Email letters, October 21,  2013

Tea party Republicans must learn to play by the rules

This letter is in reference to Rep. Tipton’s commentary regarding the disastrous government shutdown by the tea party Republicans, which he supported, that the damage to our country and the fragile economy is still unknown. Many Republicans questioned the tactic from the beginning.

The analogy that applies is like the teenager that wants to negotiate with his parents about when he is to come home with the family car and threatens to wreck it if he doesn’t get his way.

The tea party Republicans have to realize you have to win elections and then understand how established laws are changed and repealed.

Grand Junction

GOP platform should have two goals: reducing size of government and promoting growth

The “liberal” member of “The Five,” Fox News, has claimed a great victory for the president and fellow liberals after the resumption of business as usual in Washington. There were no winners. Our nation was the loser.

At no time during the debates was there a serious discussion of lowering the national debt. Our political leaders are still focused on spending and adding to the $17 trillion national debt we are passing on to our grandchildren, their children and their children, etc. for time eternal. Republican leaders need to offer realistic solutions instead of expending energy trying to change laws guarded by the power of the veto. We need to get rid of the man wielding that power, President Obama.

The Republican Party should offer a platform mainly consisting of two goals, reducing the size and cost of the federal government and promoting growth. Every federal agency should be scrutinized to judge its necessity in the overall operation of the federal government. Operations best left to state authority should be eliminated. This would include the departments of Energy and Education, and possibly others, and the reduction in the authority of agencies such as the Federal Highway Administration, which has outlived its usefulness.

Growth can be encouraged by freeing energy resources from restrictive governmental regulations. We could be exporting many tons of our greatest energy resource, coal, instead of trying to kill the industry. The pipeline from Canada should be approved. Growth results in more income to run essential governmental functions without raising taxes. Reducing red tape assists growth.

Republicans have a difficult task ahead. To accomplish the agenda outlined above it will necessary to win a majority in Congress and the Presidency in 2016.


Sluder, Lowenstein, Kanda all deserve McVaney’s backing

The donation made to three of the candidates for District 51 school board by Ed McVaney seems to be offensive or, at the very least puzzling, to some in the media.

McVaney is a gentleman who has a deep concern for the education of the children of Colorado and, unlike many of us, has the means to “put his money where his mouth is.“  In spite of what some of the current board members may say, District 51 is failing many of our children, and there is definitely room for improvement. McVaney sees in three candidates for the board the qualities and ideas which could make a big difference for the students in the district.

Rather than criticize, we should look to these three candidates, John Sluder, Mike Lowenstein and Pat Kanda, as the candidates who will begin to bring needed changes to District 51 – the candidates who want to give our teachers better conditions in which to do their jobs so that our students will be much better served and graduate with the skills they need to enter college or the workforce.

McVaney has only one “agenda” – that being to give every child the opportunity for a quality education. Can the same be said for the Mesa Valley Education Association?  Vote for Sluder, Lowenstein and Kanda.

Grand Junction

Most fast-food workers are teenagers or college kids

I read with great interest the reprint of a column from the Albany Times Union headlined “Fast-food wages often force workers to public assistance.“ It cites a report from the University of California-Berkely and the University of Illinois as its source. As with most of these mysterious “reports,” it never tells you if someone paid to have the report made. This one in particular appears to be another of those “here’s the answer we want, write a report that verifies it!“

The facts cited want to make us believe that we the taxpayers are spending $7 billion to support and subsidize fast-food workers because their wages are so low. The article goes on to quote someone from the “Strong Economy for All Coalition” indicating that the taxpayers are being ripped off. Sounds like a typical progressive organizing to me. I am also suspicious that the unions somehow had a hand in this.

The truth is that the majority of workers in the fast-food industry are teenagers and college kids trying to earn some extra money. The industry was not meant to be a career choice but merely a stepping-stone to the working community. Yes, there are some people who take these jobs because nothing else is available or they are not qualified to do anything else. Thank goodness they at least can get work.

The obvious unanswered question is, “What would it cost the taxpayers if these workers did not have these jobs?“ My guess is one heck of lot more, which means that the jobs are subsidizing the federal benefits area instead of the other way around as suggested. My guess again is the researchers did not want to go there. Again, I believe the report was meant to justify the union’s attack and attempts to organize companies such as Wal-Mart, along with the fast-food workers

I just wish these so-called researchers would do a real job of disclosing all the facts instead of only reporting what various special interest groups want them to report.

