Printed Letters: September 5, 2017

Congress, ‘pass the hat’ for contributions

At the soon gathering of the rich and famous, known as the next session of Congress, I am sure that more than a few members are waiting to attach their names to and vote for any appropriations bill in support of the tragedy in Texas and now Louisiana and Mississippi, perhaps our worst in history.

While this is certainly appropriate and to be applauded, let’s not forget that this is taxpayer money and not their personal contributions.

Wouldn’t it be a great gesture, since most members of Congress are multimillionaires, if the four leaders of the political parties would “pass the hat” asking for personal cash contributions or contributions from whatever charitable foundations they lay claim to?

Perhaps it is yet to come, will be publicized later, or is occurring as this comment from me is being written but I have heard nothing from the Bush family, Texans all, or the well known and publicized Clinton Foundation, which has hundreds of millions in their fund. It is interesting that we have heard more about contributions from individual athletes, athletic teams, private citizens, and various public and private businesses than from members of Congress or any bureaucrats or very rich appointees who seem to have no problem coming up with political contributions.

L.W. HUNLEY
Grand Junction

Name change a halfhearted attempt to better community

Once again it appears that only a halfhearted attempt has been made to better our community. Change the name of North Avenue and it is said they will come, by the hundreds! Apparently the name of the street is at least equally, if not more important, than the choice of courses or the quality of instruction.

Then there are a number of claims about how the community will benefit from this name change. Seems like such a simple fix, change the name and prosper. Why didn’t we do this before?

If this is indeed the case, then why are we not changing the name of the city? Maverick, Colorado has a nice ring to it and would draw new students by the thousands! Who could resist being a proud Maverick from CMU in Maverick, Colorado? And for sure the streets would end up being paved with gold, or perhaps the stuff that Mavericks leave behind when they pass by. Let’s not just go halfway!

MIKE BROWN
Grand Junction

Maybe we need tax increases to fulfill tasks of governance

On September 6, 2000, Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore proposed accruing a $300 billion “rainy day fund” as a prudent hedge against optimistic projections of a $4.4 trillion budgetary surplus over the next 10 years (enough to retire our national debt).

Republicans and conservative economists belittled the suggestion, Gore narrowly “lost,” and Bush’s tax cuts — along with two off-budget wars and the financial crisis — converted that projected surplus into a $14 trillion national debt by the end of 2010. Then came the rains.

Within a week after Hurricane Katrina submerged New Orleans in August 2005, Indiana Congressman Mike Pence was insisting that no federal disaster relief should be provided unless “paid for” by a $30 billion reduction in Medicare prescription drug benefits for the elderly.

In 2013, after Hurricane Sandy inundated New York City, Long Island, and the Jersey Shore, both Republican Texas Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn voted against the final Sandy relief bill — and Cruz’s lame excuse for his vote was assigned “three Pinocchios” (“mostly false”) by the Washington Post’s fact-checkers on Monday. Now, these anti-government and anti-tax hypocrites want a “government bail out” for Texas.

Ironically, Gore’s “rainy day fund” presaged the “Inconvenient Truth” about the effects of global climate change. While scientists predicted that warming oceans would increase the frequency and intensity of “extreme weather events,” Republican “deniers” still prod their gullible base to dismiss that science as a “hoax” — even as Houston and its environs have just experienced the most extreme rain event in U.S. history.

Meanwhile, our president is exploiting Houston’s devastation as a product placement opportunity for his $40 baseball caps, has endorsed Arpaio’s anti-immigrant lawlessness, has proposed a corporate tax cut that will add $3 to $7 trillion to our debt, and threatens to “shut down” the government unless Congress funds his “wall” — when what Houston will really need are immigrant workers to help remove debris and rebuild (just as they did after Katrina).

On Aug. 25, the Washington Post’s economics columnist Robert J. Samuelson opined that Republicans’ reliance on perpetual tax cuts has proven an utter failure. Rather, what we really need are tax increases — primarily on the top 20 percent of taxpayers — to fulfill the many tasks of governance and respond to the increasing likelihood of natural disasters.

BILL HUGENBERG
Grand Junction


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