moving away from our Constitution and Declaration of Independence.
The entire social safety net the letter mentioned has been progressing for 80 years though it cannot be cited in any founding document. This simply is not a function of our federal government.
Eighty years of moving away from our Constitution has amassed a soon-to-be $17 trillion debt. It's not that we want that form of government to fail. It has failed. Not only here but everywhere it has been tried throughout the course of world history.
Now it's time for 80 years of smaller, limited federal government. That sounds like compromise. Let's have that debate instead of smears.
Driving us off a cliff
I once read about buffalo hunters and how they drove herds of buffalo over the edge of cliffs. I would like to suggest that this is exactly what is being done to the American people.
Pretty soon, President Barack Obama will be able to stand with his cronies and look down on the carnage they have caused.
If you don't have the money you can't spend the money. They talk about cutting back on military pensions and benefits, cutbacks on Social Security, everything that the working man and woman depend on, yet they keep letting illegal immigrants claim benefits, medical care and subsidized housing.
Immigrants are swarming across this country like locusts, and now California wants to give them college grants. You know they won't pay them back, they will take their knowledge back to Mexico just like the money they earn here goes back to buy and build houses for retirement.
All these politicians making the decisions that are destroying the American way of life are not affected — their nests are lined.
I find it ironic that the people who make decisions that affect our lives and make them so much harder don't have a clue what our lives are like. First they need to walk a mile in our shoes. It wouldn't be long before they had some very sore feet.
Stop pointing fingers
The Tea Party movement is more dangerous to the United States and democracy than Osama bin Laden ever was.
It's alarming to see lawmakers' allegiance to anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist and the billionaires who set up the Tea Party PACs, instead of to their constituents.
Tea Party obstructionist tactics brought us to the brink of default and led to lowering of our credit rating. Why won't they admit responsibility for their actions instead of pointing fingers at the administration, which is trying to solve problems?
Discourse lacks decorum
It is very hard to read the hate-filled letters to the editor you choose to print with no proof to back up many of the claims made. Name-calling and conspiracy theories don't help anyone and only succeed in dividing us further.
No one can deny that we have a problem with government spending and waste. When average, hardworking, law-abiding, taxpaying Americans speak out against the size, wastefulness and intrusiveness of government they are now being labeled terrorists.
We all have to recognize that there is a difference between want and need, responsibility and irresponsibility. When it comes to discourse, why can't people just be nice?
It's so simple.
Mary Ann Gill
Pay us back
I would like Congress members to explain to those of us who have worked decades why they refer to Social Security as an entitlement and what right they had to borrow from the fund and give it away to those who never worked, don't work, won't work and will never work?
The government never paid a penny into my Social Security over 43½ years. What right did they have even touching it?
Why is it we never hear them talking about a true entitlement like city, county, state and federal retirements? They always say "taxpayer-funded systems" when they refer to those entitlements. That, after all, makes it an entitlement.
Come on Rep. Ben Chandler and Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, explain to us your thinking, or lack of thinking. We now need badly for you to replenish what you have taken from us. You won't protect our borders. You won't demand that English be the language of this nation.
Sen. Harry Reid and Rep. Nancy Pelosi want to legalize illegal immigrants so they can remain on their thrones even though it would mean the end of our system of government, a nation burdened with taxes and more being taken from citizens.
Nothing should be given to government workers and elected officials that the private sector does not enjoy. They are supposed to represent the private sector, not dominate it.
Listening for real solutions
I am just flabbergasted that the American press and the government are going to let this country fold. Recovery, I have heard. Stalled economy, I have heard. Get the good tech and green jobs, I have heard. Cut the waste, I have heard. The answers I have heard are a bunch of fairy tales that are going to have a sad ending for the masses out here.
I don't blame Barack Obama. I blame the financial system of the last 60 years. People who rely on the social services left to starve and be thrown out in the streets for not paying the bills? Think that happened overnight?
