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July 25, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

Right wing is not the problem

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I have to wonder what rock Thomas Friedman has been hiding under. In a recent column, he was absolutely correct that there are members of the Republican Party who have taken on a far-right position. I can only speak for myself, but I suspect that they have taken that position because they are sick of where the nation is going and are sick and tired of watching Republicans acting like Democrats.

I am a registered Republican only because that party used to most closely represent my views. I watched in horror as the nation was taken over by big-spending, big-government representatives from both parties. The problem is not the unwillingness to compromise; rather it is the willingness to sell the nation out by compromising on values too many times.

The issues that Friedman brings up could and should have been dealt with decades ago. Look at the results: more people collecting from the government than not, a health care program that would not have been needed had we kept our unemployment levels low and wages high, and the shrinking of the tax base so the income tax has no chance to work. Illegal immigrants also are lowering the standard of living, costing billions in education and health care, and the nation is importing more goods than we export, which just adds to the lowering of our standard of living. Refusing to address waste in our government spending just exacerbates the deficit spending, and because of the loss of so many jobs and the lost taxes, it adds to a huge and climbing national debt.

Blaming a lack of willingness to compromise on the part of the right for our troubles is complete and utter ignorance.

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  1. "A health care program that would not have been needed had we kept our unemployment low and wages high..." - Here is an example of an extremely rich corporation's idea of "health care": Keep wages at subsistence level, cut hours of employees so they are ineligible for medical insurance, advise their employees to enroll in Medicaid for their health insurance...the corporation? WALMART.

  2. Mr. Gartner,

    You fail to realize that those on the far right are akin to the John Birchers, ideology has turned to idiocy.

  3. I can already see the criticism coming my way but here I go, one more time.

    In an effort to 'buy' the votes and obtain the power desired, Republicans gave advantages to wealthy and powerful special interests and also signed on to unsustainable spending on programs for the masses, desired by Progressives, also looking to 'buy' votes and obtain power.

    In an effort to 'buy' the votes and obtain the power desired, Democrats created benefits for the masses but also signed onto many of the advantages given to wealthy and powerful special interests.

    What did the Republicans do when in power to actually reform entitlements? They created a new drug benefit under Medicare and tried to create 'partial' private accounts under SS. This, from the party of 'fiscal responsibility'? PLEASE SPARE ME!

    What have Democrats done about the Wallstreet and the financial sector abuses that necessitated the bailouts? Nobody has been prosecuted. The bailouts were provided with no strings and no rules and the financial sector took the money and then refused to lend it. The government did zilch. Was Glass Steagal re-authorized? No! this, from the party that looks out for the little guy? AGAIN, PLEASE SPARE ME!

    Those of you who still don't support term limits, public financing of campaigns and lobbying reform still don't get it. These two parties are the same in all the ways that matter. They are both part of this corrupted system. Until we do things to mitigate the causes of the corruption, it will continue and we will all be screwed.

    Taking sides is never going to fix this folks...That's what the parties WANT you to keep doing...

    Michael

  4. "Right wing is not the problem"?

    They definitely aren't the solution. A look at the record might be helpful.

    Who took a budget surplus and cut income taxes to produce a deficit?

    Who started a war in Iraq that has cost us over a trillion dollars and counting?

    Who sponsored government regulation so lax that it created a financial crises that almost cratered the world financial system, caused a depression in housing values, and triggered The Great Recession?

    The Right Wing has intimate experience in creating our problems. There is no way they have any claim to wisdom that will solve those problems.

  5. The right wing is a problem. The left wing is a problem.

    There never was a surplus. Entitlement shortfalls have always been kept off budget. If they were put on the budget as they should be, there would have never been a 'surplus'.

    Enough regulations were on the books to prevent the financial meltdown. Regulators looked the other way because almost everyone was benefiting. The problem was that when the music stopped, only the connected and wealthy had a chair to sit in. The rest of us were screwed. The 'chairs' were for both connected Republicans and Democrats, part of the right wing and the left wing.

    The Iraq war was supported by both Democrats and Republicans 'until' enough had gone badly for it to be 'safe' not to support it.

    Until people accept that instead of an evil right wing or an evil left wing, what we really have is one corrupted government, we will not pass go and we will not collect $ 200.00.

    Michael

  6. Future,

    You help make my point, as do the other Conservatives and the Progressives that write in.

    Conservatives could have made a much bigger effort to reform entitlements than they did when in power. They did not do it.

    Progressives had the opportunity to sock it to the wealthy and business with tax increases when in power after 2008. They did not make much of an effort.

    Conservatives say you must pay for what you spend... but pay for 2 wars? Nope...

    Progressives say that Wallstreet and the financial industry are out of control... but don't re-authorize Glass Steagal and hand taxpayer bailout money to these industries with no strings attached.

    I could provide examples until I go over the word limit, but why bother. Term limits, public financing of campaigns and lobbying reform are a start at what needs to be done.

    Each of the teams most people support are just one team...the screw regular Americans and advantage themselves team.

    Michael

  7. When you consort with mutts, you get fleas. The conservative "Manchester Liberal" wing of the Republican Party has a long, robust and principled history of ideas and policy. The Tea Party, Bircher, Birther, and beyond elements are dangerous, anti-American, anti-democratic republic forces whose thinking and activity often border on treason. Because the former will not condemn the latter, but seeks to use them as Norquist uses pledges, the former will be tainted.

  8. Future,

    The politicians 'make' the policy. The R politicians don't want to talk about 'specific' cuts they would make; will not consider 'any' tax increases; and are reluctant to address military spending cuts or cuts in our role as world cop and benefactor. To get wide support, that cannot be their policy positions.

