Letters to the Editor: Aug. 1, 2011

Letter of the Day: Where am I?

Editor, Daily News:

Growing up during the Depression was no tea party.

I was one of 13 kids; number 11. My mother died when I was 5 and my father somehow raised us alone. We had to learn to cooperate and to share. He taught us to be obedient, to love God and country.

We were proud to be Americans.

In 1941 we entered World War II. Two years later, when old enough, I enlisted. Three years later, at the war’s end, I was discharged as a “top-kick,” unscratched, but well worn.

The GI Bill enabled me to earn a couple of degrees. I soon married a fantastic woman, raised three kids and spent 32 years in the field of education, retiring as a high school principal.

So, in a sense, I feel qualified to ask some questions and make some observations.

What has happened to this country I love? Have we, as citizens, discarded the fine character traits that once defined us as proud Americans? It seems that hatred abounds.

Our country is split into two enemy camps that are firing verbal missiles at each other, 24/7. How heartrending it is for me to read these disgruntled and oft-times foundless attacks on our president.

My first president was Calvin Coolidge, so you can see I’ve seen a long line of commanders in chief in my lifetime. I respected all of them, though never agreeing with any of them all the time.

But what has happened to civility? It has gotten so that when I’m invited to a cocktail party, I’m almost included to bring along a first aid kit.

Come on, guys. This isn’t the American way.

So if you’ve got a minute, why not try loving instead of hating.

You’ll like it.

— Donald L. Mills

Naples

Bottom line

Editor, Daily News:

Debt solved:

Just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3 percent of the gross domestic product, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election

— Henry Holzkamper

Naples

Fuel for thought?

Editor, Daily News:

Time for a reality check.

I just came back from a wonderful two-week vacation in Spain, where the sun is hot, the water is wet

Anyway, buying gas for our economic rental car, the price was 1.33 euros per liter; so I decided to do the conversion to dollars.

Since I must have missed that day in school, here is what I calculate:

A liter of gas costs 1.33 euros. A euro is worth about a third more than a dollar, so a liter would cost right about $1.73 in U.S. dollars.

There are 3.7854 liters in a gallon, so a gallon of gas would be 3.7854 times $1.73 or $6.54 a gallon!

Would somebody please explain to me why we are complaining when gas gets over $3 a gallon while the rest of the world pays twice as much? Or, explain why we want to “drill, baby, drill” in our own backyard, endangering our environment and using up a finite resource, so we can get the price even lower?

Whether it is the budget, the environment, the price of fuel or so many other things, this country seems to have lost its perspective and desperately needs a serious reality check!

— Art Herman

Bonita Springs

Class act?

Editor, Daily News:

A delayed hike in the debt ceiling and a meager deficit reduction package will lead to reduction on our bond rating and keep our economy in the gutter.

Six months from now the political ads will declare that this happened on President Barack Obama’s watch.

No mention that the Republicans have any responsibility.

What a class act.

— Robert Klein

Naples

Not looking good

Editor, Daily News:

The new “lost generation” may be upon us.

We are over four years into the current recession with no end in sight. Latest reports from our experts in the field say that most college graduates, even if they can find a job, are accepting offers in the $25,000 range in areas that may not even be related to their field of training.

Obviously there are some exceptions for positions that are quite specific and in demand, but the vast majority of graduates are not even approximating their dream careers.

What are we to surmise from this dreary scenario? I offer the following possibilities:

1. The high cost of college education does not justify itself for the realistic salaries offered graduating students. To this observer the meaning is quite clear. The cost of a higher education must be reduced drastically.

2. Many students attending college for the prestige of acquiring a college degree are unnecessarily spending funds that they and their parents probably cannot afford with results that will, in all likelihood, not fulfill their dreams and leave them with overwhelming debts that will follow them for most if not all of their adult lives.

3. Many of these students should probably be attending two-year state or privately run institutes with more practical degrees that can be applied in the “real world.”

4. Finally, the government and big business have to get their houses in order and take on their responsibility of creating jobs and getting us out of this interminable recession! It is time for our statesmen (if there are any such animals left) to stand up and demonstrate how a country should be run.

Heroes are far and in between.

Where are our heroes?

— R. Michael Hoy

Naples

Fighting words

Editor, Daily News:

Letter writer Tom O’Sullivan (Daily News, July 25) includes Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi among those who “must go” because they “got us 10 years of war, but can’t agree on a way to pay for it.”

Much as I regret having to disagree with anyone named O’Sullivan, I must remind him that Reid and Pelosi, far from getting us into it, opposed the invasion of Iraq.

