Tax cuts ballooned debt, did nothing to revive economy
The March 14 Herald-Leader carried a report that House Speaker John Boehner thinks a $1 trillion budget deficit does not constitute an immediate crisis (hmmm), but that the long-term outlook for Social Security and Medicare do.
Perhaps a reality check for him is overdue. A glance at "historical debt outstanding" on Google reveals the following. As of Sept. 30, 2000, the last year of the Clinton administration, the national debt stood at $5.67 trillion.
With President George W. Bush came the cut in taxes to the wealthy that was supposed to revive the economy. (What was wrong with it in 2000?) As of Sept. 30, 2008, the debt had nearly doubled to $10.02 trillion. The Republicans in Congress remained adamant, however, that tax cuts must be continued to spur the economy wrecked by the Democrats.
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As of March 30, 2012, the national debt had increased to $16.06 trillion. To be sure the United States had been in a recession, perhaps the worst since the Great Depression, but the Republican tax cuts did nothing to prevent it. To the extent that it was caused by the housing finance scandal, tax rates had nothing to do with the problem.
How does reducing future Social Security benefits to people who paid much higher premiums than those in place the last few years address the budget imbalance which has been caused by neither Social Security nor Medicare?
Paul L. Redditt
Cut legislative pensions
Legislators, for as little time as they spend indulging themselves in Frankfort, should not be covered by a state pension plan for having the privilege and honor of being representatives. Many have careers, own businesses or are independently wealthy, and as such most already have a 401-K account and/or pension or investments for their retirement.
Many legislators are there to promote their own businesses or their employers', or increase their wealth by acquiring state contracts. They also can establish and increase their own salaries and benefits.
Some directors and deputy directors of departments retire with 80 percent to 100 percent of their salaries for life. Many state workers get 40 percent to 60 percent of their salaries and benefits for life.
In the corporate world average retirees are lucky to get 50 percent of their salaries, but most get 35 percent to 40 percent without the health insurance.
No corporation could stay in business running their employees' retirement and health benefit plans the way the state does. It's one of many reasons Kentucky is in the financial shape it is in. These problems in Frankfort have not just come overnight. They have been going on for many decades.
Gun lobby insanity
Instead of accepting responsibility for tragedies such as the Newtown murders, the gun lobby says America's real problem is mental illness and we should do something about that instead of limiting access to guns. Certainly, as a civilized society, we should do all we can to diagnose and treat disorders of the brain, but surely not even the NRA will argue that the incidence of mental illness in the United States is many times that of Canada or Britain or of other developed nations where the gun homicide rate is a fraction of ours.
It is facile to attribute every mass shooting to mental illness. Surely, no sane person would murder random people in cold blood. But while diagnosing the state of the shooter's brain after the fact may provide an insanity defense, it doesn't bring the victims back or prevent the next massacre.
How would we screen would-be gun purchasers to make sure they do not suffer from mental illness? Would purchasers be asked to sign affidavits that they are of sound mind? Would background checks include psychiatric examinations? Would it be sufficient that the purchaser has not yet been convicted of murder?
I suggest that the basis of an effective screening process be that anyone who wants to possess an assault weapon is obviously dangerous.
The gun control debate leads us to wonder further where on the spectrum of mental agility we should place legislators who persist in upholding easy access to lethal weapons.
Donald E. Sands
Spare no cost
How appropriate: On the front page March 20, a picture of the Mildcats' loss to that basketball powerhouse at Robert Morris, next to a story about tuition increases. Perhaps the pussycats need a better practice facility. Maybe gold inlays instead of bronze. By the way, who pays for all those earrings and tattoos?
It's a shame that the real students have to bear the brunt of this mess. Do the players actually attend classes?
Great article in Sports Illustrated about recruiting athletes right out of high school to go to the NBA Development League. Maybe we can finally do away with the fiasco of "college" basketball.
Equality for all
For some time now I have wondered why the Herald-Leader insists on publishing the most hateful and homophobic letters.
I found the "Gay marriage sinful" letter published March 24 particularly disturbing. While that author will be praying for the Supreme Court to have a "Christian outlook" on its ruling over gay marriage, I will be praying that the court rules in favor of equality and right to privacy for all Americans, as our Constitution mandates.
People like this author tried to prevent women from getting the vote and desegregation. I am in high school now and look forward to when I am an adult and gay rights is a non-issue for all.
If our government cannot decide how to send 11 million undocumented workers back to their home countries, how do the NRA and gun manufacturers think the government will confiscate and rid the country of 300 million guns? Either the government is incompetent or it is omnipotent. Which is it?
Norman E. Goldie Jr.
An embarrassing team
I'm watching a game between Robert Morris and someone impersonating the Kentucky Wildcats. I've never been so embarrassed to be a UK fan. This is worse than anything Billy Gillispie put us through.
Last year's team was a once in a lifetime team. It shared a common goal to be the best through team-work. These guys wouldn't know teamwork if it slapped them. Archie Goodwin is a classic example of this. His ego is as big as Rupp Arena itself.
I hope they all leave and from now on Coach John Calipari recruits players who actually want to play basketball with no egos involved, like the Unforgettables for example.