Grand Junction

GOP deserved to lose in recent budget battle

Josh Penry’s Oct. 18 commentary proposes a 2014 election strategy based on making Harry Reid’s recent Senate performance the centerpiece for Republican victory. Thus, tie Sen. Mark Udall’s re-election bid to Reid, tie Reid to a despicable (although true) image and, voila, Republican candidate X has the race in the bag.

What, then, is to be said of Republican strategists who snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in the recent budget/default/Obamacare debacle, when much more was at stake than one Senate seat? Hadn’t they yet discovered Reid? Did the cat have their collective tongue? Or, did they just forget to call Penry?

Start with the basics: The Republicans were fools. They abandoned legitimate constitutional footing and yielded principled action to selective public polls and masterfully delivered propaganda. The sad truth is that on that basis alone they deserved to lose. The sadder truth is the abominable result.

Most Coloradans probably have no idea who Harry Reid is. Fewer probably care. By November 2014, still fewer will likely remember these recent, fateful days, which by then will have been diluted by relentless new drama, trauma, scandal and treachery.

Penry is likely correct that Udall is a Reid minion. But he will come across as a big-picture guy (NSA spying inquiry), as well as an advocate for the every-day, little guy (Western Slope listening tour on the critical federal matter of what name the Colorado National Monument should bear.)

The best lies always contain persuasive elements of truth.

Grand Junction

Fast-food jobs were never meant as a way to qualify for a mortgage

In Friday’s paper is an article about fast-food wages causing workers to use public assistance. These kinds of jobs were never in the past intended to earn enough money to buy a house, raise a family, buy automobiles and have paid health insurance. No one could afford to eat out and keep these restaurants in business, if this were the case.

When I was in my teens and in school, these jobs were great to have around to make money for buying a cheap car and gas and things. So, fast food and jobs like that are not the places to be expecting big money, unless you own a home with no mortgage payments.

Grand Junction

Rep. Tipton deserves thanks for voting to end shutdown

We all owe a huge thank-you to Congressman Scott Tipton for his vote to end the government shutdown and debt debate. By doing this, he put the health of our economy ahead of easy rhetoric and blaming others.

We should carefully debate spending, taxes, and health care, but once Congress has passed a spending law, the United States should never consider not paying its bills.
The time to debate is when the spending bill is being voted on. If a bill doesn’t go the way some want, their efforts should go to convincing the public of their view – not holding the government hostage and making our country look foolish in the eyes of the world.

Thank you, Rep. Tipton, for your leadership and careful weighing of the difficult issues.


Small contributions make up MVEA donations to campaigns

So, the Sentinel editors see no difference between donations from our local teachers to school board candidates and donations from a Front Range billionaire trying to influence our local elections for his own political and financial agenda. Really?

That view is jaded, cynical and out of touch with reality.

Do the editors think that teachers are only interested in school-board elections because of salary negotiations? If teachers were primarily motivated by salary, they wouldn’t be teaching in the first place. Teachers and the kids they teach are affected by the decisions of the board every time they step into the classroom.

Mesa County teachers aren’t some group of high-paid union fat cats – they are our neighbors, friends and, most importantly, the people we trust to educate our children. These are the people best positioned to judge the effectiveness of potential school candidates and their ability to make the right decisions for our kids.

I also think it speaks volumes that they have decided to support Greg Mikolai, John Williams and Tom Parrish. Teachers have to voluntarily opt in to make donations, and they do so in the form of $6-a-month contributions. The donations that MVEA made to the above candidates came from hundreds of small donations from local teachers.

The fact that they choose to combine their small, individual donations doesn’t make them a “big donor.” It makes them a group of relatively powerless public servants who are smart enough to try to work together for what is best for D51 schools.

Teachers are one of the few remaining groups that are willing to take on hard jobs for low pay simply because it’s something they believe in. The Sentinel’s editorial sells them short and does a great disservice to the voters in Mesa County.

Grand Junction

Political ‘terrorists” in House cost national economy $24 billion

I read in the Friday edition that Rep. Scott Tipton is insisting the president and the Senate begin negotiations with the House of Representatives.

