March 24, 2013
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A change of heart
As a result of learning that their children were gay, both former Republican Vice President Dick Cheney, and now Republican U.S. Senator Rob Portman, have changed their position on gay marriage. They both now support it.
Isn’t it a shame that the compassion and understanding that these two men so readily displayed to their own children could not have been extended years ago to the gay children of other parents?
Bob Ross - Pellston
A financial crisis hoax
The financial crisis is a hoax perpetrated on Americans by Wall Street billionaires, many who receive huge subsidies but pay zero in taxes.
Pete Peterson, the Blackstone mogul of Wall Street, spent over $500 million in lobbying and advertising trying to overturn Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid and to give billions in tax breaks to corporations and the wealthy. Why?
In the past three years the U.S. deficit has fallen faster than any time since the end of World War II, as reported by the Office of Management and Budget.
Social Security has a $2.7 trillion surplus. It is funded by employers and employees not taxpayers. Remove the FICA cap so everyone pays on all their earnings not just the first $113,700.
Medicare saves billions by efficiently providing preventive services. Let Medicare negotiate drug prices like the Veteran’s Administration.
Medicaid provides funding for three quarters of nursing home residents. Medicaid also provides for those with disabilities and the poorest of the poor.
The Republican’s austerity agenda is drastically hurting working people whose wages have stagnated the last 30 years while the stock market is somersaulting one skyrocketing record over another.
The sequester is forcing thousands to part time work without benefits. Public employees are losing their jobs. Should your fireman lose his/her job so a hedge fund manager can continue to get a carried interest loophole (15% tax rate rather than standard 35%)?
We are losing our democracy. We have to get the money out of politics. Citizens United gave corporations unlimited funding of perpetual campaigns. There are 127 CEO’s pushing for a "grand bargain" austerity budget. Citizens United 2 is McCutcheon vs. FEC, coming to the US Supreme Court this summer. Call every legislator this week. Numbers at www.senate.gov, www.house.gov, www.housemichigan.gov, www.senatemichigan.gov. Stop the bloodletting! Get angry!
Beverly BJ Christensen - Cedar
The 'job creators' of old
I always have wondered whether plantation owners in the south during slavery considered themselves to be "job creators."
Let's see. The people to catch slaves, transport them, sell them, use and abuse them. And of course, the people who get very rich because of them.
Seems to me that anyone who works for slave wages, full time, and can’t feed their family is in the same boat. Do you think?
And lets not tax those plantation owners, because then they won’t be able to continue this amazing exploitation. No kiddin'!
Gary Roy Baumdraher - via email
Table service, good & bad
During a recent trip to Englewood, Florida and Watertown, NY, I was thinking about Rick Coates and his recent comments on the local waitstaffs. The local waitstaffs of Northern Michigan far exceeded anybody that waited on me in the seven days I was on the road. Chain restaurants, small bars, and local establishments, it made no difference.
Steve Robinson - via email
Health care's bitter pill
Interested in the health care debate?
Read the March Time magazine expose, "Bitter Pill." It's an eye-opener.
Liberal or conservative, all of us are subjected to the vagaries of the American health care system. Consuming greater chunks of our nation’s financial resources or draining our individual assets, the cost of health care is a financial Armageddon waiting to happen.
The contentious health care debate has focused on the uninsured and on Medicare/Medicaid and who’s going to pay. Time magazine asks a more obvious question: "Why does health care cost so much to begin with?" In other technologically-intensive industries, costs trend downward over time. But with health care costs, like death and taxes, we have become accustomed to believing that there is no escape.
A closer look shows a system rigged in favor of all players in the medical arena - except the patient. Sure, care is probably better than ever, but Americans still spend more on health care than the next 10 biggest spending nations combined. Are we healthier because of it? No. In fact, health outcomes are often worse. So, where is all this money going?
The short answer: rampant, unfettered profiteering in every facet of the system. Health care is big business, and there are many who profit handsomely on the misfortunes of the American patient.
We have health care lobbyists spending double what the military and the oil/ gas industries spend combined. We have congressmen beholden to these powerful interests, preventing negotiated drug prices. We have "nonprofit" hospitals paying multiple upper level executives more than our president. The litany goes on.
Obamacare will get more Americans into the system, but unfortunately it does little to address the real problem. Health care just costs too much and it doesn’t have to.
Jan Ealy - TC