Brokerage firm Datek once marketed itself by televising an imaginary mob attacking the stock exchange. Unfortunately, today’s mobs are all too real, often committing serious violence in many cities. A ring leader, if caught, is jailed.
J.P. Morgan bank once marketed itself by advertising high-risk “liar” loans, backed by taxpayers, peddled at six times the average of other offenders. Yet financial leader J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon is made President Barack Obama’s confidant.
Is public violence linked to monetary fraud? One is evil, the other evil’s root. We prosecute one, yet reward the other. Polarization is inevitable.
Ironically, it has taken comedian Stephen Colbert’s outrageous “Super PAC” to clearly highlight the corrosive influence of financial shenanigans on elective office.
Clive Crook, editor of The Atlantic, says, “The U.S. seems a country hell-bent on its own failure.” Freedom thrives on honest dissent, but it will surely wither away without virtue.
San Luis Obispo
Regarding the letter from Mary Ross (“Job problems,” June 22): The notion that rich people create jobs to increase their wealth is a myth, which has been foisted upon us ever since Reagan’s supply side (aka “voodoo”) economics.
Businesses increase hiring because of increasing demand, which only comes about when ordinary working people have money to spend. For the past 30 years, this country’s income distribution has increasingly favored a small percentage of wealthy individuals, and millions of jobs have been shipped to countries with cheap labor, which has resulted in the lower and middle classes having relatively less money to spend.
There are two changes that can be made to address this, both of which Mary referenced indirectly in her letter. One, roll back the tax cuts for the wealthy (the Bush and the Reagan cuts), which have contributed to our huge disparity in wealth. Second, stop the free trade madness and reinstate tariffs on imported goods. Unfortunately, the Obama administration has shown little willingness to do either.
San Luis Obispo
Grover Norquist, Republican leader of the “No new taxes” cult, boasted on TV that he’d received signed pledges from all Republican House and Senate members, and almost all current presidential hopefuls, to reject any tax raises to solve the deficit problem.
The refusal to consider ending tax cuts for the richest Americans, who already pay a lower tax rate than I (and you) do, or to end tax credits and subsidies for huge corporations, is self-serving and un-American. It’s political theater aimed at destroying our economy to facilitate beating Obama in 2012 and repaying their corporate sponsors by ending all regulations on their activities and ensuring an uneducated, powerless, low-paid, desperate working class to service their needs.
When taxes were progressive and unions flourished, the economy grew. Since Reagan, the lowering of taxes on the wealthiest has led to overseas flight by industry, a huge deficit (created by three Republican administrations and their wars of economic opportunity) and the destruction of the American middle class.
The Republicans’ “new America” is looking a lot like Charles Dickens’ old England.
The chickens’ fault?
I must take issue with Marjorie Hanks’ letter, stating that chickens are dirty, unattractive nuisances.
We also, like many in this county, live in an area that borders open, undeveloped country, where native critters abound. And we also keep six beautiful hens in our backyard. They are not dirty but are exceptionally clean animals. They are also very important members of our household ecosystem. Along with the worm bin and the compost pile — which I suppose Marjorie might also find offensive — they eat all our kitchen and garden waste, and they produce beautiful healthy eggs and very rich, garden-worthy manure.
Because of our proximity to open space, I have on occasion lost hens to wild critters like foxes, coyotes, raccoons and hawks, but no bears, to my knowledge. I, however, would never think of blaming these critters for doing what comes naturally. Everyone seems to love chicken meat. My feeling is that it is the hen owners’ responsibility to keep them safe by building them a safe enclosure and a critter-proof hen house.
I think it is very sad that the bear was killed, but surely it is not the chickens’ fault.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s opinion piece “End Scourge of Human Trafficking” in The Miami Herald shows just how out of touch the White House is with reality. It’s bad enough we get zero leadership from the Obama administration on energy and have to suffer the slings and arrows of fate dished out by global warming deniers.
But Clinton, what are you thinking? Your piece piously recommends that we all pull together to stop human trafficking. Then why, oh why, does the White House give out little white boxes of M&M’s — despite recent efforts of the fair trade community to get a share of the market? Those M&Ms are manufactured by a $40 billion corporation that purchases its cocoa from ADM and Cargill. For years, they have obstructed progress on child slavery in Ivory Coast.
And why, oh why, did you, secretary Clinton, give an award to Mars, for its work training cocoa farmers, when far more deserving nongovernmental organizations — like Project Hope and Fairness — continue to struggle with little or no help from government to combat the poverty that lies at the root of child trafficking?
Whenever someone powerful exudes piety, I just smell dead fish.
San Luis Obispo
I finished reading The Tribune’s editorial on the nuclear disaster at Fukushima Dai-ichi and experienced a conundrum concerning the word “safety” and nuclear waste. Chernobyl, Three Mile Island and Fukushima are three of the larger nuclear disasters since 1957. Safety was a concern at their plants.
The possibility of exposure to radiation must be the issue at hand when thinking about the nuclear waste that is stored at each of the 104 nuclear plants in the U.S.
Some people do care
This is further comment on Ms. Johanna Rubba’s letter (June 27) titled “Not listening.” Mr. Jon A. Hartz’s (June 29) response titled “Dream word” supports the view that he fits the stereotype of the conservative, cold-hearted person who considers those less fortunate as deserving their fate. He was unfair in claiming she forced herself into a private conversation that took place in a public setting and in labeling himself as “the afflicted” but her situation as “less-than-tragic.” He was hostile and uninformed when he declared, with no personal knowledge, that Ms. Rubba’s mother is getting better care than government care, that “New Jersey has an adequate safety net for such short-sighted people,” when he compared dentures and hearing aids to magazines and car insurance and suggested that Obamacare will not help her mother.
Mr. Hartz was rude and pompous when he stated Ms. Rubba lived in a dream world, declaring egotistically that his polite group of seniors was more on the ball than she and told her to forgo her coffee and send the money to her mother.
I admired Ms. Rubba’s courage in sharing her personal story with people she did not know, hoping she might touch their heart. I hope she continues to speak out.
People do care.
A is for attack
Shirley Bianchi’s open letter to Mayor Jan Marx makes a strong point that Measures A is an attack on the morale of the city employees. She totally ignores the morale of the 40,000 residents, like me, who pay the city staff and suffer from reduced city services, from roads that need repair, from higher fees and myriad other things that reduced funding will affect, all caused by increasing personnel costs. Her solution is more taxes. More taxes merely offer the employees another chance to suck up revenue.
Measure Y, passed in 2006, raised the sales tax by 0.5 percent.
We citizens enjoyed the benefits of that increase briefly, before a binding arbitration finding for about 80 police officers cost this city more than $4 million up front plus $2.5 million a year.
San Luis Obispo