To The Daily Sun,
Tea Party members of Congress laughably anointed themselves as the pure and faithful guardians of the Constitution. Yet they do not care about votes in Congress, laws of the land, court decisions, any majority opinion, payments already approved, or existing contracts — unless they agree with them. They accept neither the legitimacy of democratic elections nor the results. Just like other fundamentalist extremists throughout the world, they intend to impose their warped social and political version of sharia on our country, whether Americans want it or not.
This minority of a minority has hijacked the Republican party and now — like the economic terrorists they are — have put a gun to the nation's head. They say "Do as we say or we will blow up the economy and everyone with it." All Americans will be collateral damage of their fantasies. The Tea Partiers in the House will happily set off bombs in every 401(k), credit card account, mortgage, the national debt and the world's economy. Not to mention Social Security, veterans' benefit and military pay checks. Every one of us will be seriously wounded by their tantrum. Instead of threatening to hold their breath until they turn blue, like 2-year-olds in a cartoon strip, they are putting a choke hold on America's windpipe.
But wait: they say they are willing to negotiate. Except that their idea of negotiation is not compromise or finding common ground but only unconditional surrender. "Meet our demands and we will let you live." And then they will return later with more blackmail and ransom notes. Abraham Lincoln put it well when he spoke about the Southern Fire Eaters who blew up the country in an attempt to preserve slavery. He said: "A highwayman holds a pistol to my ear and mutters through his teeth, 'Stand and deliver, or I shall kill you — and then you will be a murderer!'
It's time to see these people as the radical extremists and anarchists they are. It's time for leaders of the Republican party in Congress (including John "If I Only Had a Backbone" Boehner), who enabled these denizens of the fringe to show some sense of responsibility to their country and finally say no. It's time to refuse to bargain with political and economic terrorists. It's past time to take away the gun they are holding to the head of the American people. It is as simple as letting the House vote on a clean end to the shutdown and on the debt ceiling. Or to vote on any of the bipartisan compromises that come from the Senate. Watching the Tea Party caucus in action makes one wonder what these political versions of Timothy McVeigh, Eric Rudolph and the Tsarnaev brothers think they can get away with. They don't believe in the Constitution or in democracy. The Tea Party fringers are modern day secessionists and nullifiers. Let the would-be Ayatollahs such as Cruz and Bachmann and Wilson impose their tea-cracy on themselves and leave the real world alone.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 October 2013 10:39
To The Daily Sun,
How disappointing, and intellectually dishonest, for Kate Miller to first appeal to reason and objective references relative to the debate over the Affordable Care Act and to then personalize an attack focused on me when those references are supplied.
When you do not have the facts on your side you may always bang your shoe on the table which does nothing to persuade any but the most gullible.
Rep. Ricahrd B. Burchell
Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 October 2013 10:36
To The Daily Sun,
The right-wing party is holding up the government on the passing of debt ceiling vote as they want to cut spending. I have written many times that the red states receive on the whole more than 30 cents more than blue states for every dollar paid in.The state of Utah would not exist without tax payers dollars. the Gulf states get over a dollar more than they pay in. Check the web yourself to see how many western state congressman receive farm subsidies. I can see ahead when the GOP Party will be history.
It has been written before, if you don't like President Obama, get ready to deal with President Hillary Clinton.
One more thing for the local experts: how many jobs have the right wingers created in the past five years?
Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 October 2013 10:32
To The Daily Sun,
I was very disappointed last week to read a letter from Mr. Jones in which he uses veterans as a pawn in the political chess game that we've been witnessing in Washington. He would have us believe that our Representatives Shea-Porter and Kuster singled out veterans by voting against the latest ploy by House Republicans to make it appear that Democrats are "taking government hostage" and "voting against veterans". In fact, their votes were against the obstructionist attempts to derail the ACA, not against veterans. Passing narrowly focused continuing resolutions, which they no full-well Democrats will vote against, is their way of countering the public outcry against their shutting down of the government unless a law, the Affordable Care Act, is de-funded. It is a strategy meant to embarrass Democrats and shift the blame. Are veterans being effected — definitely yes, just as all Americans are being effected by the drama unfolding in our nations capitol.
The House voted to add a one-year delay of the Affordable Care Act to the short-term funding bill that would keep government running through mid-December. This Tea Party-led Republican attachment to the spending bill — once again attempting to de-fund ACA, and the Senate refusal to negotiate or vote on a straight budget bill without extraneous and controversial demands have put our country in this position. They have voted to repeal, delay or de-fund the ACA 42 times, and now they are trying to prevent the law, upheld by the Supreme Court, from taking effect through extortion.