My question for Rep. Tipton is: With whom would they negotiate? The speaker has completely lost support of his own caucus. Do they negotiate directly with tea party leaders? It seems the only thing the House wants to negotiate for is the delay, defunding and repeal of the ACA. That is not going to work and he knows it.

The House has voted more than 40 times to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Obviously, it has never passed. Why would the president and the Senate agree to negotiations on a law House members clearly don’t have the votes to repeal?

He makes it sound as if the House saved the economy from the brink. Nothing could be farther from the truth. More than 100 House Republicans voted to keep the government shut down and allow the good faith and credit of the United States to be questioned. These House members have cost our economy $24 billion and nearly 1 million jobs.

These people are nothing more than political terrorists. We should never negotiate with terrorists.

Grand Junction

Word “reform” has different meanings to different people

Phyllis Hunsinger claims that the school-board election is “between candidates who would empower the parents and teachers to reform education and those candidates who would empower the teachers’ union to continue opposing educational reforms.”

I’d first like to note the irony in Hunsinger’s claim that the election is about empowering teachers vs. empowering the teachers’ union. Who does she think makes up the teachers’ union?

Second, I’d like to address Hunsinger’s use of the word “reform.” Most teachers, including those who make up a teachers’ union, are by no means opposed to reform in the literal sense of improving over current conditions. I believe, however, there is a difference at the fundamental level in how this word is being used –– a difference in the way many parents and teachers interpret the word “reform” compared to how someone like Ed McVaney and perhaps Hunsinger would use the word.

I’ve had many conversations with teachers, including those in MVEA, and they want to be empowered and are open to reform, which they define as innovative classrooms, freedom to implement creative teaching methods, smaller class sizes, etc.

Others believe that reform primarily comes through eliminating or handicapping our public education system in favor of privatizing education using a voucher system. In this case, the word reform refers to a very narrow idea being pushed by special interest groups for financial and ideological reasons.

Teachers want to be able to provide the quality reform my first interpretation connotes. More importantly, they want it for ALL students at ALL schools, NOT only the families who can afford it.

Pay attention when you hear someone say that teachers are blocking reform of schools. What they really mean is that teachers are opposed to taking resources from our kids to support someone else’s ideological agenda.

Grand Junction

Democrats refused to let Obamacare become a hostage

I read Josh Penry’s latest twisted diatribe, “Reid’s shutdown partisanship will haunt Colorado Sen. Udall.” First, Penry claims he supports and is “glad Sen. Ted Cruz did what he did.” And what did Penry claim Cruz did? He fought, “increasing the debt.”

No, Josh! The shutdown that Sen. Cruz supported, along with tea party crazies in the House, had to do with holding the government hostage over what should have been routine legislation to keep the government open and running and to extend and increase the government’s borrowing capacity to pay our debts (bills).

Why did Obama and Reid refuse to negotiate? Because what Cruz and the tea party Republicans were demanding was for the White House and the Senate to negotiate, under this hostage threat, to modify Obamacare legislation that had passed legislatively and had been upheld by a conservative Supreme Court.

Not once in Penry’s column does he mention that this outrageous fight was over Obamacare. Why? Because even Penry knows that the fight was at best ridiculous and anti-democratic. If legislators do not like existing law, their options are to fight it in court or introduce modifying legislation — not shutting government down and refusing to deal with the routine business of the government.

Somehow, then, in a bizarre twist of logic, Penry goes on to claim that “from the shrill, partisan lips of the majority leader” (Harry Reid) came this repetitive message: “I will not negotiate with Republicans.”  No, Josh! There was nothing to negotiate unless you wanted to erode our democratic processes.

Finally, in another distortion, Penry claims that Mark Udall will lose in his reelection bid because he is “on Reid’s leash.” In this convoluted, distorted interpretation of events, Republicans will take over the U.S. Senate. What?

Where are reasonable, thoughtful Republicans who represent different positions and opinions with Democrats, but understand good government is respecting and negotiating out differences? It is clear that Penry does not represent this caliber of Republicans.


Check out coverage of candidates’ forum hosted by 12 PTOs/PTAs

Two weeks ago, 12 PTAs and PTOs around Mesa County came together to host a school board candidate forum. The 12 local PTA/PTOs were: Appleton Elementary PTA/Broadway Elementary PTO/Chipeta Elementary PTO/Dual Immersion Academy PTA/Orchard Avenue Elementary PTA/Pomona Elementary PTO/Rim Rock Elementary PTO/Rocky Mountain Elementary PTO/Scenic Elementary PTO/Shelledy Elementary PTO/Taylor Elementary PTO/and Wingate Elementary PTA.

