Cuts not enough
The current bipartisan budget charade is emblematic of our nation’s fall from greatness. Even the most casual observer knows that spending cuts alone will not get close to balancing our $1.6 trillion deficit.
Republicans huff and puff and come up with between $30 to $100 billion in cuts aimed mostly at the poor and elderly. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama nibbles around the edges of the budget, afraid to offend anyone. His budget assumes unrealistic growth rates while adding $22 billion to the already morbidly obese military budget.
From 1950 to 1963, the top income tax rate was more than 90 percent on income above $3 million in today’s dollars. This was an era of economic stability, low unemployment and a flourishing middle class. Last year, the top 400 individuals in the country earned as much as the bottom 50 percent of workers, approximately 100 million Americans. Thirty years ago, CEOs earned around 30 times as much as the average worker. Today, they earn more than 400 times as much.
As we have devolved into a predatory democracy controlled by economic royalists, it is not hard to see that the corporate masters of our legislators have both the money and power to prevent the fundamental changes needed from even being discussed.
Feed the hungry
As a regular contributor to the Food Bank Coalition, I was pleased to read in The Tribune (March 3) that it had received a $100,000 grant from the USDA “to help the poor and hungry get food.” Then I read the fine print. Does it mean that consultants and staff will be paid to figure out how to spend the remaining money to “assess local hunger needs and resources, establish a plan to deal with the problem by promoting coordination and partnerships ”?
Why can’t the Food Bank Coalition just cut to the chase and spend the money feeding some “food insecure” (aka hungry) folks?
John R. Miller
San Luis Obispo
Lots of thinking
I think the idea of an ice skating rink in Atascadero is a wonderful suggestion (“Think of a rink,” Feb. 25)! Suzette Murray Lees’ rationale in her letter was excellent and could greatly benefit Atascadero. My husband designed an ice skating rink, with retail shops located above it, for a spot on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles. It’s a real possibility.
Another idea we had for Atascadero is in place of Walmart, build an IKEA. IKEA is a good alternative and we don’t have one in the Central Coast area, whereas we do have another Walmart in Paso Robles.
Walmart is all about saturation. They bring in as much profit as possible at the expense of the small, independent stores and ultimately put them out of business. IKEA features modern style, affordable Scandinavian furniture and accessories. It is hugely popular in Los Angeles, bringing people in from all the surrounding areas.
Or perhaps we could consider using the space for a renewable energy plant that would produce renewable energy for consumers and businesses. This is a burgeoning idea that meets the goals of California and may be partially funded by grants. Lots of thinking going on these days.