I think the country is folding because you can't keep this system running.
Media, quit playing along and ask a few hard questions.
Floyd Calvin Shipley
Taxation moral if gains are not
A letter Aug. 16 asked if it was morally fair to increase the tax on the rich even if it was economically essential. I would simply respond with the following questions.
■ Is it morally fair to lay off workers solely to increase one's income?
■ Is it morally fair to require workers to do their work and a laid-off co-worker's tasks too in order to increase profits and consequently one's own income?
■ Is it morally fair to outsource jobs, costing hundreds of workers their livelihoods, simply to increase one's profits and income?
I don't think so. If increased income is the result of this type of decision, then I think increased taxes for the people who have gained wealth this way is not only economically essential but morally just.
Getting back to basics
According to Republican politicians, lowering taxes on the rich will create jobs. George W. Bush lowered their tax rates, Barack Obama kept the lower rates. Where are the jobs?
Unemployment was much lower with the Bill Clinton tax rates, Why don't we go back to something that was successful and see if that would work again?
If a working family can live pretty well earning $60,000 a year, shouldn't somebody making $500,000 pay more and still live well?
Why do our representatives think the only way to save money is by taking away from Americans? First, we should cut all foreign aid, fix our problems at home, then if we have anything left be charitable to other countries. Should we cut Social Security, education, etc., while we are sending aid to Pakistan?
An obvious place to cut
Dominance by the nation's rich and their lackeys has led to cuts in federal spending to help those who aren't rich to be paid for by others who aren't rich either.
I have been surprised not to read of cuts in an obvious category: foreign aid. While someone would relish pointing out that those millions (billions?) of dollars are a tiny portion of the federal budget, those dollars would be welcomed by millions of unemployed citizens if even some of the money were transferred, instead of cut, and then used to boost domestic employment.
In connection with cutting foreign aid, why can't we have legislation to cut cheap foreign production jobs to boost domestic employment? Oh, whoops, refer back to top line.
David O. Woolverton
It's not our money
It is taken as a truism by Tea Party members that when government taxes us it is taking our money and therefore redistributing wealth. "It's your money" was a mantra we frequently heard George W. Bush utter when advocating for lower taxes.
Herein lies the basic problem. It is not your money. At least not all of it. Probably not most of it.
The wages I earn would not be possible in the first place were it not for a complex network of infrastructure, as well as social, technological, economic, and legal systems and protections that exist precisely because of what government alone can provide.
Few but the most ignorant would argue with this and claim that there is such a thing as a truly self-made individual.
In reality, some economists estimate that in advanced countries such as ours up to 90 percent of what I am able to earn is dependent upon this previously existing social capital, even before I bring my own initiative to the table.
The Tea Party builds a political platform of low taxes and shrunken government upon a premise that is not just flawed, but completely ignorant of reality.
In their hands?
Recent reports said some Congress members are, for lack of a better term, complaining about their pay. According to the article, Congress members make $174,000 a year.
Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Fla., said they deserve more because of the hours they work and the hazardous conditions in which they work (he says people are shooting at them, citing his security detail as evidence of this threat).
I am sure troops sitting in the scorching desert heat of Iraq or trekking up some steep hillside in Afghanistan would beg to differ about being shot at, working long hours and not getting paid enough for it.
Perhaps those who held on to their jobs during the recession, only to face pay cuts and filling in for the depleted work force, could give him some advice on working longer for less.
The funny thing is Southerland left behind a $90,000 salary to serve the public. I guess $84,000 more a year doesn't go far in D.C.
And remember when Linda Sanchez, D-Calif., said she is living paycheck to paycheck?
The best raise I ever got was getting rid of bills I did not need to pay. If you are living paycheck to paycheck on $174,000 a year, I'd suggest you have expenses that can be cut.
If the people elected to run the show can't live on what most of us would consider a generous salary, how can they offer any legitimate solutions to solving the financial problems our country faces today?