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April 20, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

Our leaders are ruining America

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I am so disappointed in our Congress. There was a time that the nation was admired by the rest of the world and people wanted to come here to live.

Today I am ashamed of our leaders. It seems they have forgotten why they were chosen to lead this country. They are not interested in the people they are suppose to be leading. They should be able to serve only two terms just like the president. And they should have the same Social Security and Medicare as the people they represent.

After their time in office, they get a huge retirement and security the rest of their lives, including their families. They have long vacations and free transportation. They complain because we, the people they represent, are getting too much pay and are taxed too little while they sit in their ivory towers in Washington and vacation in mansions in their home states.

There are so many homeless and unemployed, but they don’t seem to find a way to end it. Stop the companies from outscourcing, bring back “Made in America” and put our people back to work.

Most members of Congress are rich and don’t really know what it is to be homeless. Go to your home states and go to the food kitchens and say, “but for the grace of God, there go I.”

Bring our soldiers home and put them on our borders to keep out illegal drugs. When we have disasters, no one comes to help, financially or bodily. It is time we, the Americans, take back our country.

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  1. The budget control act was the law of the land, and was supposed to go into effect at the stroke of midnite on Dec 31st 2012. It didn't. Sequestration was the poison pill that would have allegedly made the faux "super committee" actually come to agreement on a fiscal policy including both revenue and expenditure cuts. The committee failed, of course, because the 6 GOP Norquist drones on the committee would not support any new revenue, only draconian cuts to "balance" the budget. So, we got a "deal" that essentially "kicked the dented fiscal can down the road". Now, deja vu, another bogus blackmail attempt by the GOP to hold the "debt ceiling" hostage with all the attendant bad results that will incur. The debt ceiling addresses legal and binding obligation to PAY FOR EXPENSES (debt) ALREADY INCURRED BY APPROVED SPENDING BY CONGRESS. It is not "new spending" as the GOP "leadership" would have the gullible public believe. Bottom line is this: SEQUESTRATION is still on the books, and the stall tactics approved BY BOTH SIDES hasn't solved the problems facing the country. If it had gone into effect as scheduled, we wouldn't be having this discussion in the first place.

  2. Beverly Frase, you missed your calling. You should have gone into politics. Americans would vote for you. Leaders take responsibility. They think, they choose, they act. Ours don't. It appears you do.

    CarmineD

  3. Re yetis: Since this blog has no coherent reply option to comments posted, and your comment followed a REAL incoherent "rant" posted by Future, I'm not sure you were addressing my comment at 0430. I'll respond anyway. I DO blame Congress for nonstop gridlock, obstructionism at every turn, and, shortly, blackmail over the debt ceiling. It is what it is.

    "The US is no longer competitive in the global market". Could outsourcing of jobs to third world cess pits to make a buck have anything to do with it? Should our working citizenry's wages be reduced to their level to be "competitive"? The answer to that is to stop rewarding multinational corporations for sending jobs overseas.

    "...our public schools are a disgrace...because teachers unions defend weak but established teachers and demand things such as defined benefit pensions..." Is that some sort of epiphany? The public sector has had "defined benefit pensions" for decades. That system is now totally broken, and in most cases, deeply in debt. Unions are now weakened to the point that they haven't the power to obstruct changes to their retirement plans. Why isn't this being addressed? I don't know, but the scam of 401k "retirement" plans is not the answer. The recession proved that beyond the shadow of a doubt.

    The sun DOES set on all great empires; I don't believe it is our turn YET. There are far worse problems causing demise than public education.

  4. There is a difference between real leaders and people filling the role of leaders. For one thing, real leaders have real followers. Yet many in Congress are there because they were better misleaders in a political campaign. If we want better results we need to do a better job of filtering out candidates who are more suited for an Academy Award than an oath of office.

  5. It's has been the politician's who get us into B.S.wars that we don't seem to win.It's the same politician's who come into congress and the senate with average means, who end up being multi- millionaires.

    If you don't believe that members of both parties are only interesred in their own political skin first, think again. The disappointment with them runs deep with the American voter's,and the world.When will they get It?

  6. Totally agree with your letter, Ms. Frase.

    Sad to say, it's not going to change with this new Congress.

    We just had an election. The people EMPHATICALLY spoke that we agree with this President and his entire administration and that we want to see Government work. We want cooperation. We want people to sit down at tables and negotiate. We want our politicians to come to agreements. We want to see compromise. We want to see meaningful discussions. We WANT Government to work.

