GOP, tea partyers had Obama over a barrel
The Aug. 6 News editorial was a "work of art," ripping President Obama and Congress for all the ills that have befallen America. I suggest this was written by a Republican/tea party advocate. Let's call a spade a spade and say that a lot of the problem was helped along by the previous administration's tax cuts. A tax cut reduces government income. These cuts provided wealth on wealth, but did very little to create jobs.
References were made to job creation by the Roosevelt administration. It created the WPA and the CCC, among other tools, to fund jobs. The unemployed were totally employed by the U.S. government to the extent of supplying housing, food, clothing and, if I recall correctly, about $16 a month in salary. The cost to provide this today would be enormous, and where would the money come from?
I also question using the term "Congress." The Republicans and tea partyers had Obama over a barrel. They said they wanted to compromise, but on what? Their agenda was set and they refused to compromise on any part of it. The most important part was calling any income going to the government "tax money," and they would not permit same. This in turn caused our government to borrow more money while the rich were able to hold onto their "hard-earned money."
The new GOP governor in the state of Michigan cut taxes to corporations by 86 percent. To help pay for this, he took six weeks of unemployment benefits away from out-of-work residents. Also, he intends to tax pensions of working-class retirees. Nice guy.
Republicans have been after Obama for not creating jobs. Are they implying they have nothing to do with job creation?
So-called patriotism is hurting our nation
Thanks to the tea partyers and their ilk for taking away a quarter of my stock-based savings. But that is not the end result of their irresponsible behavior. They have readily turned their backs on the one in six people out of work and the millions who have lost their homes. They have indicated their willingness to reduce the health care for those who now have it and the benefits of our aging mothers and fathers. And they have been successful in reducing our schools and libraries and other community amenities below the standards they achieved 50 years ago.
All this to protect the terrible imbalance in income that is destroying our middle class. Their selfishness knows no bounds, but now, unless they have converted their own investments into gold, it must be kicking back on them as well. I hope that my fellow citizens will recognize the tea partyers as those who have done this to us. Their so-called patriotism is not just wrong-headed, it is a form of peace-pretending nihilism.
Last thing schools need is more administrators
The public is all too aware that the newly created layers upon layers of useless administrator positions is meant to save the careers of those who can't make the grade at the student-contact level -- the school site teaching positions.
If a person can't teach and can't manage a school, where's the indication of competency in management and support of those who do work in schools?
Listen to some of these pseudo-administrators speak. When have we last heard innovative plans with proven success explained to us? When, or if, the many district administrators speak publicly, it is always with guarded tongue, saying little or nothing other than, "we're working on that," "we are aware of it," "changes are being implemented," "it's being studied" and, the best of all, "we won't see the effectiveness of recent changes for at least three years, so I can't comment on it." That tells me nothing!
We, the public, have no clue what "they" are doing for the benefit of students, because no one in administration ever really says what we need to know. I challenge them to elaborate on the meanings of "it," "change" and "effective."
It's time to negotiate fair contract with union
The last negotiated contract for the Buffalo Public Schools' Professional, Clerical and Technical Employees' Association union members expired June 30, 2004. Since that time, James A. Williams was hired as superintendent. He has deliberately failed to renegotiate a fair and equitable contract with our union. The major stumbling block was his animosity toward our union president, and therefore, he walked away from the bargaining table. That union president retired July 1, 2010. We are under new union leadership, and we still do not have a proposal to be brought before the members.
Last July 2010 saw the exodus of more than 400 Buffalo school employees, from administrators to teachers to support staff. The only way these employees could be allowed to retire was if the district guaranteed the state a 50 percent savings in costs. Perhaps it saved money in the short term, but it has cost the district a strong work force in the long run.
Regardless of last year's departures, the PCTEA union members are even less in number. Instead of refilling positions that are vacated, the district cuts them at our expense by consolidating departments and redistributing the additional workloads. Adding insult to injury, that "saved money" is used to hire a number of exempt administrators at lucrative salaries, putting money into their pockets, and thereby taking money away from the bargaining table.
