Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

Home · Articles · News · Other Opinions · Do little, take a break
. . . .

Do little, take a break

Stephen Tuttle - August 8th, 2011
Do Little, Take a Break
Our collective play date in Washington has taken a break. The sandbox is
empty, the toys gone. Some of the children pretending to be our elected
representatives did not play well with others.
As John McEnroe was fond of bellowing, “You cannot be serious!”
The Great Budget Near-Disaster of 2011 has concluded round one. After
months of wrangling that was frequently surreal, Congress has agreed to a
deal that raises the debt ceiling, thereby at least forestalling a default
on obligations by the United States government for the first time in our
history. It also reduces spending by an amount that’s about the same as
the amount of increase in the debt ceiling.
Then they passed the hard work on to an as yet unnamed super-commission of
12 legislators, six Republicans and six Democrats, assigned to conjure up
another $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction in the next year. If they fail,
automatic cuts occur in both defense spending and Medicare at about the
same time as the Bush tax cuts expire.
So, a smaller group of the same people who could not agree on much of
anything while the debate slithered through Congress will now try to agree
on the same issues they could not resolve previously. What could possibly
go wrong?
In the pathetic little agreement that does exist, Republicans successfully
protected even the most odious tax breaks for the wealthy and
corporations. (Tax breaks for corporate jets and yachts? Those are
“essential”? Really?) They also made sure there was no tax increase for
the wealthiest 5% of American income earners.
They even forced a vote on a balanced budget amendment despite knowing
there is absolutely no chance it will receive anywhere near the 67 votes
needed in the Senate.
The president got a deal that prevents a default but he succumbed to the
realities of vote counting – there were simply not enough votes in the
House to support his plan and he didn’t do much to change that reality.
As David Letterman cleverly said, “Obama compromised with the Republicans
in the same way Custer compromised with Sitting Bull.”
The great irony here is the public actually supported Obama’s so-called
balanced approach that included both spending cuts and revenue increases.
Virtually every poll taken on the subject showed about two-to-one support
for the combination of spending cuts and tax reform as opposed to the
cuts-only plan now in place.
As is becoming a pattern, the president and Democrats did a horrible job
of selling a plan that already had public support thereby successfully
snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Again.
The Great Agreement contains no major or even minor reforms to entitlement
programs, minimal defense cuts, no tax reform that closes giant loopholes
or increases taxes on the wealthiest Americans; in fact it doesn’t do much
at all, leaving the hard work to the super commission yet to come.
Nor is there so much as a word about job creation. There seems to be
little debate that the ongoing malaise in the job market is the cause
of much of our budget woes. According to the Congressional Budget
Office, an unemployment rate of about 5%, as opposed to the current
9.2%, would provide sufficient revenue and create an economic multiplier
impact that would put the deficits back to a manageable level and we
wouldn’t even be having this debate. Jobs, apparently, are no longer a
priority for Congress.
Lost in all of the silliness and rhetoric is the fact that none of the
proposals discussed actually balances the budget for decades. The entire
debate was about reducing the amount of overspending
Especially troubling was the fact that Speaker of the House John Boehner,
despite his best efforts, lost control of his own troops in what must have
been some kind of bloodless coup. The Republicans in Congress are now
controlled by tea party darling Eric Cantor of Virginia and his merry band
of freshman absolutists. They believe compromise is weakness, that their
principles are more important than yours or mine and that they are
entitled to 100% of what they want 100% of the time.
Thank God they weren’t around to destroy the compromises that led to the
Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, every
additional amendment and almost every piece of significant legislation in
our history.
They claim they are just doing what their constituents want. That’s
It seems unlikely their constituents wanted them to take the country to
the brink of economic catastrophe just so they would get their way. Or to
protect all tax loopholes and make sure the very rich need not worry about
even a tiny tax increase. Or to make seniors pay for their own Medicare.
Or attempt to reduce the deficit on the backs of the poor, the sick, the
young, the elderly and what’s left of the middle class.
The only thing that’s been accomplished, really, is Congress has delayed
the work they claimed to be so diligently undertaking and created a
commission to do their jobs for them. There is no reason to assume the
legislators who will comprise the commission will be any more successful
than was Congress since it will be the same people engaged in the same
There is much work to be done and little time in which to do it.
So, of course, Congress has now adjourned for a five week vacation... I’m
sorry... Congress has recessed for five weeks of “district work sessions.”
Uh-huh. You really can’t make this stuff up.

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