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Time to stop whining and work together

Having read the recent diatribe by the gentleman from Elma describing the pain and discomfort this republic has been forced into by liberals, left-wing professors and hippies, I would ask where the credible sources for this information may be found. I do not believe that it could come from any unimpeachable source other than those profound intellectual truth-tellers -- Fox and Rush.

A discerning reader would note that while world-shaping events may look like a groundswell from the bottom, they are in fact rooted in the behaviors and policies of those at the top.

It was not all that long ago that we were mired in the Great Depression, and enlightened social policy enabled us to gain some comeback from a very bad rich man's policy at the top. It wasn't all World War II that brought this country back, but labor reforms, Social Security, decent wages and the freedom to confront bad employers without the threat of being beaten and killed by private armies of goons, or the National Guard. Civil unrest happens when policy becomes so bad that people refuse to take any direction from the policy formulators. That is why we now have an all-volunteer military, because the troops were voting against the Vietnam War policy with their feet.

Contrary to Jerry Falwell's assertion that sex and drugs and rock and roll would send us on the same path as the republic and empire of Rome, it is accumulated wealth, power and unchallenged privilege that kill republics. You may look it up. The old saying is that the rotten fish stinks from the head down.

Now, if the reactionary conservatives will work with the other party instead of whining about not getting their way, and start working for the good of the republic instead of the lousy 1 percent, we may yet accomplish an all-American turnaround.

Tom Druelinger

East Aurora

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Airport must put roof over departure gates

I have used our fine airport many times. Reading about the planned upgrades for traffic and parking will be wonderful for the future users of this facility. However, it is obvious that no one considered asking patrons (customers) what is needed most. The answer would be: Please put a roof over our heads to protect us from rain, snow, sleet and icy winds when we unload at the departure gates with luggage, family, etc.

The original designers back in 1997 may not have had the funds to redesign that entrance with a cover or tunnel like most modern airports. Now is the time to correct this omission.

Stanley B. Corris

East Amherst

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Romney has a plan to preserve Medicare

A recent letter, lumping Medicare with Medicaid and food stamps, criticizes Mitt Romney for wanting to "eviscerate" Medicare to the detriment of the "working poor." First, Medicare is not a program for the "working poor," but health insurance primarily for senior Americans into which they have paid. Second, it is President Obama who has already pummeled Medicare, because his signature legislation, Obamacare, requires a reduction in spending on Medicare by $500 billion dollars over 10 years.

The Affordable Care Act reduces future payments to physicians and hospitals and so will hinder the ability of seniors to find any decent care; already the number of doctors refusing Medicare patients is alarming. Free preventative services for seniors? Sounds good, but despite Obama's recent claims in another context, covered medical services are not free. Medicare's preventative services will be funded by increased premiums. And as the Congressional Budget Office notes, although some beneficiaries in the coverage gap may save more through discounted drug costs than they pay in higher premiums, for others premium hikes will exceed their prescription cost savings. Moreover, Obamacare mandates drastic cuts to Medicare Advantage plans, which cover about 25 percent of Medicare enrollees, including many with lower incomes; this will decrease benefits and reduce quality of care. Some of these plans will be eliminated entirely.

Romney's Medicare proposals are aimed at preserving Medicare. Obama has already taken a sledgehammer to it.

As for the claims about employment statistics: space prevents a full reply, although we agree that a genuine decrease in unemployment is welcome. But what do the numbers really mean, and how much has Obama achieved in this respect? Perhaps time will tell. Still, as reported as recently as Feb. 13 by "CBS News," never have so many been out of work for so long.

Leonard Aldrich

Janice Schultz-Aldrich

Getzville

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No need to create a new pension tier

The governor wants to create a new pension tier -- Tier VI. Cloaked in the guise of reform, this proposal is about politics and placating big business special interests, not sound public policy. This bill ignores the landmark Tier V pension reform enacted by the Legislature less than two years ago, which is estimated to save the state and local governments $35 billion over 30 years. We don't need a new tier to cut costs, just let Tier V work as intended.

Pensions for public employees in New York are not excessive, despite what some want you to believe. In reality, pensions provide a fair benefit after a long career spent in public service. The average pension for public employees is $19,000 per year; 76 percent of pensions are less than $30,000 per year. Very few retirees receive a large pension and those who do are usually high-level management and political employees.

Despite these facts, the governor has wrongly proposed slashing pension benefits for middle-class retirees through the creation of this Tier VI plan.

Jim Sacco

Lockport

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Owners should take responsibility for pets

As I read with great sadness about yet another animal shelter in peril, I have come to the conclusion that there is blame to be had on many shoulders. This blame also is to be shared by every irresponsible person out there. We are all stewards of this planet and are called to care for God's creation. If we all took equal responsibility, the shelters would not be overfilled to capacity, would they?

I live in the country, and people just love to drop their cats off in the country. I can't tell you how many Sunday mornings I've had to spend at Operation Pets having these cats spayed and neutered, not to mention the cost of caring for them. Even though I tell people I can't possibly care for any more animals, I'm constantly being asked to do just that, and very rarely am I ever offered help in any way. So the next time you think to ask someone else or a shelter to care for your animal, ask instead how you can help them, and then maybe this world will be a better place.

Angela Banaszak

Elma