    But here we are, not even two weeks into the new 113th Congress, what does the Tea/Republican Party majority do? THEY DOUBLE AND EVEN TRIPLE DOWN ON THE NUTBALLISM.

    Already, another piece of legislation was brought forth to repeal the Affordable Care Act. I believe this is now the thirty-fourth time.

    Also, more bills were brought forward to continue a savage and relentless Tea/Republican Party self-declared World War Women. They are so fanatical that not one, BUT TWO, Tea/Republican Party Congresswomen brought forth legislation to de-fund Planned Parenthood on the Federal level. They are so demented they are virtually tripping over each other to continue to attack women.

    There are other instances that have just happened, but they are increasingly being more numerous than can be mention. The simple fact is this: They haven't learned.

    It's up to us to teach them in the next elections in 2014.

    We HAVE to fix this.

    I don't buy this ying yang thing thang that says, oh, since they are like that, the other side is like that.

    NO.

    The Tea/Republican Party, in their entirety, has lost their minds. They continue to pursue an over the top radical and extreme ideology. They are so rabid that they don't even listen to the American people anymore.

    Once people wake up to this, then we can fix something.

    And the only way left to fix our political system is to pound the Tea/Republican Party into dust.

    They have proven they don't get it.

    Straight Democratic Party ticket from now on.

    Bring on the 2014 elections.

    I can't be the only one sick and tired of the endless Tea/Republican Party games. Not our fault they can't fix their political party.

  7. Beverly,

    That was a nice, evenhanded letter. You even brought up term limits for Congress, something very few here even address. To me, that means you think 'outside' the box.

    With a few exceptions, the responses were predictable and partisan. Those people will never be a part of any solution.

    I wish I could snap my fingers and zap every single person now in Congress out and replace them all.

    In a month, Republicans will fight Democrats over the debt ceiling. They will rule out any more tax increases, concentrate all their efforts at changing Medicare and Social Security and have very few specifics about the spending reductions they want to make.

    Democrats will scream loudly and falsely that not approving a debt limit increase will mean we default on our debt payments. They will further claim (falsely) that the increase will just allow us to pay for what we have already spent and will not lead to more spending.

    That's why I want all these people out. We do need to increase the debt limit, but we also need more spending reductions in many areas and we also need higher taxes. This all needs to be phased in over time due to a weak economy, but it does need to be done..... but it won't be.

    All this will eventually lead to a horrendous crisis but until it does, it looks as though nothing of consequence gets done.

    Michael

  8. LastThrows,

    The low Congressional rating is due to their 'overall' performance, which is horrible. There are a 'tiny' number of bible thumping (way to denigrate religious folks), 'redneck' (again way to denigrate people living in Southern states) that want a racist, illiterate and poverty stricken America. They exist as individuals (in tiny numbers), not entire states that elect representatives.

    There are many people that just don't hold your views. A tiny, tiny number of them are way out there, but the majority of them are just like you, only with different views. Insulting them and calling them names will do nothing to bring them over to your side and you can't just zap them out of existence.

    Michael

  9. Motorsports,

    There would be consequences for not raising the debt limit and I don't favor not raising it. However, you need to be careful when restating talking points.

    The government has plenty of money coming in every month to cover service (interest) on the debt. Since not paying that would immediately cause our creditors to take action against us, the service on the debt would always be paid first. What wouldn't get paid would be some other expenses government has, such as military, government salaries, etc. This would be bad of course, but to say we'd default on our debt is just a politically expedient talking point.

    I don't expect it, but there should be some give on both sides on this issue. It's just one more example, of many, as to why the people we have in Congress simply don't belong in their positions.

    Michael

  10. Facts are stubborn things and fact checkers should be even more stubborn about accepting letters with obvious errors:
    http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/bl...

    "As of 2002 (updated figures here), 411 retired members were receiving benefits under CSRS at an average rate of $55,788 per year and 71 were receiving benefits under FERS (or a combination of CSRS and FERS) with $41,856 per year in average benefits. Members do not automatically received lifetime pensions. How much they receive and how long they receive it depends on many factors, including age, length of service (including military) and choice of plans, etc. So, while it's conceivable that a few may receive pay-outs totalling more than a million dollars by the time they die, they would be the exception, not the rule."

  11. Beverly is full of fire and full of baloney. There hasn't been a primary health insurance policy written for someone over the age of 65 since the 1960s. When congressional representatives hit 65 it is Medicare just like the rest of us.