The forum can be viewed on Mesa County’s television channel 12 every day at 9 a.m., 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. until Election Day. The structured forum lasted one and one-half hours, and candidates were given a series of questions they hadn’t received in advance. The topics include budget, school safety and the candidates’ knowledge and involvement in what’s happening in schools today in Mesa County.

We were pleased to provide a forum to help inform the community about the candidates in this year’s school board election. Our children are counting on the voting public to participate in this important election. We also want to remind everyone that any registered voter in Mesa County can vote for the candidates, even if the candidates aren’t in their district.

We urge you to take time to view the forum and make an informed decision.

and other PTA/PTO presidents
Grand Junction

Boy Scout leader deserves a fine and community service

In reference to the story on the Boy Scout leader who toppled a stone at Goblin Valley, this man deserves a fine and hours of community service. Possibly, community service should be required for the whole troop to learn about mob mentality.

This “leader” is no leader; he’s merely a juvenile father without respect to our beautiful national parks. Saying he was destroying the rock due to safety is absolute baloney. We have educated rangers who take care of our parks and wonderfully watch out for visitor safety. This guy is a fraud.

Grand Junction

Everyone, including teachers, pays into retirement

Is the extreme right shooting itself in the foot? There seems to be this sillier-than-thou belief that anyone who belongs to a union or works for any government is not only a worthless parasite but also a “liberal.”

Do Republicans really believe there are no Republican teachers? How can I know for a fact that’s not true but they don’t? If they are, how are you finding teachers to work in Christian schools and how do they negotiate their pay? Are they still worthless if they think it’s acceptable to earn a fair living? And why would you believe liberals never attend church? I also know for a fact that’s not true.

As for other unions, does the right actually believe all the macho, he-man blue-collar union men who largely love their guns and hate President Obama are liberal parasites instead of men who simply want a good wage and retirement?  Gee whiz, that’s really dumb.

The same goes for government workers. Do Republicans seriously believe everyone employed by the city or county is always liberal?  Do you seriously believe there are no Republicans in the IRS, NSA, BLM or Forest Service?

One simple fact is that everyone wants a good job with a fair wage — at least if they can’t get more. They have also come to love retirement income. Is that a bad thing or is it better that they suck money from their families or live in boxes? 

Remember, what you all call entitlements are investments every one of us pays into in some form or another. We all, including teachers, pay into some type of retirement even if it’s being paid by buying a hamburger.


Grand Junction

Hard-working citizens shouldn’t have to subsidize slackers

Wow! I read the letter by Robert Laitres of Delta ripping Mike Bambino a new one and I thought to myself, Yup that’s why we are in trouble. Apparently he is the only one thinking for himself in Delta County, I don’t know.

I do know history and I do know math. A few facts: $17 trillion is our debt that we must borrow to keep all these programs going. To harp about the taxes we pay is to question why and for what are we paying all these taxes?

Another fact: We pay for a lot of medical care outside the system already. I lived on the southern border for years, so don’t get in that argument with me. The people we are taking care of aren’t ours for the most part.

And then we have the coveted argument of “we owe them for the roads, the services, the people that keep that business running.” The world owes you a living, Robert; you have to work damned hard to collect it.

Sounds as if the pity you profess to lament is your own, because you apparently hate the self-employed out their bustin’ their bum daily and think we all owe the government their share. With that attitude you should work for the post office or the office of Social Security. The Democrats have been stealing from them for more than 40 years with no paybacks.

To state that business owners have convinced themselves they actually “own” the employees is typical of the rhetoric and ridiculous statements a loon like Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid might invoke just to comment on something they know nothing about.

You may have worked hard all your life, gawd knows I did, but I’ll be damned if I’m happy about giving my retirement to soul-sucking parasites that never worked a day in their life or those that fell on hard times. Play the cards they dealt ya. You will never get this old Marine to think that way, no matter how many eyes you open or taxes YOU think I need to pay.