It is clear, since he stepped into office, that the Tea Party cause has always been to sabotage President Obama and "Obamacare" — it's getting old. If Republicans want ACA repealed, then vote on that as a stand-alone and not tied to the budget. The problem is that they don't have the votes to overturn it and they are willing to risk so much damage to pursue their agenda. But holding the entire country hostage by combining unrelated bills is going to backfire on the Tea Party and the Republican Party.
House Speaker Boehner believes the health care law "is having a devastating impact... something has to be done." Apparently the Tea Party-led Republicans feel that shutting down government (curtailing aid to veterans, etc.) is the way to go.
In the most recent polls, the approval rating of our Congress hovers around 11 percent (significantly higher than I feel it should be) and 75 percent of the voters express frustration with their representatives and want them ousted.
L. J. Siden
Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 October 2013 10:27
Some bad news for America, not on the political front this time, but on what corporate executives call human resources. It's from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's report on adult skills, based on 166,000 interviews in 24 economically advanced countries in 2011 and 2012.
The verdict on the United States: "weak in literacy, very poor in numeracy, but only slightly below average in problem-solving in technology-rich environments."
On literacy, just 12 percent of U.S. adults score at the top two levels, significantly lower than the 22 percent in largely monoethnic and culturally cohesive Japan and Finland. American average scores are below those in our Anglosphere cousins Australia, Canada and England and Northern Ireland.
One-sixth of Americans score at the bottom two levels, compared to 5 percent in Japan and Finland.
On numeracy the United States does even worse — only 8 percent at the top levels and one-third in the lowest.
Americans do better at problem solving in tech-rich environments, which economist Tyler Cowen in his new book "Average Is Over" says will be of great economic value in the future.
One-third of Americans score at the top two levels, while one-third score at the bottom or lack such skills altogether.
That puts us just below the average of the countries tested. Finland, the Netherlands, Australia and Canada are well ahead.
The OECD report finds a wider range of skills in the U.S. than in other countries surveyed. Americans with only high school educations perform worse than their counterparts in all but one other nation.
And the report found that socioeconomic background is more strongly correlated with skills proficiency in this country.
In addition, there is the uncomfortable finding that disproportionate percentages of blacks and Hispanics have low skills.
Fully half of the Americans with the lowest level of literacy are Hispanic (presumably reflecting some immigrants' weak English) and another 20 percent are black.
This is probably true of other groups. In his 2012 book "Coming Apart," Charles Murray showed that the 30 percent of whites with the lowest education and income levels have low rates of family formation, little involvement in voluntary associations and high levels of substance abuse.
Most likely, those of any race or ethnic groups with divorced or single parents, or who are divorced or single parents themselves, tend to lag below national and international averages in literacy and numeracy.
Another disturbing finding of the OECD is that younger age cohorts in the U.S. do not seem to have skills as high as those in the cohort just below age 65.
All of this suggests that America's economic future may not be as bright as its past — or that the current economic doldrums may turn out to be the new normal.
What to do? The OECD sensibly calls for better education and more adult skills training. In fact, many worthy attempts have been made and are being made to improve education around the country, and some have had positive results. Even the Obama administration, despite its political debts to teacher unions, has pitched in to some extent.
In the meantime, the United States can do something about improving skill sets by changing its immigration laws to increase high-skill immigration. Current immigration law has inadvertently resulted in a vast low-skill migration from Latin America and especially from Mexico. Unanticipated large numbers have used the family reunification provisions to come in legally, and large numbers have crossed the border illegally.
Congress can change that by cutting back on extended family reunification, improving border enforcement and requiring use of e-Verify or other status verification technology. More important, Congress can vastly expand high-skill immigration. The Senate bill passed last spring goes some distance toward this, but not far enough.
The U.S. should take a lesson from its Anglosphere cousins Australia and Canada, which both have higher immigration proportionate to population and which both outscored the U.S. in literacy, numeracy and high-tech problem solving in the OECD survey.
Australia and Canada allocate large shares of their immigration flow by point systems, which give credit for educational achievement and marketable skills. They do not necessarily tie high-skill immigrants to a single petitioning employer, as H-1B visas do in the U.S. Both countries are attracting high-skill immigrants, especially from China and India, and both have had better performing economies than the U.S. does.
Making a concerted effort to attract high-skill immigrants should be a no-brainer for America.
(Syndicated columnist Michael Barone is senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner, is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and co-author of The Almanac of American Politics.)
Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 October 2013 08:47