    They don't get a substantial pension until they have many years of government service. Most don't make it. The reason some do get pensions is because of the many years of government service they had before getting elected to Congress.

    Stopping drugs from coming over the borders? America leads the world in drug consumption both ethical pharmaceuticals and illicit drugs. As long as were going to consume hundreds of billions of dollars worth of drugs they're going to get into the country. Nothing the federal government can do about it. If she doesn't like drugs she should tell her neighbors to stop using them.

    The unemployment rate is determined by worldwide economic variables that are completely beyond the control of Congress. Congress can create laws that are conducive or detrimental to business activity but ultimately global growth rates and domestic consumption rates are what are going to determine the level of employment. Not Congress!

    Maybe the letter writer should run for office and see how easy it is to solve the above issues. She would be in for an eye-opener.

  12. The entire debt issue is Fox driven politically motivated nonsense. Countries that can print their own money don't default on their debts, they just print more money. The 1830s was the last time the United States was debt-free. What happens when we got done paying for the Revolutionary war. Some of the worst economic times in US history. Contrary to popular belief creating debt doesn't cause problems. Paying it off does.

  13. Jeff,

    It would help lead to a real debate if you would at least read everything I write and then not draw conclusions that are not supported by what I wrote.

    I said I do not favor not raising the debt ceiling. I did not say that not paying the military or others was something I favored. I said that would be a bad thing. I did state the obvious that if the debt ceiling was not raised, service on the debt would be paid first.

    You can correct me if I am wrong but I suspect you favor a raising of the debt ceiling in exchange for nothing. No spending reductions, no tax increases, nothing, nada.

    I would rather see the debt ceiling raised along with either some spending reductions and or tax increases. They could be phased in over time but they need to be enacted now. The reductions wouldn't even have to be in SS and Medicare, but they need to be real and they need to start in the near future and they need to be enacted now.

    President Obama is asking for what all other Presidents have asked for and received .... a credit card with a limit on it... but a limit that can be raised at any time to any amount necessary. I am not one who foolishly argues that President Obama wants something different than other Presidents got. He's asking for no more and no less. My argument is that times are now different so along with the credit card with no real limits, we need some spending restaint, and some fiscal responsibility concerning the deficit and debt.

    Michael

  14. Jeff,

    In what other accounting / economic model (other than the one used in DC) do expenses that 'would have been incurred count as a 'reduction' in spending?

    If we use that model, we could just say that IF we were going to mount many missions to Mars and then we didn't, that just saved 200 billion dollars.

    That kind of accounting is going to bankrupt this country.

    Michael

  15. LACK of leadership is the problem. Obama listening and encouraging generals who can't say done. Afghanistan--longer than Civil War AND both WW's combined. And they just keep spending on it calling it defense. Doesn't enhance our security and may actually be ruining our security. Yet, they can't seem to do anything to SECURE OUR BORDERS from invasion. So, instead, they talk about officially including illegals as Americans. NO WAY to improve anything.

  16. MotorSports,

    The question isn't whether we should pay the debt; it is how to pay it. Should we gradually extract more taxes from all Americans, on a progressive basis and reduce spending gradually in many areas until revenue at least matches expenditures or better yet exceeds them...or should we leave tax rates alone and just continue to spend more than what comes in via revenue and just keep raising the limit on the credit card?

    You won't find me arguing that in the past, we've always chosen the latter course but I'm hardly a johnny come lately to my view. I voted for Ross Perot because I thought his concern about the national debt was an issue of paramount importance. I should have said more in the years since but when the real good economy under Clinton (due largely to the tech boom of the 90's) imploded, we should have raised taxes and reduced spending and we didn't. Neither party called for a combination of tax increases and spending reductions because it would have been too unpopular... just like now. I was wrong not to call for what I am calling for now when Bush was in the WH, but I'm not going to refrain from calling for what I think we need now just because the guy in the WH now is named Obama.

    We should have done this when Perot ran. We should have done it during Bush's time and we should do it today.

    Michael

  17. Jeff,

    No, you use 'lack of war' as a budget cutting device. Martians or wars.... it's bogus accounting either way. DC loves it. We should hate it, because it screws us.

    Michael

  18. Mr. Casler.. Countries that can print their own money don't go bankrupt, they just print more money. The value of the nation is in its output and natural resources. The premise that this country could ever go bankrupt is nonsensical.