    The R's are right about the fact that D's will not address entitlements in a serious way; will not cut much of anything and will spend a lot more and also not tax enough to pay for it.

    Here's the problem. The R's used that strategy for the last 4 years. The lost the Presidential election, and lost seats in the House and Senate... all with a weak economy and a vulnerable President.

    The R's need a different strategy... one that looks for reduced spending in places that don't 'end' with entitlements; one that admits that military and foreign aid spending must be reduced; one that admits that tax increases will be necessary to help pay for money that we've already blown through; one that places social conservatism in the place of importance it belongs given the countries move to the left socially; one that actually advocates acting on all the studies siting on shelf's that show where the waste, duplication and fraud is; one that advocates an end to baseline budgeting.

    R's cannot continue to talk a talk that less than 50 % of Americans are listening to and then do the opposite of much of what they said.

    The R party has a self inflicted wound. They can either change and patch the wound up or bleed to death.

    Michael

  9. On most matters, I agree with or understand Friedman's viepoints. But on his recent article, which the letter writer comments on, Friedman was as wrong as he can be. The GOP is on the rise and the Dems are quickly sinking. Just look at the likely Dems for president in 2016. Who's left? Hillary? Too old. John Kerry? Also too old. Biden? Talk about "Send in the Clowns," the title of Freidman's article.

    Dems blew it in 2008. They hitched onto the momentum of junior Senator Obama with half of a term voting mostly "present." Dems should have stuck with Hillary. It was her time. And let Obama wait until 2016 which should have been his time.

    What a pity when the best the Dems have to offer now is a recycled and old Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary. Do they even still talk to each other?

    CarmineD

  10. There you go again, fudging the facts, Weber. "Sick Willie" only "triangulated" because Dick Morris was wise enough to see the handwriting on the wall if Clinton continued on his "progressive" agenda. That and the fact that the "Contract With America" was a huge hit with the American people were what turned the USA and its economy around. Give "Sick Willie" credit for being smart enough to know that a second term was dependent on the "era of big government being over." You, Weber, in your myopic way, may want to fool the uninformed it was "Sick Willie's" intention to right the ship of state, but nothing is further from the truth. It was forced upon him by an angry American electorate and a newly installed Republicrat House & Senate. If you're going to make up facts to suit your leftist views, at least make them harder to debunk, man.

  11. Freeman sez "What Jim Weber and democratic supporters can't blame is the Bush tax cuts for lowering tax revenue. Why? Because they accepted 98% of the Bush tax cuts and made them permanent."

    Freeman seems to suggest that 98% of us got 98% of the benefit from the Bush tax cuts. Freeman knows better than that. The top 1% of income earners alone got nearly 25% of the monetary benefit from the tax cuts.

    Freeman can whine about the cost of entitlements in 1992 versus today all he wants, but the payroll tax revenues greatly exceeded those costs in almost every year during that period. What you won't hear is Freeman admitting any responsibility for the debt increasing because of the tax cuts he has enjoyed.

  12. Please explain to me how tax cuts stimulate the economy ? Do we have an historic record where this worked ? The propaganda of the right wing deficit scolds run contrary to the truth.

  13. hookershaky

    It depends on where the tax cuts are targeted. Tax cuts for middle and lower income earners translate into consumer spending and economic stimulation rather efficiently.

    When the Bush tax cuts started ten tax years ago, the unemployment rate was 6.2%. Today it's 7.8%. You decide!

  14. Freeman

    "The Bush tax cuts benefited more lower and middle income wage earners including single mothers and the elderly than the rich."

    Well DUH! Of course they did. There are way more lower and middle income wage earners including single mothers and elderly than there are rich people. Your spin ignores the fact that the top 1% of earners got one-fourt of the entire tax cut.

    If Bill Gates walks into a bar for a beer, the average net worth of evryone in the bar might be over a billion dollars. How meaningful is that statistic?

  15. I think the Republicans might be more successful if they focused more of their attention on economic issues instead of social issues. They seem to have a knack for making uneducated and ill fated forays into them realm of the intellectuals. Economically speaking, they have much to add to the conversation and we need to hear from all sides in these austere times. Even as a liberal I can see that we have a Ponzi Scheme as our current economic system and we need serious input from the right. After all, they can't be wrong about everything.

  16. Absolutely right. Well said. So to deal with where we are now, the solutions start with turning the tide to another direction. INSIST on practical decisions where each and every person / family is responsible for self AND for paying her / his fair share of taxes--at least $5K per capita per year plus any and all benefits previously received.

  17. increases in taxes during WW2 and the 1930's stimulated the economy and led to the greatest economic expansion in human history.

  18. "increases in taxes during WW2 and the 1930's stimulated the economy and led to the greatest economic expansion in human history." M. Kelly

    Wrong. Increased economic growth, aka GDP, leads to economic expansion. Not increased taxes. If you take money out of peoples' pay checks and pockets to pay down government debt and deficits, the people have less money to spend on economic goods and services. Consumer spending is two-thirds GDP.

    If increased taxes were stimulating economic growth, the PIG countries in Europe: Portugal, Italy, and Greece would be a money utopia rather than bankrupt.

    CarmineD

  19. Hooker: Twas NOT increased taxes that stimulated the economy. Have you heard of INDUSTRIALIZATION, mass production, assembly lines? There is a decrease / drain on the economy to pull money out via taxation. There IS a benefit to enhancements in PRODUCTIVITY. Productivity is where we decrease inputs while increasing outputs in manufacturing and/or the delivery of services. There is also a correlation to individual productivity--where supervisors / employers PREFER employees who are more productive, employees who enhance their bottom line. Some incorrectly call it greed. It's not. It's efficiency.