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Funding family services
I find it ironic how liberals decry conservatives’ efforts to cut funding for education and family services claiming it will be harmful to children, yet they have no problem with abortion which is harmful to unborn children as it kills them. Nor do they seem concerned about the huge federal debt burden our children will face if our government does not make some changes.
What about cutting the 360,000,000 of taxpayer dollars that currently goes toward funding Planned Parenthood and using that money for education and family services?
Claire Scerbak • TC
Australia a great place
The best job I’ve had was walking dogs and sitting cats in Hobart, Tasmania, while living in Australia with my partner during 2006-2009. Australia’s minimum wage then was $14/hour. But my employer didn’t think that was a fair wage and paid her pet carers $17/hour. Such behavior here would be labeled unAmerican.
Though I can’t explain why, we didn’t find Australia nearly as costly as Robert Downes has. Imperial pints of beer were $6- $7; Breakfast for two was $20-$25. A burger with “the works” – hamburger, cheese, fried egg, tomato, lettuce, onion, pineapple, beet root – was $8-$10. (With no tipping in restaurants and pubs because the workers don’t need them!) We lived in a smallish two-bedroom apartment in the nicest suburb of Hobart, within a 10 minute walk of dozens of pubs, cafes, entertainment venues, the central business district, and with a view of the
Sydney-to-Hobart yacht race finish line on the Derwent Estuary, for $1100/month. Supermarket food was more expensive than here when we arrived but about equal in cost when we left. We bought a one year old Toyota Echo for $11,000 and sold it three years later for $10,000. Generally we found the cost of living to be 20-30% higher than here.
Aussies, of course, have universal government health insurance. Students loans are not paid back until the ex-student is earning $40,000/year and then on a sliding scale according to income. If income falls below $40,000 the payments are put on hold. While the Great Recession put America on a heart and lung machine, Australia got a sore throat. Why? Because successive governments - conservative and liberal – maintain real controls on banks and big business.
More than any country I know of, Australia comes closest to living the saying “When everyone does well, everyone does well”.
Mike Johnson • Harrisville
Tuttle off base
Stephen Tuttle argues in “We Are The 80%” (Nov. 7) that our workable class system “started breaking apart not because those at the top kept getting richer and richer. The system broke because those of us in the middle suddenly became stuck in place.” We went into debt on credit and “our jobs got shipped overseas” along with our factories, and the value of our most valuable assets – our homes – plummeted.
Tuttle then contends that the “top 1% or even the top 20% are not responsible for the mess, they just take advantage of circumstances created by politicians who decided the government shouldn’t regulate anything or help anybody.”
In Tuttle’s story, the active agents are the politicians while the rich sit passively by, reaping all the benefits of more and more wealth. This is a highly improbable account. What motivates the politicians to arrange ever-more wealth for the rich and their corporations, while the lower 80% get less and less? The obvious answer is that it is largely due to the efforts of the wealthy few by way of legal bribery in the form of huge campaign contributions and an army of lobbyists who wine and dine the politicians.
Who is largely responsible for the plight of the working and middle classes – the fact that wages have been stagnating and even declining for he past 30+ years, the lost pension funds, the lost health care coverage, the jobs and factories being shipped overseas? All this despite the fact the productivity of the U.S. worker has steadily gone up and U.S. corporate profits have been booming. It’s because many of the rich, along with their corporations, have conspired to be at war with the working and middle classes since the early 70s.
Terence M. Collins • TC
I just got another one of these political mailers from some Washington, D.C.-based group I have never heard of trying (and failing) to convince me that Congressman Dan Benishek is somehow saving my Medicare.
Hogwash. Last year, then-candidate Dan Benishek said on many occasions that he wants to end Medicare and Social Security. And the first thing he did when he went to congress was to just that. Rep. Benishek voted to end Medicare and force seniors to pay $6,400 of their own money to buy private healthcare while at the same time giving even more tax breaks to the super wealthy.
So it’s clear that this mailer is flat-out misleading people into believe the opposite.
And who is behind these mailers? A group nobody has ever heard of called “Retire Safe.” A quick internet search shows that “Retire Safe” is nothing more than a Republican front group that wants to end Social Security by forcing us to invest in risky private accounts.
How can a group be called “Retire Safe” while at the same wanting to do away with our retirement safety net?
The answer is they can’t. That’s why these mailers go straight in my waste bin. It also tells me that Congressman Benishek has become cozy with the same old Washington crowd that pays for more tax breaks for the wealthy on the backs of seniors.
Lou Ann McKimmy • Rapid City
Did you feel some disappointment or disgust reading last weeks article about the Don’t Frack Michigan group “fracturing?” So did we and we co-chair the group.
It wasn’t clear from the article that our group chose to support the bill that Representative Mark Meadows proposed only as far as it supports the move to a ban. We have made asking for a ban our total focus. The 3000 plus signatures we have gotten in our petition for a ban have made that clear.