    In the last hundred years the Germans have had Deutsche marks, Hitler marks, more Deutsche marks, and now the Euro. In addition they have two massive wars that have destroyed much of the country. They are still an economic superpower because they make things people like. Even Germany has never gone bankrupt even though during the hyperinflation of the Weimar Republic you needed a basket of money to buy a loaf of bread

    Creating debt only has meaning in an international context. We are creating a great deal of debt but so is every other industrialized nation. Look at Japan. Our debt problems are no better or no worse than most other countries.

    If we were to hypothetically go bankrupt every other nation would follow and that would resolve the worldwide debt issue. At some point most of the debt that is being created around the world will be eliminated by financial manipulations alone. inflation, deflation or the issuance of new currency will all be used to resolve debt issue's in the next 50-100 years.

  19. Gerry,

    I don't expect us to go bankrupt in a technical sense. And you're correct in saying that if we did, the world would follow. But your mention of the Weimar Republic, where people had to bring a wagon full of money to buy a loaf of bread does resonate. That didn't destroy the world either, but it made the lives of the German people pretty miserable.

    I can certainly see us going there if we stay on this course.

    Michael

  20. Motorsports,

    There are very few people in DC that are serious about reducing spending. That is a huge problem on both sides. If the economy doesn't pick up a lot and we don't either raise taxes and or reduce spending, we will cause inflation and an associated devaluing of our currency. It isn't a complex concept.

    Michael

  21. Show me a nation that once had fair media, that conscience of nations, and I'll show you a nation that once had good government!

  22. YAwn, dont blame the foxes for being allowed to raid the hen house and devour all but a few hens. When those few hens are done then the tree of liberty will be dead and the american sheeple will be responsible for this cause they are the ones that put these foxes in the hen house year after year after year.

  23. The United States has no leadership. Just well-paid drones who follow the orders of the corporations. Oxygen thieves, one and all.

    We are now a very bad example for the rest of the world, our law system just covers the crimes up better than most.

    Until the entirety of the working class voters rolls up their sleeves and ACTIVELY works to get these OT's out of office, this travesty shall continue.

  24. Limiting individuals to one or two term will not end earmarks. It won't end favoritism, the influence of money or lobbyists, and it won't end up in an informed electorate. It's a meaningless exercise to make you feel better, and only ends in abridging the right of voters to choose their preferred representative.

    Term limits are antithetical to the democratic process. If I have Representative Jones or Senator Smith, who represents my interests, is qualified for the position and is not otherwise involved in illegal activities, there is no justification for abridging my right to vote for him/her by placing an arbirtrary limit to how many times they can serve.

    This is a fundamental democratic principle.

    Do you want to know the fastest way to increase the power of lobbyists and to ensure gridlock? Put a fresh crop of legislators into the House and Senate every couple of years. You think that will stop interest groups from paying lobbyists to try to influence representatives? You think that will make republicans and Democrats suddenly agree on immigration or the tax code? Of course not. Having a limited term will leave them largely unaccountable to those who elected them.

    The focus should be on eliminating gerrymandering in every way possible, making seats more competitive and working to turn out as many voters as possible.

    "When Republicans claim that this was a status quo election, they point to their continued hold on the House. The 2012 congressional vote, some have said, didn't undo the party's 2010 successes."

    "True enough, but that's not because Americans didn't vote to undo them. It's because Republicans have so gerrymandered congressional districts in states where they controlled redistricting the past two years that they were able to elude a popular vote that went the Democrats' way last week."
    http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-...

  25. Kevin,

    It is sad that we have to talk about term limits and they would not solve all the problems and would need to be accompanied by other changes, such as lobbying reform and public financing of campaigns. Gerrymandering (done by both parties) is also a problem that needs to be addressed.

    I'm curious if you would be a supporter of public financing of Congressional campaigns. When you combine the facts that members of Congress usually do want to be re-elected; it takes huge sums of money to be elected or re-elected; powerful, wealthy people and groups provide the money necessary; and these same people and groups employ lobbyists to communicate to members of Congress what they want.... it spells CORRUPTION on a grand scale.

    I cannot believe you cannot see that 1/3 the system we operate under is totally corrupted.

    Michael

  26. zippert 12:51: Try logic. Hitler's Germany is gone--wasn't even called Germany. The Third Reich. Countries that print money do go away, sooner more often than later. Greece is rather an anomaly that without the assistance of the EU would have gone under.

  27. I must disagree with the premise of this letter.

    It is not our leaders who are ruining our country, it is us, the voters, who elect them in the first place.