Letters to the Editor for Oct. 23, 2013

By Baker City Herald readers October 23, 2013 08:31 am

Obamacare is a small step, when we need a giant one

I completely agree with Mr. Dielman’s Oct. 16 letter about the U.S. medical care financial chaos. So-called Obamacare is a tiny and incremental improvement; but, in my humble opinion, Obamacare is more of a “welfare for insurers” program than any giant step toward a sane (i.e., single-payer) national med-care financing system.

My pretty good and dear wife of 42 years has been in various hospitals since July 30, 2013. She’s now 66 years old, so U.S. Medicare pays most of the billings. After numerous visits to several hospitals in Baker City and Boise, my already pretty high respect for RNs has gone way up. RNs are the true backbone of an otherwise chaotic U.S. med-care system; and, RNs (rather than insurance company execs and coding nerds) deserve a max share of every dollar that we pay for med-care.

MDs are OK, too; but, if every MD at some big hospital took a week off, the RNs would muddle through. If all their RNs took just one day off, by noon of that day, same big hospital’s operations would implode.

Eric Schoenfeld

Haines

We can revive economy if we just use our resources

The economic crisis is not over. This problem didn’t just happen, it was created by shortsighted, wrong-headed thinking by government officials over the last 40 years. It won’t be cured by government money manipulations or working the printing presses overtime.

First we must recognize the basic facts of life.

No person, company or country can continue to spend more than they earn.

We need jobs and money. All new wealth comes from the ground, there is no other source. It is created when we harvest the produce and resources of the earth. It is expanded when they are processed and manufactured into more valuable productions.

In the guise of protecting the environment, government agencies have so seriously regulated these industries that many of them curtailed or shut down or moved overseas.

I have been a member of the mining industry for over 60 years and it has been seriously damaged. It is absolutely vital to the economy of this country. You cannot manufacture one single thing without using minerals directly or indirectly. 

You can advocate increased American manufacturing, but what do we make things out of? If we have to import the raw materials for our factories, the major differences in our production cost is labor, that puts us in a rough position competitively.

One hundred fifty years ago our forefathers realized that for our country to grow and prosper they had to encourage people to go out into the open land and develop farms and mines, so they passed the Homestead Act that gave people title to land they developed, and they passed mining laws to encourage miners to prospect and open mineral deposits.

The Forest Service and BLM have done everything they can to restrict this production. 

The fact is that we have regulated our country out of business.

At no government expense we could greatly stimulate our economy and jobs if we could require our agencies to recognize and obey congressional laws and relax many of the environmental restrictions that have little or no long-range benefit to the majority of the people of our country.

Kenneth Anderson

Baker City

Raffling AR-15 rifle is insensitive

While reading the Record Courier I was shocked to see the Baker County Republicans are raffling off an AR-15 for a fundraiser. After calling multiple state agencies about this raffle apparently this is legal in Oregon and multiple GOP counties are doing it. Just think of the outrage if they raffled 100 cartons of cigarettes, what sort of a reaction could we expect? Cigarettes are legal, too. This simply sends an unfortunate message.

State Sen. Ginny Burdick who has backed unsuccessful legislation that would have outlawed military-style semi-automatic rifles, expressed disgust  with these types of drawing in a recent article in the Oregonian:

“Five thousand people have been shot to death since Sandy Hook,” she said, referring to last December’s shooting massacre at a Connecticut elementary school, “and for the Republicans to be out there with this gun as their emblem is in very poor taste.  But it is a free country.” 

I say forget the assault weapons ban, it’s time to ban guns completely. The idea that it is unreasonable to demand a complete ban on guns, while the gun lobby refuses to give an inch, is a prime example of complete right-wing denial. How is it good and proper for Oregon to prohibit gay marriage, but controlling guns would be an unconscionable limit on “freedom.” Why do people even need guns? When the founding fathers created the Second Amendment they were referencing muskets not machine guns with maximum clip sizes. Look at the thousands of people who have been shot to death since Sandy Hook and the recent shooting in Grant County that killed two people from Baker City. We need to start far more drastic measures against guns if we are going to save our children and ourselves. It is far past time to call for a total ban on guns.  And if it takes a constitutional amendment, so be it.

Regardless of where you stand on the gun debate, this AR-15 raffle is insensitive and horrible political messaging. The GOP is going to continue to lose elections unless their messaging improves dramatically.

Laura J. Link

Portland