Email letters, Oct. 1, 2012

Sentinel readers need explanation of how to keep good jobs in the valley

If you “follow the money,” it is not a fact that government originates job creation as asserted by Jim Spehar in his recent column. The funds that create jobs, including government and non-profits, originate with the millions of transactions done in our valley (for example) through the entrepreneurial risk-taking of hundreds of businesses, large and small. It is the taxes on the income of these businesses and their employees that funds and underwrites the nonprofits and government staffing.

The Sentinel’s front page listing of local employers on Sept. 22 is revealing in other ways:

1) Why is Haliburton no longer in the top 25? Could it be the state and federal hassles are so burdensome that it is more productive to send your employees and assets to operate on private land (North Dakota and Pennsylvania) where they have to pay royalties? Surely we miss the high paying salaries sent north.

2) After the Supreme Court decision on Obamacare, the Sentinel’s editorial page on July 1 contained columns on the decision’s effect on two firms that were on Sunday’s list and mentioned in Spehar’s column: The Daily Sentinel itself and Rocky Mountain Health Plans. Since I delivered the paper as a youth, I hope The Daily Sentinel survives, certainly a challenge with competition from the Internet and other free media. Sentinel publisher Jay Seaton indicates using the Obamacare health exchanges could be a cost-saving measure for his firm and to remain competitive.

On the other hand, Obamacare puts RMHP’s survival as a going concern and large local employer at risk. Financial Journals predict Obamacare makes health insurers “utilities” due to its control of administration costs (it’s in the law) and ever-changing free benefits. Like utilities in other categories, small firms, like larger insurers, will likely swallow up RMHP. We might be lucky if a call center remains. (It should be noted here that innovative health-oriented insurance programs, such as those used at Whole Food Markets that emphasize good health behaviors (smoking secession, etc.) would also go by the wayside with one-size-fits-all Obamacare.)

Clearly, the origin of nonprofit/government funding is traced back to the private sector; it does not create jobs without these funds. In fact, most charities are founded through the wealth gained through private business success. The effectiveness of nonprofits shouldn’t be measured by job creation. The most effective charity, the Salvation Army, has the least-paid staff but is known for saving lives through its charity and rehab programs.

Instead of creating confusion on this issue, Spehar should be explaining to the Sentinel’s readers what it is going to take to keep good high-paying (private) jobs here.

ROLAND REYNOLDS
Grand Junction

Is Wagner advocating for an oligarchy?

Rick Wagner describes Democrats as “these politicians who want to seem like defenders of the little guy.”  I suppose the upper class thinks of all middle class and lower class as “little guys.”  We know Romney isn’t concerned about the lower 47 percent.

It is foolish to suggest that Democrats have ulterior motives and that Republicans don’t just because Pace solicits a political donation or, as Wagner puts it, “wants to spend his money.” How about the corporate flipping done by Baines/Romney and how about the trillions lost as a result of Wall Street shenanigans in the housing debacle?  Whose money was blown away then?  Aren’t these really the friends whom Wagner really, really wishes were representing him and us “the little people?”

Can you imagine how the rest of us would be doing without representation?  Isn’t Wagner expounding government by the few, an oligarchy?  Romney/Ryan/Wagner make quite a self-serving threesome. How do you suppose the 99 percent would do in such a system?

JOSE U. LUCERO
Grand Junction

To meet needs of future generations, be sure to vote

November 6 will be a pivotal election for our country. The TV media are most certainly behind President Obama and lack the integrity to truthfully show both sides of the issues, up to and including altering audio and video of Mitt Romney and his rallies.

Please think before voting for someone who is intent on the destruction of this country. If you have children and grandchildren, you must be concerned what kind of country we will leave them after this election.

As Thomas Paine said, “If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.”

PATRICIA PAIZ
Grand Junction

Cease and desist running political ads

Why are we bothering to hold a presidential election? They’re really costly and time-consuming. I heard on TV today that Obama has re-election in the bag and Romney is finished. If that’s true, and I have to believe it is, since the mainstream media, the Democratic National Committee and the nonbiased pollsters would never lie, when can we expect all the political ads to stop?

I see no further need to waste money and time running ads that don’t matter. As it is now, I can’t watch TV day or night without reaching for the remote every few minutes to mute the things.

AL CARLEY
Grand Junction

Right to shun religion does not mean right to shun religious displays in public

In the following quote, this man has it right, and I applaud and agree with him. I hope our county councils feel the same.