Controversy may make for interesting journalism, but our group is not decimated by two people leaving. We wish them well. Everyone needs to keep educating the public on the real issue, the devastating practice of high volume horizontal slick water fracking that could ruin the amazing quality of life we know here. (This week the EPA finally acknowledged that fracking polluted an aquifer in Wyoming.)
Please step up and educate yourself at dontfrackmichigan.org and then do something about it. These groups are to help you do that and without your actions, this kind of fracking has the full green light. Our Michigan government is all “frack baby frack”, so let them know how you feel.
Mary Reilly and Joanne Cromley Co-Chairs, Don t Frack Michigan
In regard to the proposed alternative energy resolution being considered by the Benzie County commissioners on December 20th:
We in Benzie County find placed before us an opportunity to join with communities throughout the country to address the evolving energy needs of the nation.
Due to the diverse nature of our county this task will not be simple; we have stakes in maintaining our farmland, assuring quality of life for our residents, encouraging tourism and providing stewardship for our parks, conservancies and privately owned open country.
What will be required of us at county, township and an individual level is to set aside our differences and develop a balanced alternative energy policy based on legitimate and unbiased studies.
I support passage of a resolution strongly encouraging the development of sustainable energy projects in Benzie County. Additionally, I’d like the commission to go a step further.
In order to establish expectations from the community and to clarify concerns I would have them consider a collaboration between prospective energy producers, the county, townships, our EMS, schools, fire department, law enforcement, road commission and of course our residents.
I call for an end to the animosity that has manifested itself among our friends, family and neighbors during these past several months of debate.
I would ask everyone to remember that no discussion is complete without examining with a fair and open mind the views presented by all those affected. In doing this we will find that no one is fully right and no one is fully wrong. I believe we will ultimately discover that our differences are not so great as to be insurmountable and that we all desire the same thing ... a quality and rewarding life for ourselves and our families.
Thomas Hart • Benzonia
Occupy and engage
There are some folks in our community who are apathetic, who only get information from news and entertainment programming like MSNBC and Fox, and there are others who do not want to read about or discuss the state of our world because it is “too depressing.”
However, there are many of us who are engaged and involved in making a difference. We are involved in community projects, in county government, in issues that go beyond our own communities.
We are active in Democratic, independent, and Republican organizations, the green party, men’s groups, women’s groups. We are involved and active in community service organizations and we are also involved and engaged in the Occupy Traverse City movement.
We are not jobless, hippie losers who have nothing better to do with our time. We are citizens from all walks of life who want to make a difference.
The Occupy Traverse City organization has been making a difference by enlightening our fellow citizens on how they can get involved and make a difference.
As a member of the Leelanau Independent Women for Democratic Action, I am proud to say that our group is bringing a national leader and spokesman for the Move To Amend campaign to Traverse City in January.
Move To Amend is working at the grassroots level to amend the United States
Constitution to repeal Corporate Personhood. The U.S. Supreme Court says Corporations are people and should have the same rights as individuals. We believe corporations are not people and the constitution needs to be amended to repeal this law.
If you are fed up with the current state of the country, you can do something about it.
It may seem that one voice, one person, cannot make a difference; but together, we can and we will.
Occupy Traverse City is a non-partisan, compassionate, active and friendly group that meets twice a week in an effort to change the status quo.
We stand for liberty, free speech, equality, civil discourse, and above all, helping to alleviate despair.
Betty K Bushey • TC
No more lobbying
Thank you Stephen Tuttle for your voice of reason. I’m retired. I watch the news media and the political retoric often with disgust.
I served 20 years in the military including Korea and Viet Nam wars. I’m astounded by how little real care our elected officials exibit about our country and those of us who elected them to represent them.
We seem to have no impact what so ever on their actions. We know why they flock to the Grover Norquists of the special interests. They could care less about the oath of office they took.
Their quest for wealth comes first. They are dishonest and will destroy the concept of Democracy and even free enterprise. So long as we permit lobbying by special interests, they will never vote to stop that process which brings them the greed they choose over the welfare of the people.
We need a constitutional amendment which prohibits lobbying by any elected official and all those other disgusting things they do, like insider trading and tax evasion.
Dale Chrysler • TC
Who creates jobs?
How far from the truth will corporate leaders and politicians stray to protect themselves from public scrutiny? Will more regulation mean fewer jobs from the “job creators?” Consumers are the real job creators.
The other job creator is government. We decide which widgets get made and how many weapons we want built. The more our economic operations and environmental assaults are regulated, the more peacetime jobs there will be in the future, for two reasons.
First, cleaning up after big polluters and restoring the earth as our life support system will take work, from many people. If we want a future we should be willing to promote those kinds of jobs and pay for them.
Second, without serious regulation of the polluters, crooks, and developers, none of us will have jobs because the planet will eject us. If we don’t regulate, restore, and reduce, we are doomed to a very bleak future and our children are doomed completely. We don’t need to make more stuff to have jobs, we need to grow an earth to support living systems.
We should call for more regulation, more control over corporations, and higher taxes to pay for the increased, good jobs this restoration will require.
Peggy Case • Thompsonville