Grand Junction

‘Walloping’ child wasn’t OK, but teachers also make mistakes

This letter is in regard to the incident at Chatfield Elementary last week. It’s never OK to hit a child, with, I believe, the possible exception of a well-timed gentle swat to the bottom of a toddler for the sake of safety. That said, we all make mistakes. I often tell my second graders, “Teachers are people, too, and we make mistakes.“ They understand this and are very forgiving.

Granted, this was a big one, and one from which Harry Easton may never fully recover. I am in no way minimizing the seriousness of what occurred last week at Chatfield Elementary. We must never under react to a situation like this, and due diligence must be the rule, but it’s also important that we don’t overreact.

Let’s give this man some grace. He has left a long and positive legacy behind him in education, as well as a trail of more than 1,000 students who think of him with great affection, even many years after they were students under him in his capacity as either a teacher or as a principal.

I worked with Easton at Broadway Elementary, first as a parent, next as a reading aide and finally as a teacher, over a period of about seven years. Never once in that time did I see him treat anyone, child or adult with anything less than respect. He was respectful to everyone, even if he disagreed with them or was disciplining them according to his duties as a principal.

In no way am I excusing the “walloping,” but, unless you’ve stood in a classroom full of unruly children, it might be very easy to judge Easton harshly. As this situation is addressed, please be understanding and try not to. We don’t want to judge this man’s entire body of work by one incident.


Second-grade teacher
Grand Junction

McVaney uses his wealth for megalomaniacal vision

Andrew Carnegie was one of the greediest, most aggressive people ever to get filthy rich on the backs of the American people. Master of the con game, he and his “robber baron” buddies took advantage of the Civil War and westward expansion to plunder government coffers, exploiting every loophole and inefficiency to amass personal wealth.

But as death approached, Carnegie, concerned about the fiery pit of hell, sought penance through philanthropy. His avenue to righteousness and heaven was, he believed, the building of a better-educated America. So, he built about 1,600 libraries in towns and cities across the country.

Interestingly, Carnegie and the robber barons did not evoke sufficient public outrage to force changes in the rules governing how our government and we do business. Instead of public outrage, Carnegie created an enduring public institution, which consists of greedy, aggressive people amassing personal wealth and subsequently engaging in acts of what they perceive to be soul-saving philanthropy.

The divided soul of Carnegie lives today in this California guy, C. Edward McVaney, who is trying to influence our school board election. He amassed a fortune on the backs of the American people and is now throwing money at what he opines to be a philanthropic cause.

McVaney, however, has not been guided by angels to do anything nearly as cool as building libraries. Instead, he puts his money behind self-serving, highly politicized changes to the education system that conform to his narrow, megalomaniacal vision.

If he really wants to improve education, he should spearhead the building of technologically advanced public schools that could have positive impacts to last a century and more.

Grand Junction

Politics do not belong in school-board election

I find it interesting that no matter how hard they try, candidates for school boards do end up spouting political slogans. Listen carefully to wording and slick phrases used in the campaigning. ” For the children,” “quality schools,“ ” I know what it takes.” 

As a retired teacher, I would be much more interested in those who talk specifics about vouchers and support for private schools. I would speak out about the partisanship displayed by unions — in some states expecting teachers to campaign for certain politicians. A board member should be in closer touch with teachers who face great challenges with student behaviors, apathetic learners, not to mention administrators who nearly always take the student’s side of a confrontation.

Teachers have been beaten down in our public, or, should I say, government schools. Sure, bad teachers need to go, but most are dedicated and would just like to be able to teach their subject matter without all the dictates from the NEA. This organization, more than any other, has injected a political stance into schools. They are pushing secularism, radical environmentalism, global governance, and loyalty to big daddy government.

It is most outrageous in our universities. I would love to hear an administrator announce that “Yes, we’ll have a Christmas program this year” or give teachers more pats on the back than criticisms. Schools need to be much tougher on discipline, allowing teachers to teach without constant interruptions and harassment.
Wouldn’t it provide more insight if administrators had to go back to the classroom as a teacher at least once in a five year period of time? Unfortunately, those in higher positions soon lose touch with the realities of dealing with students all day long.

No qualified teacher should have to feel intimidation just by going to work and trying to do his or her job. Candidates for superintendent or school boards must focus on bringing parents back into the process of school structure; restore local control. And please, people:  Question candidates on their view of common core standards that will mandate even more government doctrine into our classrooms.