“While we have a right to shun religion, we do not have a right to government protection from the sights and sounds of religion in public — even on government property.”— Wayne Laugesen, Colorado Springs Gazette

MIKE MCINANEY
Grand Junction

CMU Crit article demonstrates ‘morally indifferent age’

David Bentley Hart, writing in First Things Journal, addressed the disinterestedness in our present age concerning Don Juan, one of the main characters of Spain’s “Golden Age” of literature. One would think that in our sexually saturated, morally indifferent age, he would be no less popular today, even revered.

However, Hart writes, “Juan was the greatest immoralist of European literature precisely because he served as the negative image of the moral convictions of his time, the exemplary contradiction of a vision of good.”

Hart proposes that Juan’s ability to shock the moral senses has been lost “in our age of unrestrained sensuality, glandular liberation, and relaxed consciences.” Don Juan came from “a period in which the human being was understood not merely as a biological machine.”

The point of Hart’s article seems to find its target at the very heart of a Sept. 18 article in CMU’s student newspaper, The Criterion. The article is titled, “Double Team: How to achieve confidence in the bedroom.” One might not be surprised to find the explicitness in this article in a porn magazine, or perhaps even its sleeker cousin, Cosmopolitan, but apparently, the CMU administration has little input on what acceptable material in a campus newspaper is.

The student experts on that “special time between the sheets” write with all the sensuality and excitement that one might expect while dissecting a frog in lab class. But then, where else could a morally indifferent age lead, except to, paradoxically, a boring hedonism? Don Juan’s roguishness at least served as a glamorous, exhilarating, if destructive, contrast to the moral order of his times.

Were he alive and as scandalous today, he would likely grieve his obscurity, living in a desensitized culture that can no longer be shocked. The absence of the capacity for shame, anxiety and boundaries in moral matters has also diminished the experience of authentic depths of sensuality and ecstasy in sex that our creator intended for us when he made us human beings with soul and conscience, not mere biological brutes.

BILL FORBES
Whitewater

No need to mention veteran in headline

Why do 60 percent of Americans distrust the media? Why do readers constantly accuse the press of bias, both conscious and unconscious? Why do readership numbers decline, subscriptions fail to renew and revenue drop?

Here is a clue: the recent Sentinel headline blaring “Vet accused of killing male escort.“

There is not one item in the story that makes being a vet relevant to the crime. The headline writer might just as well have written, “Apartment dweller accused of killing male escort.“ Maybe even “Sentinel reader accused of killing male escort”.

Out of all the things people do, why headline the fact that the accused had served in the armed forces? Is there any reason other than it serves the narrative of damaged dangerous vets?

GENE KINSEY
Grand Junction

Obama shies away from telling truth to Americans

Once again President Obama has totally not been truthful with the American people.

Lower insurance costs for whom? My rates just went up to almost $600 for one person. Secondly lying again, this time about Benghazi and the terrorist act on Sept. 11.

Guess nothing happens on his watch that he will admit to. Not billions of dollars of added debt, insurance rates going up not down, fast and furious or the death of an ambassador and other personnel, or the fact that there was already FBI on the ground in Benghazi (they must be invisible) since they still aren’t there 2 1/2 weeks later.

How does leading from behind working in the Middle East? Took me a while to figure that one out but guess the only way to kiss behind is to lead from behind. Let’s see what kind of deal he has cut with the Muslim Brotherhood leader in Egypt, bet it goes something like: Call your people off and when I leave office, I will pardon the blind sheik that was convicted of terrorism.

I read his book, and he made it clear that he will stand with the Muslims against the USA, If we don’t wake up, we will all be bowing to the east, like toward Washington D.C.

LORIE CULLUM
Grand Junction

Give Iran’s president a fair, firm warning on nuclear weapons

Our president assures us that diplomacy can still win the battle to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. Right.

This country will not step up and define a “red line” beyond which we, and Israel, will not allow them to go. So, let us postulate that there may be such a red line even if our government won’t tell us, or Israel, what it may be. I don’t know what it might be, nor do I know what our government might do if it is reached.

In the interest of future diplomacy, I suggest we make something known to Iran. Now this position assumes that we still have space assets that detect missile launches and can track them. Thus, we might tell Iran the following:  When we are convinced that you are on the verge of developing a nuclear warhead for a missile that can reach Israel, we will increase our surveillance of your launch sites. If we detect a launch that is on a track toward that country, we will unleash nuclear warheads and annihilate you.

Such a warning just might be enough to encourage them to cease warhead development. If it does not, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will have had a fair warning.

