Wed, Feb. 19


Burke, Lidbeck and Bauer

Today's letters (Sunday, Aug. 7th) all emphasize the mounting concern of our citizenry with the failure of our government to achieve a cohesive policy that will turn around our economy.

Because he addressed my own recent letter I will respond to Bob Burke first.

Mr. Burke is right in that we have different approaches to the problems facing our economy. For one thing, he seems to feel that jobs are the answer while I believe there are 2 distinct, but related, problems that must be addressed to save us from future calamity, jobs being one and spending the other. Of the two, jobs would be the easiest to solve. Unfortunately, our Congress is stalemated by differing philosophies (as are Mr. Burke I) over the role that government should play in our lives and economic system. Liberals believe that government should play an overwhelming role that shapes our economy as an implement of social engineering - redistributing the wealth gained by the "haves" to the "have nots." On the Conservative side, they believe that government should be the referee - making and enforcing rules that leave intact our constitutional right to private property while, in turn, providing for our defense and a social safety net that allows the truly unfortunate to regain their footing if they slip or provide safety for those unable to care for themselves. The American population is known to be center-right. If, in the next election, they continue what they started in 2010 - a transformation of Congress to more closely resemble their own beliefs, we will have a pro-job Congress that will actually change conditions to allow the free market to expand. Millions of new jobs will take care of the "revenue problem" Obama, Reid and Pelosi would like to cure with higher, job killing taxes.

Mr. Burke misstated what I said about unions. I neither mocked union jobs, nor did I say "union jobs are not real jobs." I have no problems with unions, per se. My problem, as it was with FDR and AFL-CIO President George Meany - 2 bastions of liberalism, is with Public Service Unions and unions in government sponsored organizations such as the Post Office or FAA where the negotiators are basically on the same side of the table, leaving taxpayers stuck with ever increasing costs. I have no problem with public employees having normal benefits, health insurance and retirement, under a defined contribution system wherein, once retired, the employee's benefits are not the responsibility of the taxpayer but his/her own program.

Mr. Burke said he "believe(s) the American worker has a right to form or join a union without government interference," as do I. He failed to add that the same worker should have the right to decline union membership without government interference, such as is the case with the NLRB taking Boeing to court for opening a plant outside of Seattle whose workers do not want to be unionized. The NLRB, which has been packed with pro-union members by Mr. Obama, charter was to keep labor negotiations out of the courts - not to take sides and sue the employer. In the case of GM and Chrysler, government interfered by bailing out the two automakers in order to protect the unions. Instead of staying out and allowing them to file normal bankruptcy seeking reorganization, the government took controlling interest after cheating stockholders - including many union organizations - of their shares. I have no problem with the auto unions. But when they bargain irresponsibly with likewise irresponsible management for contracts that are detrimental to the long term survivability of the company, they should face their own consequences - not the U.S. taxpayer. Both sides were apparently comfortable with the expectation that government would bail them out. And why not? This is the second go-around for Chrysler.

The second part of the economic equation is one that Liberals seem to refuse to accept, though every expert, and even Mr. Obama (who seems to have no economic sense, recognizes. Spending is a problem and increased taxes cannot solve it - there simply isn't enough taxable income out there. No one is suggesting, as the fear-mongers would have us believe, killing Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid. But they are the long term debt problem. Their funding must be structurally changed to become self-sustaining. As they exist, they will destroy the very economy on which they depend. Mr. Burke believes the administration should just focus on jobs. That is the essence of our problem. No one has been willing to address the fact that government spending - not just SS and Medicare/Medicaid but discretionary spending as well - is driving us to default. The downgrade of our credit rating by S&P is a warning shot across the bows of our ship of state. We can no longer continue to irresponsibly leave the solution to future congresses. With a new attitude, inspired by the much maligned "Tea Party", and a new administration in 2012, there will be a narrow window to correct our course.

As for Mr. Lidbeck - he says "Obama is...out of touch with reality." Not quite accurate. The president is so immersed in his ideology that he is incapable of changing his policies.

For Mr. Bauer I say, look closer at your conclusions as to where fault lies - and there is plenty to go around. Most of us agree that too many politicians sell their vote for personal gain. Where else can you get a lifetime retirement if you can simply be re-elected once. However, deciding to no longer vote is the one thing that will surely ensure his prediction that "our country's greatest times are behind us."

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