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Paying our debts

Dear Editor,
Our ears are bombarded by so much verbal inane nonsense over the airways and TV’s, so many political sound bites, it is extremely difficult to filter through the garbage and find a whole kernel of truth. We have all been paying close attention to the debt ceiling problem, and the lack of the supposedly intelligent representatives we send to Washington DC to arrive at a solution to the problem. Politics is a game. Statesmanship is a work of art. We have a lot of players but no artists.
Many years ago our Congress passed into law the Social Security system. The working person was to pay into a fund that would provide them with income when they were passed their working life. Their employer was also to contribute one half of the required amount. The money was to go into a fund that could be drawn upon to provide the benefits for the workers old age.
I am not sure when, but several years ago, Congress needed more money. They arranged it so they could dip into the Social Security fund and remove the money for use in the country’s general fund. They weren’t stealing the money because they always put in a chit that said they owed it to the Social Security fund. Do you think they ever put any of the money back and picked up their chits? There is no proof that they ever did, or ever intended to. They took the money out on a regular basis. If that money had been left in and invested in a very conservative manner the fund would have built to where it would have been able to handle its obligations. I don’t think the Congress’s chits bore any interest.
Most of us realize our representatives’ business is to first take care of themselves. After all, they are special people who hover above the citizens who put them in office. Congress removed themselves from the Social Security law. It does not apply to the money we pay them to serve us. They must make so much money while they are in Congress they don’t need Social Security protection in their old age.
Prior to six or ten years ago Congress was required to pass a bill every once in awhile if they felt their wages should be increased. They made a decision that passing that type of bill required too much of their time. Time that could be devoted to really important things, like creating ear marks for special interests. They solved the problem by passing a bill that made their salary increases automatic. All they had to do was wait for their raises to arrive every two years. There would be no public fuss. Does anyone think we are getting our moneys worth?
Our government is now considering whether we are going to pay our country’s debts as they come due. Part of the solution suggested is to diminish the Social Security benefits. I have a problem with the older people surrendering some of the benefits they have contracted for with the government without having their voices heard.
There are more than fifty million people who receive Social Security benefits. That’s a fair portion of the population. I know the Supreme Court doesn’t like class action suits, so they might throw it out when it got to the highest court, but I think we should give it a chance. When you enter into an arrangement where you pay in order to receive a benefit, they call that a contract. The fifty million Social Security recipients have a contract with the government. The recipients all paid into the Social Security plan. The government promised to pay when due. If the government fails to pay they have violated the contract. Social Security recipients should file a class action suit and sue Congress for punitive damages.
There may be another way to solve the problem. Everyone should stop paying their bills. All of the “small businesses” should stop paying the Social Security payments and stop paying their quarterly income tax. There are a lot of big companies that would continue to pay because they are too big to go broke. If all the small businesses stopped their tax payments the government would have to live within the taxes supplied by the too-big-to-go-broke companies. That would really reduce foolish government spending.
John W. Robinson
Corvallis

Sleepless in Hamilton

Dear Editor,
I’m 88 and have never seen a more poorly managed, shortsighted, and uncaring county government as we have here in Ravalli County. I truly worry what kind of valley will be left for younger folks. Heck, the rate things are going, I’m losing sleep over my own future here.
Since the three new commissioners took office, local crime seems to be skyrocketing. Recycling efforts are being spurned by the commissioners. We’re told by them to sit down and shut up when we want to provide public input. They want to shut down our County Health Department, depriving critical services to hundreds because they disagree with 2% of what public health does. Never mind laying off eight public health workers in these hard times. The commissioners rail against government health insurance yet hypocritically accept it themselves.
They (we!) are spending thousands on out–of-state Texas consultants to do God-knows-what. They want to waste hundreds of thousands on revisiting, reassessing, and redesigning our already sensible county airport expansion plan. They’re approving mega subdivisions with completely inadequate impact fees, passing the costs and impacts off to – yep, you guessed it, to us folks and future generations. Better hold onto your britches and your money ‘cause higher taxes are a-coming.
They’re dismantling, disbanding, and emasculating all sorts of helpful groups like the impact fee advisory board, planning department and weed board. Weeds are spreading like the commissioners themselves are dumping bags of them there seeds, knocking out good ag land in the process.
So if you want infestations of weeds, communicable diseases, ugly subdivisions, unemployment, and unhappiness – then you’ve got it now, thanks to the commissioners. If you want broken schools and broken government – they’ve given it to us and hold the patents. It’s time for this lot of commissioners to resign. I’d sleep much better then. In the meantime… pass me a sleeping pill.
Stanley Schroeder
Hamilton