CREIGHTON BRICKER
Grand Junction

Hats off to King for stance on tobacco tax revenue

Regarding The Daily Sentinel articles on tobacco tax revenue on Aug. 28 and Sept. 24, a huge thank-you for the articles and hats off to Sen. Steve King, R-Grand Junction, for looking out for taxpayers.

Too bad most officials look the other way rather than looking out for all of us. When we voters voted for the tobacco tax, our intention was for prevention in the form of educating our youths and saving them from the pain and agony, e.g. cancer, COPD, emphysema, and etc.

It certainly was not to balance the budget at one group’s expense or to spend $3.5 million the last two years on pushing ordinances and policies. That is not prevention.

It appears the powers are using this tax money to pressure officials to go beyond the state law in order to satisfy their wants. Fine, do it with your own money. You are robbing from our intent to protect our young ones from harm! Certainly not right.

According to a TV report near the start of school, tobacco was only addressed in high school in District 51 way too late for the ones who are already smoking. For each class, age-appropriate medical films and info should start at the latest in middle school and should address all inhalation perils such as those from cigarettes, cigars, pot, crack, paint fumes, spray cans, air fresheners, etc.

Tell them they have a choice to have healthy lungs and hearts or go through the painful endings. Never tell them don’t do it (even now a red flag for me). It appears the cessation has been aimed at adults and to please and or pressure employers adopting policies.

In this case it pleased one of the largest employers to announce (three years ago) that the designated areas for smokers was no longer; smoking would only be allowed when the employee was off the clock and property. Pressuring all smokers to quit. They offered free patches and help. (Was this with grant money?) Note—all are working adults.

We are proud of Sen. King for looking into this misuse of taxes. May we have follow-up info as this develops? I, for one, would have not objected as much had some of the millions been used for educational info on the subject of alcohol. My daughter’s senior year, we lost four to drinking and driving while celebrating their graduation. Please let’s prevent!

DARLYA J. MCFARLAND
Grand Junction

Scrutinize Tipton’s true attitude toward future of Medicare

Have you seen Scott Tipton’s TV ad? He claims that his opponent, Sal Pace, supports the president’s plan to take more than $700 billion out of Medicare, thus harming those with Medicare. On the other hand, he claims that he supports an assumedly unchanged Medicare for those who depend on the plan.

The president’s plan is based on taking waste and fraud out of Medicare and not touching traditional Medicare benefits. The president would use that money to fund medical care for most of those who currently are without coverage or have totally inadequate coverage. Tipton supports the Ryan plan, which would use the very same money that Tipton says is a raid on Medicare benefits and use it for other purposes. So which is it? Does Tipton support the president’s objectives or is he with the Ryan plan, which is a fraud and will devastate Medicare? Inquiring citizens would like to know.

Can we thereby assume Tipton opposes medical coverage for everybody, coverage that cannot be cancelled because one has the misfortune of actually needing the coverage, coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions, coverage that precludes having to go into bankruptcy and coverage that includes preventative measures that help people from getting sick in the first place? In other words, adequate coverage for everybody and making this a healthier country and not one where you can be as healthy as your pocketbook allows.

Can we also assume that the editors of The Daily Sentinel, which has endorsed Tipton, do so on the basis that they support this kind of blatant pandering by the use of misleading, false information and from the foundation of personal safety of whatever insurance the publishing firm provides its employees who must be in a position to have to never be without employment or insurance in the future?

JOHN BORGEN
Grand Junction

Though government may create jobs, public sector pays for them

Jim Spehar’s opinion piece on the statement “The government does not create jobs” is a perfect example of liberal Democrats taking factual information and twisting it to fit their narrative of where government should be in everyone’s life. The Owebama regime is a master of this.

While the facts as Spehar stated are the facts, in going with his logic, all we need to lift us out of this bad economy is more government jobs. Owebama can just print more money if we need it. Margaret Thatcher said that socialism works fine up to the point where the government runs out of other people’s money.

Let’s take the following two scenarios and decide which is the most likely. Scenario one: A group of people get together and want to become firefighters; they want to be paid for being firefighters, have a firehouse built, have a fire engine, etc.

They then go out and solicit members of the community and tell them you need us and should be willing to give us some of your hard-earned money to support our being firefighters. We as firefighters will also take some of the money that you have given us and pay into the same fund that is used to pay us. A fire protection district is created.

Scenario two: A community has grown up with individuals trading goods and services among themselves. They get together and decide that some fire protection would be something that a majority of them would be willing to support with a tax on their goods and services. A fire protection district is created.