And they are guiltless of creating the loopholes (O’Sullivan’s other complaint) which permit Exxon-Mobil, et al, to pay no taxes on the billions of profits they make. They would vote to close those loopholes if Republicans in the House would permit a vote on tax reform.

O’Sullivan may disagree with Reid and Pelosi on other grounds, but I suspect their views on the war and tax reform are much closer to his own than they are to those of Eric Cantor and John Boehner, with whom he unfairly lumps them.

— John F. O’Malley

Naples

Seeking balance

Editor, Daily News:

Leter writer Glen Gygax opines that President Barack Obama is the only adult in the room and that Republicans and tea parties are obstructing and hurting our recovery.

He disparages Barry Willoughby, tea party leader, and says “democracy is intelligently compromising for the good of our country.”

Well, sometimes democracy doesn’t work, and that’s when the middle of the road doesn’t accomplish the best outcome for the country. Sometimes compromising is not intelligent, as when some in the Senate refuse to consider an amendment to balance the budget.

Why? Many states have to balance their budgets because of their state Constitutions to control spending.

His question is “where was the tea party during (former President George W.) Bush’s rising budgets? Where was the tea party then?”

Well, the tea party didn’t exist during Bush’s administration, but the people around the country finally rallied in 2009 against the spending excesses of both administrations, finally spurred by the outrageous increases of the Obama administration.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the governing people in Washington would stop “growing” their own nests by hiring friends who increase departments, agencies and commissions? Maybe some of the unnecessary offices ought to be done away with, along with some money frivolously spent on foreign aid.

Renovating mosques and sending our tax dollars to people who hate us does not win their affection, and the money sent is often not accounted for.

This is just one reason we should have a balanced budget amendment.

— Heather Capitanio

Bonita Springs

Swat down this plan

Editor, Daily News:

The House Interior Appropriation Committee has passed a spending bill that would mean fewer protections for species at risk of extinction — more pesticides in our waters and less funding for our national wildlife refuges and other crucial conservation priorities.

This bill is an all-out attack on our environment and the natural treasures that are our children’s inheritance.

Sacrificing our wildlife and environment in the name of fiscal austerity is unacceptable.

— Steven LaPorte

Naples

What he did not say

Editor, Daily News:

President Barack Obama’s address to the nation on July 25 was very smooth, and sounded plausible if one had no knowledge of the efforts that had been taking place this year to address the current and future budget deficits and the debt limit.

He failed to mention that the Democratic leadership in the Senate, as a counter to the House plan, had developed their plan in the day or two, before which had no tax increases, only spending cuts. Interestingly, has anyone seen in writing what Obama proposes? What kind of president bases his appeal to the nation on blaming others, class warfare, scaring people benefitting from Medicare and/or Social Security?

The country needs real spending cuts and major tax reform to reduce our current and future budget deficits. Those things are what the rating agencies are looking for in order to decide whether or not to lower the ratings of the U.S. debt. Entitlements must be addressed. Tax reform must make our corporations competitive with businesses from other countries.

The tax base must be broadened. Spending cuts and tax reform must be addressed now. Members of the Senate and the House need to come up with a plan that addresses these issues, send it to the disgraceful, duplicitous dude” and let him decide whether he can bring himself to do the right thing for the country.

— Ted Rojahn

Naples

Do this, debate and vote

Editor, Daily News:

Some questions are just too big for our Congress and our president to handle.

Clearly, the inability to reach agreement on a debt limit increase and on corresponding cuts in spending has produced plenty of breast-beating, acrimony and intransigence, but no resolution.

After the House passed Cap, Cut, and Balance, the Senate refused even to debate the bill’s merits, and instead a high-handed Democrat majority tabled it on a strict party line vote. The very idea Democrats might have to speak out loud for or against a balanced budget amendment was apparently too dangerous a proposition for Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Now is the time for a short-term, modest increase in the debt limit which will take us to the 2012 elections, in exchange for immediate spending cuts exceeding the magnitude of the borrowing authorization.

After a full and open national debate on the important issues currently dividing us, Americans can go to the polls to select national and local leaders who reflect their preferences for debt limits, spending cuts, Obamacare and for a balanced budget amendment, in addition to all the other considerations that go into a voter’s decision.

Only in a national election can we be certain the clearly expressed will of the American people will be heard, instead of the cacophony of contradictory misinformation from disingenuous politicians, biased news sources and unrepresentative opinion polls all attempting to manipulate us rather than to inform us.

Put it to a vote and let the people decide.

