Consumed by stuff
I was appalled by the April 8 front page article about clutter in the aisles of retail stores, designed to make us buy more. The first sentence of the article was, “Americans like stuff.”
I would hope you might devote that space to information on the ways corporate marketing has helped change Americans from hardworking, responsible citizens into dumbed-down eternal children who crave more stuff.
The United States has 5 percent of the world’s population, but uses 30 percent of the world’s natural resources to make stuff that is intentionally planned to be obsolete in six months.
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After 9/11, at a time when Americans were frightened and stunned and glued to their TVs for guidance from their leaders, what did they tell us to do? Shop.
Corporations now have more power than governments. This must change.
Anyone interested in this topic might want to watch Annie Leonard’s YouTube video “The Story of Stuff,” or for a more in-depth view, read Benjamin R. Barber’s “Consumed.”
Who better to lead?
According to recent polls, the supremely narcissistic fat cat Donald Trump is now the Republican Party’s leading candidate for president. And this is as it should be, because the Republican Party, having finally cast aside the last vestige of its faux concern for average folks, is now perfectly represented by this shameless egotist.
Donald Trump is a self-absorbed Gordon Gecko, maniacally driven by equal parts greed and self-aggrandizement. He’s capitalism personified, ever poised to cast aside community needs in satisfaction of personal desires.
It’s a dog-eat-dog, survival-of-the-fittest economy the Republicans have planned for us. Who better than “The Donald” to lead the way?
More prudent course
The current budget debate is like déjà vu all over again. Now that President Obama has articulated his vision of the future as contrasted with the Republican view, our last two presidents provide some recent historical perspective.
Clinton’s first budget in 1993 raised taxes on the rich and cut defense spending, despite no Republican votes in either the House or Senate.
Republicans warned of skyrocketing unemployment, falling stock markets, raging inflation, blah blah blah. Meanwhile, back in the real world, in eight years 23 million jobs were created along with a budget surplus.
In contrast, Bush lowered those tax rates and exploded defense spending. The result after eight years was 3 million jobs created and deficits as far as the eye can see. When all the heated rhetoric is shoved aside, which course seems the more prudent?
Lend a helping hand
The plight of Congregation Beth David is lamentable. The synagogue has been a good neighbor and a definite asset to our community. It is time for the community to lend a helping hand, and do so quickly.
Businesses can help, banks can help, individuals can help to the extent of their ability.
Because many retirees have IRAs and must make yearly withdrawals, some or all of these withdrawals can be directed to Beth David. The benefit to withdraw funds from an IRA and designate those funds to a charitable organization — 501(c)3 — without tax consequences has been extended for 2011.
Beth David is classified as a charitable organization. That means that some or all of the required minimum distribution can be given to Beth David and not charged as income to the donor. There are many retirees in SLO. Check with your financial adviser or accountant.
Let’s all of us open our hearts to assist a group in need.
San Luis Obispo
Voters at fault
Time to set the record straight. Won’t the stupid, ill-informed voters of California wake up and realize the government is not the culprit for our huge debt? It was you who voted in all the big bond measures. Every time a campaign mentions kids’ education or schools — vote for it!
My rural school had 36 students from first- through eighth-grade and only one teacher. It was a no-nonsense atmosphere. Same way at Paso High School. It is easy for me to name the few teachers who taught me something. The rest could have stayed home as they were incompetent. Paying teachers high salaries does not make smarter students.
I was smart enough to retire 32 years ago at 42.
An honest approach
Congress and the president struggle to balance the budget. This doesn’t require economic genius, just an honest approach.
1. Return income taxes to what existed at the end of the Clinton administration.
2. Military budget — reduce significantly an overburdening expenditure.
3. Social expenditures, Medicare, etc. — major reductions required.
4. Federal employees’ entitlements — reduce retirement entitlements, etc.
Unless these areas of high expenditures are reduced significantly and the income taxes are increased to former levels, there is no hope of balancing the budget.
For purely political reasons, our representatives refuse to do what is obviously required for fiscal responsibility.
Harold L. Ehlers
San Luis Obispo
By golly, Donald Archer is right on! ( “A rising tide lifts all boats.” April 14.) We shall all sink together. We Californians are a huge gaggle of compassionate sociopaths. Sink or swim, ha! Swimming would require some effort on our part, and probably would not fit our job description. Therefore, we shall all sink together, chanting in unison, “Big brother loves us, gurgle, gurgle” as we go down for the third time.
I read the March 28 article regarding Camp Roberts’ structures that are falling apart and rife with sewer problems. I am concerned about how our boys are being housed while in training.
It’s bad enough that we send members of the National Guard over to fight this war when they should be home defending their homeland, as the National Guard was originally intended to do.
I hope our governor will take note of this problem and make the base fit for training. Raw sewage, asbestos, faulty wiring and unfit conditions for the safety of our boys are despicable.
I hope people will write the governor and urge him to take action.
The Tribune editorial of March 23 properly commends state Sen. Sam Blakeslee’s recommendation that license renewal applications for the Diablo Canyon Power Plant be suspended or withdrawn “until seismic studies are complete.” Does it, however, go far enough?
The Associated Press piece, “Nuclear spent fuel crisis in Japan puts focus on U.S. waste” published the same day points out that the United States has “no place to permanently store” radioactive waste. The Yucca Mountain repository remains empty, while the lethal residue continues to accumulate. The article makes a frightening observation. The Nevada facility, if opened, would not be adequate to hold even “the current inventory” of the spent fuel.
For a problem that will not go away, ever, what might be an appropriate response?
We continue to feel the devastation wrought by the Bush administration’s two illegal wars, to which we remain mired even though our current President campaigned on getting us out of both.
Victoria Grostick (“In a sad state,” April 16) has a right to feel that it has dragged our economy into this never ending “recession.” By continuing to throw the Department of Defense huge amounts of good money after bad, our politicians not only steal from the middle class, the poor, the elderly and our children — they give us no future.
With the new Republican budget, we now look at the possibility of eliminating every social program that has kept our country great. Have the tea party and Republican leadership moved so far to the right that their Golden Rule now reads “Do unto others what they would never do unto you”? I can only refer them to a great moral teacher who once said, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.”