The fact is that while government may create jobs, it is the private sector that has to pay for them. The fact is that also unmentioned in Spehar’s opinion piece is that small businesses represent a large part of the economy. Unfortunately, Owebama and a lot of politicians don’t recognize this and continue to believe that the government has the answer to everything and spend money we don’t have.

I hope reality and Kool-Aid go well together.

MICHAEL HIGGINS
Grand Junction



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Michael Higgins’ on line-letter – “Though government may create jobs, public sector pays for them” – is a perfect example of “conservative” Republicans “taking factual information and twisting it to fit their narrative of where government should be in everyone’s life” and to thereby disingenuously avoid the implications of those facts. 

Nothing in Jim Spehar’s opinion piece suggested that “all we need to lift us out of this bad economy is more government jobs”.  Rather, Spehar simply cited local employment figures to demonstrate undeniably what Higgins readily admits—but most Tea Party reactionaries do not – that not “only the private sector creates jobs”.

While Higgins disparages President Obama’s economic policies as “Owebama”, he ignores the fact that virtually all of our $16 trillion national debt was generated by his Republican predecessors – “Owereagan” and the “Owebushes”.  In fact, Democratic President Bill Clinton was the only president in 30 years to generate a near surplus.

However, while President Obama’s American Jobs Act of 2011 sought to preserve 300,000 public sector jobs (teachers, police, and – yes – firemen, etc.) and to create 1+ million infrastructure-related private sector jobs by “printing money” (i.e., deficit spending when interest rates for such investments are at an all-time low), unpatriotic Republicans obstructed him at every turn.

No one (including Spehar) disputes the validity of Higgins statement that “while government may create jobs, it is the private sector that has to pay for them”.  But it is also the private sector that has to pay for the “VooDoo Economics” and “trickle down” fantasy that caused the current downturn and to which Republicans would have us return.

The fact is that Higgins entirely ignorers the fact that the Census Bureau calculated that some 700,000 small businesses were destroyed by the Bush recession and near collapse of the financial system.  President Obama’s policies have been designed to rekindle that private entrepreneurship by stimulating demand, but Romney-Ryan would increase taxes on job-creating small businesses netting between $100,000 and $250,000 annually.

Unfortunately, Higgins and a lot of Republican “Fiscal Conservatives in Name Only” don’t recognize this and continue to repeat Reagan’s pernicious mantra that “government is the problem”, when government is (and always has been) part of the solution (not “the answer to everything” by “spending money we don’t have”).

Higgins’ red herrings should go well with strawberry Kool-Aid.

              Bill Hugenberg

Roland Reynolds on line letter – “Sentinel readers need explanation of how to keep good jobs in the valley” – demonstrates the “stinken’ thinking” of “conservative” Republicans who take factual information and twist it into an unrecognizable narrative that merely obfuscates all meaningful distinctions in order to avoid the clear implications of the facts.

Thus, contrary to Reynold’s contention, if you “follow the money”, it remains a fact that government allocation of tax revenues can indeed “originate job creation” – or can be used for non-job-creating destructive purposes (as for the War in Iraq).  As Jim Spehar’s fact-based column suggests, the self-evident fact that all tax revenues and most charitable contributions can eventually be traced back to private enterprise of some kind is wholly irrelevant as to the current economic condition of Mesa County – else the terms “public sector”, “private sector”, and “non-profit” lose all meaning.

Indeed, the Sentinel’s front page listing of the top 25 local employers on September 22 answers Reynolds’ own questions.  Thus:

1)  Halliburton is no longer in the top 25 because the market price of natural gas is too low – not because “state and federal hassles” are too burdensome – to make local natural gas plays profitable.  In North Dakota, they are drilling for oil (at $100/barrel), with natural gas as a sideshow (at $3/unit).  In Pennsylvania, natural gas is much closer to market, thereby saving the transportation costs of piping western gas to the East Coast.

2)  Even absent Halliburton, and even with the Affordable Car Act, not-for-profit medical field employers are thriving.  Of the 12,617 jobs encompassed by the top 25 employers, almost 50% are “public sector”, only 20% are “private sector”, and the remaining 30% are non-profits – including Rocky Mountain Health Plans.  Thus, the key to :keeping good jobs in the valley” is diversification – regardless of the “category”.

“Instead of creating confusion on this issue” by muddling all meaningful distinctions, Reynolds should explain why he strains so hard to discount good high-paying (public and non-profit) jobs here – when what is clearly needed is an “all of the above” strategy.

                Bill Hugenberg
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