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Eliminate gerrymandering to end the stalemate in Congress

To The Daily Sun,

I vote Democratic. I am a social liberal and fiscal conservative who is sick of the Washington gridlock. In a conversation with my good conservative friend I found that we are in agreement on the need for action on our national budget.

We agree that the excesses in social and operational spending must be drastically curtailed. Social Security, Pentagon, Medicare, agribusiness (sugar, cotton), Medicaid, NASA, and on and on must be reduced for us to have a country that can afford to operate into the future. The tax structure must be completely changed to eliminate the benefits to special interest groups.

I think that there is starting to be a centerist group of congressmen from both parties who see that the current stalemate in both houses can be broken by those, like my friend and me, who see the need to make substantial changes in budget items close to their hearts. The first substantial sign of this is the cooperation by the Koch brothers and the liberal members of state and national political bodies on drastically changing the penal system.

One very important change that is needed to expedite the above is the elimination of gerrymandering of voting districts in the states. California has done this. Other states need to follow. As long as liberals and conservatives run from safe districts the far fringes in both parties are the ones who end up in the House in Washington. They have no incentive to vote other than as their districts want them to.

Kent Warner
Center Harbor

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With Obama in charge, U.S. leads world in economic growth

To The Daily Sun,

Bob Meade was blowing smoke when he recently used his column to take aim, again, at Obamacare (Affordable Care Act or ACA). He lamented that our economy doesn't have enough jobs and indicated that the number of words in the Obamacare statute is partially to blame. He says all those words have burdened employers and created an atmosphere of uncertainty. (I'm somewhat amazed that he's able to upload his columns at all: given the paralysis and uncertainty he must be feeling from the wordy software license agreements on his computer.)

So, this time it's the number of words that is the job killer: not the mandate that citizens have to have insurance or the expansion of Medicaid or the loss of inadequate insurance policies that he's yammered on about in the past. There's a good reason for that. Obamacare is not a job killer, according to Forbes magazine (yes, that Forbes, the business magazine that proudly proclaims itself to be "The Capitalist Tool") which said that since the provisions of the ACA have gone into affect, more than 11 million jobs have been created, and the unemployment rate has been cut nearly in half.

History doesn't matter for Bob and his fellow fundamentalist free marketeers, just ideology. Bob is an evangelist for unrestrained capitalism. And, he is correct that it is a terrific engine of innovation and creation. However, left to its own devices, it will consume itself and most of us along with it. That's why we needed child labor, minimum wage, and anti-trust laws and the eight-hour workday standard among many other wordy regulations. It's also why we needed word-filled rules to stop industry from polluting our rivers so badly they've caught on fire and from making our air unbreathable. Government regulation is there to balance the inevitable negative effects of unrestrained capitalism. In the absence of adequate regulation, industrial waste has poisoned the air in Beijing and made the water in Rio de Janeiro undrinkable as they let business run rampant over the environment.

These fundamentalists have been consistently wrong about so much in the economy. Facts don't matter to them. Not only have the stimulus, the ending of the Bush tax cuts, and the Obamacare taxes on the rich not killed jobs, the predicted higher interest rates and inflation haven't occurred, either, and both the deficit and the rate of medical inflation have declined under Obama's policies. In fact, with President Obama in charge, the U.S. leads the world in economic growth.

The reason that Obamacare is not a job killer is the same reason that the clean air and clean water acts didn't kill our economy as the naysayers predicted. If the rules are applied fairly (the level playing field), competition develops in these new markets — antipollution devices, for example. Capitalists rejoice as these new opportunities are created.

Capitalism is a big part of the reason we have such a wealthy society. Regulation is how we keep things fair and maintain a livable environment. There's a balance there. We need both.

Dave Pollak

Laconia

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