Printed letters, October 7, 2012

Joseph Luff’s recent letter to the editor tries to persuade us that the Social Security Trust Fund is in the red. He says, “55 million of us receiving Social Security checks are borrowing $500 each and sending the bill, with accrued interest, to our grandchildren.”

The Social Security trust fund has been helping to keep the government solvent for the last few decades by lending its surplus cash to the government in return for bonds. The cash loaned to the government never went toward Social Security payments. Remaining cash in the fund always covered them.

This fact is central to understanding the controversy: Social Security taxes are the most regressive taxes imaginable. All income over $100,000 is exempt, and there are no other deductions.

Luff wants to convince us the billions in the Social Security Trust Fund that were loaned in good faith to the government to carry out other functions won’t be paid back. This would perpetrate the largest pension-fund fraud in history.

Sensible solutions abound. Social Security is an insurance policy. If you don’t need it, you don’t get it. The definition of “not needing it” is sure to spark controversy, but it’s a start. It’s also appropriate to raise the starting age to 70.

Lastly, if the taxes for Social Security have to be raised, so be it. The last president to do that was Saint Reagan.

PETER FORTE

Palisade

Public has fallen asleep 
at wheel of democracy

President Obama’s recent speech to the United Nations was exactly what I expected. He quickly referred to his Christianity (this from a man fresh from a Democratic Convention that ripped at least three major tenets of Christian morality from the Bible, replacing them with his secular doctrines).

Obama threw out constant sound bites referring to “The Video,” as if the audience could be persuaded some obscure filmmaker was responsible for the well-planned Islamic terrorist attacks and forget all of Biden’s immature and inappropriate media-blitz cheers and jeers about “Bin Laden is dead! Bin Laden is dead!” Yay, team!

Obama also made an incredible statement about democracy: “A democracy is a government that responds to the wishes of its people.” Really? Then it’s time for “people” to rise up and demand that we return to government that truly reflects the wishes of the people.

If this is truly a “democratic government,” there would have been no midnight meeting to foist Obamacare on a people who were opposed to it.

There would have been no executive orders to ignore the Defense of Marriage Act, immigration laws and welfare laws. There would be no efforts to protect Fast-and-Furious, to ignore voter suppression at election sites, to leak classified information, to fund at-risk “green” industries and to add repressive regulations on industries.

I’m no longer shocked by his lies, but I am shocked at the public’s somnambulism that accepts these lies.

GAIL SCHULTZ

Grand Junction

 

Keep ‘true leader’ in office, 
vote out legislative lemmings

Someone had to respond to the idiotic, mindless letters to the editor that were published Oct. 3 regarding our current president. The fact that this may get published will be astonishing in itself, since The Daily Sentinel has a very long record of following the right-wing nut jobs and gladly expressing their views for all the rest of us to laugh at.

The writer from Grand Junction stating that “he can’t believe anyone would vote for President Obama” and the writer from Montrose who said Obama’s first term was a mess need to stop listening to the folks at Fox News, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh to get their minimal information about our nation and the record of our president.

They also need to realize that more than 50 percent of people in our state do not agree with their foolish ideas (thank goodness) and perhaps they will be saying in November, “I can’t believe anyone would re-elect President Obama.”

We can only hope for those results — otherwise, the fools at Fox News and their lemming listeners will have accomplished their goal in getting rid of an intelligent, well-spoken man and replacing him with a puppet of the corporations that are ruining this country.

We have a “true leader” now, people. Keep him in office and get rid of all the Republican legislative lemmings who blindly follow the wishes of their misinformed party leaders and their very own TV “news” network.

JOHN PANEK

Cedaredge

 

Surprise at weak Obama 
comes from relying on media

The only ones surprised about how horrible President Barack Obama was during the debate are people who only watch NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC or read The Daily Sentinel’s editorials.

This guy is the worst and proved why America is in deep trouble. Obama has no clue and no business being president.

MIKE BAMBINO

Grand Junction



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Gail Schultz’s letter – “Public has fallen asleep at the wheel of democracy” (October 7, 2012) – epitomizes the contagious drivel circulating among “true believers”.

President Obama’s speech to the United Nations decried all forms of religious bigotry and violent intolerance – explicitly citing that all-too-prevalent in the Moslem world.

Curiously, Schultz does not specify the “three tenets of Christian morality” that the DNC purportedly “ripped from the Bible”, much less the “secular doctrines that are in total opposition of those tenets” with which it replaced them.  Thus, the premises of Schultz’s hysteria remain as secret as Mitt Romney’s tax returns.

Personally, I would have left the word “god” out of the Democratic Party Platform – adhering to the separation of Church and State – but President Obama put it back in.

I would also return to our original constructively collectivist national motto – “E pluribus Unum” (From Many, One) – and consign its seductively superstitious replacement – “In God We Trust”—to the dustbin of anti-Communist history where it belongs.  And, I would restore civics to our Pledge of Allegiance by affirming “one Nation, under law”.