MVEA should explain why it supports several candidates

School-board election ballots in hand … what to do? The Daily Sentinel has done a good job telling us about the candidates.

Outside and inside money flows in. That doesn’t help in any way. I think that Pat Kanda, John Sluder and Mike Lowenstein should return Edward McVaney’s money forthwith. What does McVaney want?

Correspondingly, why doesn’t the MVEA tell us why it is supporting several candidates? Is it out of fear that a conservative candidate or candidates will put forth reforms they don’t like? Why don’t they tell us in a forthright manner? In this writer’s early career in education I was proud to have memberships in the local association, the CEA and the NEA. Now, when one googles “NEA resolutions,” a nearby barf bag can be justified.

What I want to hear about is improved teaching, improved student learning and a sincere departure from federal education influences.

Grand Junction


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Some people would have you believe the billionaire’s money is just a wonderful gift to candidates of his choice.  Why somebody from Douglas County would give money to District 51 candidates is beyond me to begin with other than his opinion that vouchers and private schools are the way to go.

Interesting that there are 8 candidates for the Douglas County school board elections with a majority of them expressing a desire to take back their schools and get the budget under control.

Others would have you believe that because you are a union member supporting candidates that support teachers one is trying to rule the hen house. 

Some are just plain ignorant if they believe reform has not been taking place and some improvements made.  Not all reforms are good because they are instituted by politicians who know nothing about education.  The same is true about electing school board members with personal agendas that know nothing about education and how it works.  In fact, the last time they may have been in a school or classroom is when they were a senior.

Problem is, those voting for these people haven’t been in a school either!

In contrast to Lee Cassin’s blind loyalty to Scott Tipton (“Rep. Tipton deserves thanks for voting to end shutdown”), Alfonso Salazar puts his finger squarely on the problem (“Tea party Republicans must learn to play by the rules”).  As Gary Harmon reported (“Tipton:  Senate, Obama must negotiate now”), Tipton seeks to befuddle his gullible loyalists and evade “personal responsibility” for his actions.

Since 2011, Tipton has been an enthusiastic participant in the “Tea Party” Repugnicans’  deliberate efforts to “deny President Obama a second term” and sabotage his presidency by effecting “gridlock”.  As widely reported yesterday, their “strategy” has thus far cost our economy some $300 billion and 900,000 jobs.  “Heckuva job, Scotty!”

On October 1, 2013, Tipton voted for the anti-democratic rule change that guaranteed a prolonged shutdown.  Only after local economic impacts within the 3rd Congressional District prompted calls for his resignation did Tipton vote for the Reid-McConnell bill that both ended the shutdown and avoided default.  Meanwhile, those 16 days of Tipton-encouraged shutdown cost the national economy (i.e., wasted) at least $24 billion. 

From March 23, 2013 (when the Senate passed a budget resolution differing from the House version, thereby requiring a conference committee) through September 30, 2013,  Speaker Boehner – on twenty separate occasions—refused to appoint conferees, while Senate Republicans filibustered Majority Leader Reid’s appointments.  Thus, for six months, House Republicans “refused to negotiate” – fecklessly hoping to extort the repeal of ObamaCare by threatening shutdown and/or default. 

On October 1, 2013, with the shutdown then underway, Boehner finally appointed House conferees and staged a cynical “photo op” with an empty conference table – because, as President Obama warned for two years and Leader Reid confirmed, Democrats rightly “refused to negotiate during a shutdown” and/or under threat of default.

On October 16, 2013, the Reid-McConnell bill required what Repugnicans had refused to do – “negotiate” and resolve budgetary differences by December 13, 2013.

Tipton persistently proves how contemptibly low his “intellectual high ground” really is.

Dick Prosence’s on-line letter (“GOP platform should have two goals; reducing the size of government and promoting growth”) isolates the core problem of facing Republicans today:  those two goals are fundamentally incompatible.

Thus, while “Tea Partiers” would single-mindedly pursue the former – even at the $24 billion expense of shutting down the government entirely (thereby reducing its size to zero) and/or defaulting on the national debt (thereby de-“promoting growth” and costing some $300 billion and 900,000 jobs since 2011) – more thoughtful Republicans would emphasize the latter.  However, the widely-reported internal “civil war” within the Republican Party has the effect of reducing “conservative” policy pronouncements to empty rhetoric – because they offer no real policy alternatives and automatically reject those that President Obama and reputable economists have been advocating since 2009.

