Letters to the Editor for Feb. 2, 2011
Still hoping for rational debate
To the editor:
Last month, I was impressed by Sen. Bernie Sanders’ lengthy, fact-filled and informative speech opposing extension of the Bush tax cuts. I’ve been hoping that it might inspire a more forthright and rational political debate on our economic situation. I was, therefore, disappointed by the official Republican response to the State of the Union address. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin recited Republican ideology of less government, lower taxes, and free private enterprise, seemingly giving little thought to the deep recession we’re in and how we got there. A reckless, deregulated financial services industry trashed our economy. Without financial re-regulation, what’s going to prevent another crash? Most businesses aren’t hiring until there is more demand. How is increased demand going to be generated, if government spending is slashed this year?
Not only did Rep. Ryan seem out of touch with reality, but he also seemed unproductively alarmist and inflammatory, offering a number of distortions and misrepresentations of the situation at hand. He referred to the Federal debt as a “crisis,” “crushing,” “explosive,” “out of control,” and “catastrophic.” Is this accurate or helpful? Is the debt due solely to government spending? And is it true that the economic stimulus “spending spree” was a “failure?” Is it true that current austerity measures in Ireland and England are due to prior fiscal irresponsibility? I urge my fellow readers to investigate these and other economic claims you may hear from Rep. Ryan, other Republicans, radio talk shows, Fox News, and other right-wing sources. (Nobel-winning economist Paul Krugman is a good antidote to right-wing distortions.)
But I’m still optimistic. Republicans and Democrats sat side by side at the State of the Union speech in our nation’s capitol last Tuesday night. To me, that was an important symbol of the oneness we share. I remember how Republican President Dwight Eisenhower dealt with issues in a pragmatic way, with high regard and concern for all Americans. And, yes, I remember Bernie Sanders’ speech. I’m still rooting for constructive, rational, informed approaches to the challenges we all face, and I hope my fellow readers will join me.
Spending cuts, not taxes, the solution
To the editor:
There are 2,748,978 federal employees in our government. Their average pay is $81,258.00. If they were forced to take a 5-percent cut in pay, it would cost on the average, $4,063.00. Since their wages are almost double the average income I would think they would be willing to go that route, just to keep our country from going down the tube.
There are 63,086 federal employees in Oregon, their annual pay is $282,287,984. Their contribution, although smaller than other states, would amount to $14,114,399.
My wife and I are on Social Security and we would be willing to take a 5-percent cut which would be over $100.00. And on top of that let’s freeze all federal pay, included ours, for five years. Now I realize there are wage contracts that are already in the works for some departments. Let them proceed and then their pay freeze would begin from that date until their total five-year freeze has been met.
The Oregonian newspaper states it’s a fact that we are spending 40 cents on every dollar more then we are making. Don’t tax us, cut spending.