Republican hatred of Obama is clouding their judgment
Sen. Mitch McConnell has publicly stated several times that his job is to make sure Obama is a one-term president. That's his job? What about doing what's right for his constituents and the nation? Rep. Eric Cantor was heartless in his refusal to fund relief for tornado victims in Missouri.
And now, even though the vast majority of the American public, including Republicans, favors a balanced approach to raising the debt limit by increasing revenues and reducing spending, the recalcitrant tea party Republicans are holding their entire party and the nation hostage. Their foolish antics and childish behavior may very well lead us into default for the first time in history. They refuse to believe it, but that would cause American and worldwide fiscal disaster. Or, they just don't care. I've read some of their blogs, which state that if we default, President Obama will be blamed. Really?
The debt limit was raised more than a dozen times under Reagan, four times under Clinton, and seven times under Bush. While there certainly was some political posturing during those votes, there was nothing like today. What's happening now is a classic example of "if it's Obama, it's NO." Since World War II, there has not been a president who has been so hatefully opposed, with most members of the opposite party acting as actual enemies instead of working together on at least some issues.
This time, the Republicans picked the wrong issue, and they are stuck because of their own malarkey. If they settle by accepting some revenue increases, they will lose face. They can't handle it, and we will all suffer because of their infantile behavior.
Voters are also to blame for electing failures
I believe it was Alexis de Tocqueville who observed that democracies tend to become unstable when the people realize they can vote themselves money from the common treasury. In our case the result has been a federal government that has morphed from being the guarantor of our natural rights into a giant service provider; all free, of course.
The consequences of these policy choices are terrible. We have a central bank that has caused our dollar to lose over 90 percent of its purchasing power since its creation in 1913. For every devalued dollar our government spends, 40 cents has to be borrowed. This insanity has caused our national debt to double in five years. Moody's has threatened to downgrade our credit rating while agencies in Germany and China have already downgraded our debt.
Recently, we the people of the 26th district had a chance, with the Jane Corwin-Kathleen Hochul special election, to show that we understood the problems we face, but false fears of Medicare being abolished and grandma being thrown over a cliff destroyed any concept of fiscal responsibility. One needn't be a Ron Paul libertarian to realize that we truly will get the government we deserve.
We have bigger priorities than a new Peace Bridge
The Buffalo News has been unwilling to provide true leadership on the issue of a new Peace Bridge -- to objectively assess the need for and the impacts of a new bridge. Instead, it has expended valuable time and resources beating the drum for a "signature span," refusing to listen to the residents and scientists who believe that such a bridge would not be worth the costs to our environment and the health of West Side residents.
It is absurd to insist that Western New Yorkers have "a right to their new Peace Bridge," or that the building of a "signature" span is a "critical project" for our area. The "need" for a new bridge, if it ever existed, dissipated after 9/1 1. If citizens have a "right" to demand anything from their leaders, it is not a majestic bridge, but clean air to breathe and a first-class public education system to provide our youth with the foundation for a productive life.
Opponents of a "signature bridge" are not "culprits" or obstructionists. And Buffalo's mayor and Common Council should not be faulted for failing to see "a reason to help our bridge project along." No compelling reason exists.
There are times when "leadership" means having the willingness to say "No," to tell Western New York's residents, taxpayers and business leaders: "We understand why the concept of a signature Peace Bridge is attractive, but we don't need it and we should focus on more important priorities, such as the health and education of our children."
Arthur J. Giacalone
Give small businesses much-needed tax breaks
By now, it is common knowledge that small businesses create the most jobs in this country. It is apparent, for a good reason, that the Republican Party does not want these job creators taxed, as it would discourage further job creation.
It is also common knowledge that these small businesses are C corporations and S corporations that file their taxes as individuals. It is also apparent that the Obama administration could care less where it gets its tax increase.
The simple and logical solution would be not to tax these small corporations so that they would not be discouraged from creating much needed jobs. Taxing the gross income of these small businesses would be counterproductive.
Instead, corporations like GE and the other "friends of Obama" who were given billions of stimulus dollars should be required to pay their "fair share" and forget that these small businesses are not "millionaires and billionaires."
Frank A. Gugino Sr.
Republicans are wrong, and Obama has it right
Either the Republicans are larcenous, taking money from large corporations to represent their interests instead of representing the American people, or they are stupid. Keeping taxes lower for the wealthy does exactly the opposite of stimulating the economy and creating jobs.
When the wealthy pay a lower proportion of their income for taxes they are incented to take higher salaries and bonuses and to reduce corporation spending for investments and job creation. They maximize net profit in years taxes are low.
When the tax rate increases, business owners and executives are incented to reinvest earnings in the business, hire more workers and minimize their salaries to show smaller net taxable income. It is their job to use corporation assets wisely and paying taxes has no return for the stockholders or their own pockets. Corporations are not in business to let money "trickle down."
We obviously must cut spending, but Obama is right that we need a combination of higher taxes on the rich and spending cuts.
Catherine A. Forman