Thus, Prosence completely misunderstands the on-going debate in Washington – it’s all about the debt.  In 2006, then-Senator Obama warned his colleagues about the dangers of Bush’s profligate deficit spending.  In January 2009, President Obama inherited the largest national debt and annual budget deficit in our history – along with massive job losses and a negative growth rate unprecedented since the Great Depression.

Thus, Obama’s first priority was to restore economic stability by bailing out banks and the auto industry and re-stimulating the economic to promote employment.  Looking longer term, the biggest driver of future projected deficits (and this increased debt) was the rapidly rising health care costs that threatened the viability of Medicare.  Thus, his second priority was to embrace Republican’s “conservative” market-driven approach to harnessing a more competitive health insurance industry to drive down those costs.  The Affordable Care Act does that – even though Republicans have rejected their own idea.

Thus, what has been happening in Washington has always been a “serious discussion of lowering the national debt” – with Democrats offering constructive proposals (like the American Jobs Act of 2011) and Republicans obstructing everything and offering nothing but more “deregulation” and tax cuts for the wealthy (abject failures for 30 years).

Now, Prosence is recycling the same pseudo-policies touted by Romney-Ryan in 2012—and properly rejected by the American people.  Why – because there is no evidence that “reducing the size of government” actually promotes growth.  Rather, as evidenced by the multiple harms inflicted by “sequestration” and the “shutdown”, an amply revenued (not smaller) federal government has many critical roles to play in “promoting growth”.

L.W. Hunley (“Most fast-food workers are teenagers or college kids”) is flat wrong in claiming that such young people largely account for those earning abysmally low wages in the fast-food industry. 

Rather, the Center for Economic and Policy Research report finds that people aged 25-54 hold the largest share of fast-food worker jobs in the U.S.  11% of workers earning $7.25 an hour or less are older than 20, as are 68% of workers earning between $7.26 and $10.09.  This means that minimum wage workers are not simply teenagers looking for some pocket money while living at home with their parents; most fast food workers are trying to make a life for themselves and their families on the pittance that they earn.

The report also breaks down fast-food workers by demographics including race, gender, and whether those workers have kids.
“This new information simply serves to underscore what’s already known about the fast food industry:  Employers are incorrect in asserting that these jobs are a wrung on the ladder to the American dream.  Mobility does not actually exist for low-wage fast food workers.”  Moreover, the National Employment Law Project’s previous report found that a meager 2.2% of fast food workers hold managerial, professional, or technical positions, while more than 89% remain career front-line workers with little chance to advance.
Thus, Hunley should learn to practice what he preaches and “do a real job of disclosing all the facts instead of only reporting what” supports his sadly distorted view of reality.

Richard Bright’s response to Robert Laitres (“Hard-working citizens shouldn’t have to subsidize slackers”) regurgitates the same false meme spouted by Mitt Romney during the 2012 presidential campaign, when he maligned the “47% who pay no income taxes”.

Just who are these “slackers” Bright would refuse to “subsidize”?  As widely reported at the time (but apparently missed by Bright), 2/3 of those who have no federal income tax obligation actually pay social security payroll taxes – so, are working (not “slacking”).

Of the remainder, most are elderly – having already paid federal income taxes and/or payroll taxes during their working career – and are receiving Social Security in non-taxable amounts (not “slacking”), while some non-elderly simply do not earn enough outside the Social Security system to incur any federal income tax obligation.

The remaining fraction includes some 7000 millionaires who manage to pay no federal income taxes, and U.S. servicemembers serving in combat zones – whom Bright seems also to regard as “slackers”, even if active (rather than former) U.S. Marines.

Moreover, these “slackers” are concentrated across the states of the former Confederacy (plus New Mexico and Idaho) which tend to vote Republican!

Thus, Republicans have become the party of “Tea Party” slackers and wealthy scofflaws, while Democrats continue to steadfastly advocate for restoration of the Middle Class and for expanding opportunities for the working poor who strive to get there.

Mr. McDaniel is spot on when he points out the difference between the contributions of Mr. McVaney and those of more than 150 individual donors to the MVEA Small Donor Committee.  The Sentinel was wrong to equate them in its editorial.

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