 

Humane Assn. should embrace transparency

Dear Editor,
I am writing regarding some clarification about myself and the Bitterroot Humane Association.
I applaud BRHA’s acknowledgement to proceed with an outside independent audit and the Commissioners’ recognizing the requirements written in their existing contract. The accounting firm will do the audit and the county commissioners will review the results.
But in July, I was “dis-membered”; not allowed to be a member of BRHA. I had requested a copy of the May open board meeting minutes. I was denied a copy. What could be so secret in the minutes? I had not requested financial statements for some time but surely I would have been denied them also.
For me, I follow the animal statistics at each monthly meeting; recording the intake, adoption and euthanizing numbers and I make note of the fees received from those animals. If I ask, those numbers are READ to me.
I have suggested to the county commissioners that the county base their funding of BRHA on the number of animals adopted. That is easy to calculate and verify, with adoption contracts and city and county licensing records.

Surely, BRHA is concerned about saving animals and adopting them into caring homes, not haggling over audits and funding. Let the community reward positive results. It’s a simple premise. The more animals adopted, the more money from the county and income from adoption fees. Animals adopted more quickly means more money saved. More animals quickly adopted; better for the welfare of the animals and the community.
Animal welfare is a community issue. It will take community involvement to master solutions.

Jeanne McKinney
Hamilton

President an embarrassment

Dear Editor,

I was at an event in Missoula last week. We wonder why our country is in trouble. I talked to a person who admitted being a communist, and proud of it? Another person said, “The government needs to spend more money.” I asked him where he thought they were going to get it, and he said, “They have it.” What planet has he been living on? Then, I watched our President’s speech about the debt ceiling talks. I cannot believe the American public is falling for these scare tactics. Threatening seniors that they won’t get their Medicare or Social Security checks? Mr. Obama, you should be ashamed of yourself. The money is there for (hate to use the word) entitlements. Call Senator Tester, and ask him why your President is lying to you. I have never in my 62 years watched a president address the nation, and act like a spoiled brat that isn’t getting his way. I’m embarrassed! We need a President that is for the people, who will lift us up, who will understand how to run the business of our nation, who will be proud of the United States of America.

Lilya McAlister

Stevensville

Sky is not falling

Dear Editor,

The Chicken Little Democrats say: “The sky is falling because of the Debt Ceiling Debate!” This is instant replay on what they did in the 1995-96 Congress. (The Republicans were linking cutting the deficit to the increase in the debt ceiling). Yes, there was a five-day shutdown in November and 36 days in December-January. The sitting president finally agreed with the GOP to the cuts.
So what happened? No default occurred! Default only occurs if the government stops paying interest on the money it owes. Not increasing the debt ceiling only means that the government is forbidden from borrowing more money, and that spending is limited to the revenue the government brings in. (All late checks were paid).

Sounds sensible to me. Enough said.
Bruce King

Hamilton

Thanks for Lone Rock barbecue

Dear Editor,

Thank you so much to Dan and Margauriette Metully and their staff of volunteers. The Lone Rock Community BBQ on July 23 was great. The kids games and activities were fun. The softball game and horseshoes well done. The music enjoyable. The cars, well, classic. Of course the food was extraordinary. A well put together event enjoyed by everyone who attended.

We look forward to next year.

Ruth Kleinjan

Stevensville

 

Opposed to funding Planned Parenthood

Dear Editor,
It has recently come to our attention that the Ravalli County Commissioners want to defund Planned Parenthood. We want you to know that we support them as do many of our friends and family in the Bitterroot. Below is the email we sent to the commissioners to show our personal support. We wanted to share it with you too.
To: Ravalli County Commissioners
My husband and I are 100% plus behind defunding Planned Parenthood. We believe that a woman does have a choice UNTIL the moment of conception. Once that moment transpires, a child is in the womb and should be awarded the same rights to “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” as every other American.
A woman should not be allowed to use taxpayer dollars – mine and others like me – to destroy human life.
Thank you for your time and your willingness to take a stand.
Mark and Louise Kingston
Corvallis

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