While these are trying times, that's no excuse to turn a blind eye to the basic needs of those who earn so little to begin with. We deserve and have earned the right to be treated with respect and properly compensated for the work we do, for the allegiance we give to the district even though we haven't seen a salary increase in seven years and for the added responsibilities we accept because we are conscientious workers who don't give up or give in.
Give beach a chance and watch it flourish
If you have ever visited Woodlawn Beach, you could easily see that this is its best year, besides when it was an amusement park. Just driving by you would see that the parking lot is never empty during "business" hours. The beach is clean, and there are activities offered for young and old. There is a bar/eatery, and a beautiful building available to rent for parties.
This is an opportunity for not only Hamburg, but for the waterfront zone in Buffalo, where there is not much to offer. As with all businesses, give this one a chance and hopefully watch it flourish even more than it appears to already be doing.
Woodlawn Beach is a gem worth saving
I would like to comment on the July 31 News article about Woodlawn Beach State Park. To compare the expenses versus revenue only through June is ridiculous. June was very rainy. July was hot and dry, and there have been huge crowds. The $7 parking fee is very fair. It's the same as at any state park, but since the park is much closer to Buffalo, you save on gas money.
Woodlawn Beach is a great place! The beach is one of the finest in Western New York, with soft, smooth sand that is raked clean every morning. On Tuesday and Thursday mornings, there's yoga on the beach. We've enjoyed drinks and delicious food in the charming setting of Tucker Curtin's new restaurant, Woody's. Even the walk down to the beach is special, as you stroll on the boardwalk, through the cool air of the "wetlands" area, and read the educational boards.
It would have been a shame to abandon Woodlawn Beach, and I am so glad that Supervisor Steve Walters fought to save it. The large crowds of people seen this summer attest to its popularity. We are so lucky to have this gem in our area.
Social Security is not an entitlement
Let me start by saying Social Security and Medicare are not entitlements. I am so tired of hearing media people, our elected officials and even the president describing them as entitlement programs. Every single person who receives Social Security or Medicare paid into that fund every single day that he worked. On the other hand, we have Medicaid, food stamps, welfare and HEAP -- those are entitlements.
I worked for 48 years, paid my Social Security and paid my taxes. Starting Sept. 1, I will start drawing Social Security and Medicare. Even so, I still have to pay for my Medicare and my Medicare supplement. It isn't free when I go to the doctor. I have to pay a co-pay out of my pocket. When I get a prescription, it is another co-pay out of my pocket; the same goes for emergency room visits and hospitalization.
Now if I was on Medicaid, I could walk into any emergency room, show that Medicaid card and get a free pass. I understand that something has to be done with Medicare and Social Security so it will be there in the future, but the reason that it got into this situation is not of our making. It is the free programs that have made Medicare and Social Security unsustainable.
America needs to tax imports, nix loopholes
Maybe a total Wall Street collapse will be a blessing in disguise. It seems that is the only thing Washington will pay attention to. Can't our leaders see our way of life cannot be sustained by a system that outsources jobs to the extent there is widespread unemployment and reduced income? Nobody believes in the promises of small business assistance and training for veterans and unemployed anymore. As fast as new high-tech jobs are created they get outsourced. Not everyone can become a physicist.
With our productive capacity gone and our currency drowning, we are becoming the paper tiger the Chinese always maintained. Handing over our manufacturing capacity, technology and wealth to China with our immense philosophical differences is suicidal. Isn't it becoming obvious our denial of their extreme repression and substantial military buildup is tantamount to Neville Chamberlain's appeasement of Hitler's Germany?
Neither Ronald Reagan's pie-in-the-sky philosophy, Warren Buffett's best wishes, Walmart's success or Clinton's deregulation credit bubble has been able to make this supply-side system sustainable.
If Washington does not start taxing imports and those who are profiting at our country's peril, and rescinding tax breaks and loopholes for special interests and multinationals, this system is coming down around our ears.
Louis L. Boehm