Need statesmen, not politicians
I am very disappointed in national political leaders from both parties ("Debt-ceiling fiasco," July 14 Eagle Editorial). We need genuine statesmen, not career politicians.
We need a national Treasury that is based on sound money, not paper promises or IOUs. We need to work toward paying down our nation's debts, instead of extending the limits on borrowing from China and elsewhere.
We need people who have actually worried about keeping a dollar in their pocket for a rainy day, instead of the crop of lazy, free-spending nincompoops who have gotten our beloved nation into its current mess.
If America ever defaults, you can kiss goodbye the phrase "full faith and credit of the United States." Nothing in the financial realm would be believed thereafter with absolute certainty.
Certainty is what inspires public confidence. Certainty is what inspires people to either invest, save or spend. If the American public doesn't rise up and demand that the president and the Congress (each side and both parties) find a reasonable balance between saving and spending, this debt-ceiling fiasco could leave America in an economic cellar that would take many generations to recover from.
I believe in straight, concisely worded pieces of legislation that are long-term fixes, not short-term gimmicks.
JAMES A. MARPLES
The writer of "Paid for by taxes" (July 15 Letters to the Editor) does not seem to realize that those huge government programs started in the 1940s, '50s and '60s are the root of our current problems.
Since these programs began decades ago, they have grown so big, with so many people enrolled in them, that they are now unsustainable. Even higher taxes would not provide the money required to sustain them.
When Medicare was established, people rarely lived past 70. Now people are living well into their 80s.
Our government now borrows 40 cents of every dollar it spends. Medicare trust funds will be depleted by 2014, Social Security by 2024. Meanwhile, nearly 50 percent of Americans do not pay any federal income taxes — not because they are poor or cannot afford their share, but because of all the tax credits and deductions allowed by our government.
If this country is to survive and not go the way of Greece, Spain, Italy, etc., whose government programs have grown so expansive and expensive that the countries are now in danger of bankruptcy, our own programs must be cut or revised to a more sustainable level. The American citizen must come to realize that most of something is better than all of nothing.
Must speak out
In the spirit of German pastor Martin Niemoller:
When Gov. Sam Brownback nixed the parole board, I did not speak out because I am not a parolee.
When he did a hatchet job on women's health care, I did not speak out because I am past childbearing age.
When he went after funding for the arts and the Kansas Arts Commission, I did not speak out because I am not an artist.
Then Brownback went after the leaders of the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services and brought in his cronies from out of state to replace them. I am a retired clinical social worker and very concerned for our vulnerable populations. I must speak out.
Now the extreme right is going after therapists, giving responsibility for counseling to faith-based entities — and using our tax dollars, of course. This is presumptuous and immoral, and it gouges, if not breaks, the First Amendment's Establishment Clause.
It is way past time to stand up and speak out before all of our rights are trampled.
PAT MARTIN SLOOP
Not a prison
It is much easier to form opinions simply by listening to what the people around you say, rather than by taking the trouble to find out the actual facts of the matter. Of course, this tends to mean that somewhat baseless fads take hold. Right now, it is fashionable among the left to disparage Israel.
Gaza is not a "prison" ("Missing coverage," July 14 Letters to the Editor). Gaza's legitimately elected government, Hamas, is unashamedly at war with Israel. Since the inception of Hamas, its stated purpose has been the destruction of Israel. Its blatant aggression appears via rockets lobbed over the border and ground incursions, nearly always targeting civilians. A kidnapped Israeli citizen, Gilad Shalit, continues to be held incommunicado, without even visits by the Red Cross.
Under these circumstances, it is only reasonable that the Israeli government try to protect its citizens by maintaining a military blockade. Note that this blockade is strictly military. Humanitarian aid is allowed in — indeed, most is supplied by Israel (including food and medicine). But these shipments need to be inspected, because Hamas is not above using ambulances to hide weapons or women and children as suicide bombers, as it repeatedly has proved by doing so.
Safe and legal?
We always hear about safe and legal abortions. They can be neither.
How can they be safe when the baby almost always dies, and sometimes the mother does? How can they be legal when the primary purpose of government is to protect life, liberty and property?
The U.S. Supreme Court made a grievous error in Roe v. Wade and in decriminalizing abortion.
DALE A. THOME