— Tony Zimmer

Bonita Springs

Doesn’t add up

Editor, Daily News:

Collier County commissioners Fred Coyle, Jim Coletta and Donna Fiala instructed the county attorney to come up with a proposal to limit Commissioner Georgia Hiller’s use of staff, and she should get their approval to see if they think her request is serving public purpose: “Complaints from some commissioners that county staff members have to spend too much time responding to commissioner Georgia Hiller’s requests.” (Daily News reporter Eric Staats)

I called county attorney Jeff Klatzkow’s office to find out the amount of staff time used by each commissioner. His office told me to call county manager for this information.

County manager said they did not have that information and gave me another number. This next call, the lady told me that they do not keep any record of time used by commissioners and I should call county attorney back and ask them where they get information on staff time.

I called county attorney’s office again and was told that Klatzkow would call me back. Twenty-five hours later, no call.

Please remember, these are the same commissioners who cost you $4 million to $5 million suing our county clerk of courts and tried to cram Jackson Laboratory down your throat.

Vote them out. Vote for Steve Cosgrove and Tim Nance next year.

— Terry Pardue

Naples

Sounds fair?

Editor, Daily News:

Give us our Aprils back!

With all the squabbling between Congress and the White House over the debt ceiling, this might be an excellent time to seriously consider the Fair Tax. Instead of letting the government ruin our beautiful springtimes, abolish the Internal Revenue Service and add a federal sales tax to the local and state taxes we now pay on all purchases.

A Fair Tax could have special tax exempt provisions for the poor, but it would democratically tax every purchase made, by rich and middle class alike. It would make it impossible to claim an offshore home address or pay a staff of tax lawyers to find loopholes and deductions to evade taxation entirely (like General Electric).

The sticky part is setting what tax percentage should be paid. Would it be different for different types of purchases (ordinary everyday versus luxury, etc.)? Would it include big, less often purchases like homes and cars?

Let Congress squabble over the percentage tax figure and what to tax, but once that’s decided upon, it should be set so that government could only spend the exact revenue created and no more; i.e., the iron-clad balanced budget amendment that we’ve needed for decades.

Let our great country become solvent again and bring back decent interest rates (which the federal government has dropped to almost nothing to afford the interest on our horrendous debt).

Think about it and write your congressman if you agree.

— Lee Webb

Naples

Again, from the top

Editor, Daily News:

Guest commentator Jack Tymann called for lower taxes, fewer business regulations and requested the government get out of the way.

He suggested that this is the only means to restore the American dream.

I support his desire to rekindle the flickering hope of our American dream, but I fear his suggestions will continue the unsustainable and unthinkable economic inequalities in America. The American middle class is shrinking and Tymann’s proposals will hasten that process.

America became great through a business and government partnership. We witnessed our peak economic prosperity after World War II, when businesses and Americans profited from our government investing in winning the war, developing an interstate highway system, putting a man on the moon, making higher education affordable and accessible and inventing the Internet. These were all successful government investments in our country that spawned businesses to take advantage of those investments. We no longer invest in our country.

Since 1979, middle-class income, adjusted for inflation, has risen only 15 percent, mainly due to two-income families. The income of the top 1 percent has increased 300 percent in that same period.

If Tymann’s philosophy were correct, that 1 percent would be using the extra money to create jobs. But they do not. The sagging economic power of the middle class has reduced the demand for goods and services.

What is good for the top 1 percent of Americans is not necessarily what is good for America.

— Joseph Sweet

Naples

Too much, too little

Editor, Daily News:

People often demonstrate their anger in ways that are counterproductive to their own best interests, reminiscent of seniors and middle-class families protesting affordable health care.

In 2010, disgruntled Americans chose not to stand up for the working class and now experience voter’s remorse. This culpable electorate, in their zest for a contrived sense of reform, has exacerbated the structural problems in our dysfunctional Congress.

We are further alienated by unreasonable ideology and irresponsible pledges to Grover Norquist. In the guise of “freedom,” we have witnessed an end to the American dream by placing corporate profits and overseas jobs above working middle-class Americans. Corporations and wealthy libertarians have invalidated the grassroots efforts and have degraded our democracy into a plutocracy and oligarchy.

If you just landed in the United States, you would assume that poor people have too much and rich people have too little. And the “haves” are the revolutionaries and the “have-nots” are the establishment.

Public servants and social programs have become the scapegoat for the reckless governance of the past decade.

Since 1980, we have witnessed redistribution of 34.7 percent of the wealth to the top 1 percent and a huge increase in the poverty level. If we continue on this path, these unsuspecting voters will become a sad statistic, along with other Americans, without affordable health care, Medicare, Social Security, public education, good-paying jobs, homes, retirement benefits, clean environment and consumer protections.

We, the silent majority, must change that dynamic and fight for the middle class.

— Frank Howe

Fort Myers

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