But, contrary to Schultz’s snide insinuations, President Obama didn’t do any of that – and his policies confirm his profound respect for both the Golden Rule and the Sermon on the Mount, but not for the intolerance of Leviticus.

Incredibly, Schultz seems surprised that our democracy is “of the people, by the people, and for the people” – and that President Obama realistically hopes that from the “Arab Spring” will emerge elected regimes responsive to the wishes of their people.

Obviously, Schultz is no longer shocked by lies about President Obama – because she is so inundated by them that she must spout falsehoods to relieve the cognitive dissonance spawned by contradicting reality.

Predictably, Schultz confuses public disinterest in her hysteria with “somnambulism”.

                Bill Hugenberg

Joseph Luff’s letter in last Tuesday’s Sentinel – “Taxpayers can’t sustain public jobs, entitlements” – parrots familiar misconceptions about both our economy and Social Security.

Because roughly 91% of our economy is “private sector” while 9% is “public sector”, Luff’s “fear that the public sector will sooner or later crush taxpayers” is obviously premature – given even President Obama’s restraints on public sector expansion.

Contrary to Luff’s mindless mantra (but as columnist Jim Spehar factually demonstrated),
the public sector does indeed create jobs—as proven in Mesa County.  Therefore, “once again, repeat after me”:  NOT “only the private sector creates jobs”.

Rather, demand for goods and services “creates jobs”.  While most of that demand is satisfied by the private sector, the remainder is filled by the public sector (including teachers, firemen, police, soldiers, etc.).

President Obama’s Eisenhower-esque efforts to “go out and create those jobs and lower the country’s unemployment rate” – as in the American Jobs Act of 2011 (which would have saved 300,000 public sector jobs, created 1+ million new infrastructure-related private sector jobs, and lowered the unemployment rate by at least 1%) and the Veterans Job Corps Act (which would have facilitated the employment of returning Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans) – were both obstructed by unpatriotic Republicans seeking to prevent him from earning electoral credit for a more robustly recovering economy.

Likewise contrary to Luff’s false refrain, Social Security is not a “Ponzi Scheme”—but rather an inter-generational insurance program guaranteed by the full faith and credit of the U.S.  Indeed, as the Simpson-Bowles Commission concluded, the actuarial integrity of Social Security can be extended indefinitely by gradually increasing the payroll tax rate, removing the earnings cap, raising the retirement age, and/or means-testing benefits.  (See Daily Sentinel, “Modest changes to fix Social Security carry huge political risks”, August 20, 2012).

                Bill Hugenberg

Mike Bambino must have missed the Sentinel’s reporting of the AP’s fact-checking of Wednesday’s presidential debate (“Factual missteps included health insurance, jobless”), which omitted several falsehoods chronicled in the AP’s on-line version (“Fact Check:  Presidential debate missteps”).

As reported by Nation of Change, Romney told 27 “myths” (i.e., falsehoods, lies, and/or unverifiable “facts”) in 38 minutes – thus, one lie every 90 seconds!

Curiously, the Sentinel (presumably deliberately) omitted the AP’s analysis of Romney’s campaign-touted tax plan.

Logically, the net effect of tax code changes is calculated by subtracting total revenue-increasing offsets from total revenue-decreasing tax cuts (i.e., arithmetic).

Romney’s published plan calls for 20% across-the-board cuts in tax rates – and thus a 20% reduction in federal income tax revenues ($5 trillion over ten years).

Romney would also extend the expiring Bush tax cuts for all brackets – costing another $1 trillion, and would increase defense spending by $2 trillion – a total of $8 trillion.

Romney claimed that his tax cuts would always be “revenue neutral”—because revenue reductions created by his plan would be filled by limiting as-yet-unspecified deductions for the “top 3%” (to be “negotiated” with Congress), thus admitting that there might be no tax cuts whatsoever – prompting President Obama to caustically retort that Romney’s “one big idea” was in fact a “never mind”.
As President Obama stated – and as the widely-regarded non-partisan Tax Policy Center concluded—there is simply not enough revenue available from those deductions to close a $5 trillion gap, so either deficits would explode or the middle 50% of taxpayers (97% minus the bottom 47% who pay none) would average $2300 in annual tax increases.

Romney dismissed that inconvenient fact by disingenuously referencing “other studies”—produced by conservative “think tanks”—which close Romney’s (and Ryan’s) revenue shortfalls by arbitrarily assuming that their tax cuts (if any) would stimulate sufficiently robust economic growth to generate the necessary additional tax revenues.  Magic!

That is the core “shell game” (and discredited premise) of “Voodoo Economics” and, as the AP noted, “Congress doesn’t use those kinds of projections when it estimates the effect of tax legislation”.

                Bill Hugenberg

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