Home > Misc > Last Week’s Great Posts from Readers in the Bucks County Courier Times with Progressive Views

Last Week’s Great Posts from Readers in the Bucks County Courier Times with Progressive Views

Here is a sampling of opinions expressed by residents of Bucks County in the Courier Times the week of 9/30 – 10/06/12.


Are we better off? Yes!

Posted: Monday, October 1, 2012 6:00 am | Updated: 3:58 pm, Fri Sep 28, 2012.


Mitt Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan have asked in their campaign ads “if we are better off now than four years ago.” My answer to that question is, Yes I am.

As I look back four years to the end of President Bush’s eight years in office, I remember my retirement account was losing money with each monthly statement I received. I was worried that it would soon be gone. We were at the start of a recession and it looked like we were heading for a depression. President Obama made some decisions that turned the economy around. Some of the moves he made weren’t the correct moves, but he started getting people back to work and today I feel we are much better off than four years ago.

Mitt Romney seems to me to change to the position that will get him the most votes. A few years ago he and his wife were strong supporters of Planned Parenthood; now he has changed to the other side.

I have been voting in elections since I came home from my ship in 1956 to vote. Most of the time my vote has been for a Democrat but I have also voted the Republican ticket. This election I am voting for Obama. I don’t believe in everything he stands for, but the way Mitt Romney flip flops around and says things before he has all the facts there is no way I could vote for him.

Another issue is the Republican plan to change Medicare. Our youngest son is recovering from a serious brain injury and the benefits he now receives are helping him get back to a normal life. I pray that the plan that the Republicans are asking for will never pass. My vote will be for President Obama.

Al Litz



Meet with us, Congressman

Posted: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 7:54 am, Tue Oct 2, 2012.

1 comment

I was fortunate to attend a very informative candidate forum in Levittown where Democratic congressional candidate Kathy Boockvar answered questions about the economy, Medicare, Social Security and the environment. Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick had been invited to the event but was unable to attend. It would have been even more informative to hear his contrasting point of view and hear him personally defend his record.

But then I was amazed to read an article in your paper where Fitzpatrick is chastising Boockvar for not wishing to meet him in public to debate the issues. This was after Fitzpatrick had expressed his fear of holding town hall meetings because he was concerned residents would be too rowdy and security would be an issue. Your reporter rightly indicated that perhaps “Methinks thou dost protest too much. Fitzpatrick appears to be the candidate declining those invitations from locally based community organizations.”

There were more than 70 polite, attentive people at the forum, many of them senior citizens. Ground rules were clearly set at the beginning of the meeting: that there was to be no shouting, heckling or unseemly outbursts. Questions were politely addressed to Ms. Boockvar, who answered them passionately and intelligently. Every one in the audience listened carefully and politely.

Mr. Fitzpatrick, you owe it to your constituents to have honest and open discussions in public with your challenger. You have been given an astounding 50-day recess from your duties in Washington. Please earn your six-figure salary by scheduling forums with your challenger so we can hear some real political debate and discussion. We have had enough of glossy mailings, sound-bites and slick super pac commercials. We want some honest dialogue

Steve Cickay



No answers from no-show congressman

Posted: Thursday, October 4, 2012 6:00 am | Updated: 12:10 pm, Wed Oct 3, 2012.


Incumbent Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick was a no-show at a candidates forum I attended at the United Church of Christ in Falls Township Sept. 15, disappointing a large crowd of interested voters. Democratic candidate Kathy Boockvar was impressive, and might have won the debate, even without her opponent’s forfeit — with clear, articulate positions on substantive issues. But the questions some people wanted to ask our Republican congressman remain unanswered.

I want to know: Given that Fitzpatrick voted for the Ryan budget, which was to privatize Social Security and that he also voted against regulating the financial industry, how does handing an unregulated Wall Street control of our-hard earned retirement pensions benefit working families?

(The Congressional Record shows that Fitzpatrick voted for HR2779, which would have exempted inter-affiliate swaps from the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Financial Consumer Protection Agency Regulatory Act of July 2010.)

Perhaps, shying away from a public airing of these, and other issues is Mike’s way of keeping voters from looking too closely at his voting record in Congress — a record that includes voting against the Violence Against Women Act, and for replacing Medicare for seniors with vouchers for only part of the costs of unaffordable health insurance. The health insurance industry (which among all lobbyists, donates the largest dollar amount of contributions nationwide) would be the only beneficiary of that scheme.

Fitzpatrick voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamney Care), which is now rebating customers their health insurance premiums, whenever less than 80 percent of the premiums go to pay for actual health care. This would also re-open the prescription drug “doughnut hole” for seniors on Medicare, and put an end to keeping children on your health insurance until they are 26 years old. It would also end prohibiting insurers from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions.

Your vote will matter very much in Bucks County, and the choice has rarely been clearer. Kathy Boockvar will fight for the working families and seniors.

Andrew Martin

Lower Makefield




I am not a leech

Posted: Friday, October 5, 2012 6:00 am | Updated: 11:30 am, Thu Oct 4, 2012.


I pay taxes so I don’t know if I am part of the 47 percent Romney so cavalierly dismissed. But I do get government help: I am on Social Security and Medicare. I also benefit from other government social programs and subsidies, such as the mortgage interest deduction, without which I doubt I could’ve ever afforded a house. And I used student loans (which I repaid in full) without which I couldn’t have attended college. I would’ve preferred it if my parents paid for my college, or at least loaned me the money, but neither was CEO of a car company.

But whether or not I am part of the 47 percent, I resent the implication that I am a leech, much like I resent references to Social Security as an entitlement. I paid into Social Security for over 40 years, and at the highest rates, but now that I am getting money it is an entitlement? And now they want to decide whether I deserve it or not?

I just hope to be part of the 51 percent that will keep Romney away from the White House. I won’t feel bad for him either. He has plenty of other houses.

Jim Kempner




Life under out-of-touch Romney

Posted: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 6:00 am | Updated: 11:39 am, Mon Oct 1, 2012.


As far as can be determined, the Romney/Ryan Express and the tea party GOP believe big government has to be reduced and is the cause of the economic downturn and deficit.

Many thinking Americans believe two military invasions and the Bush tax cuts for billionaires and millionaires had something to do with it; subsequently relieving the middle class of their cash to give to the One Percent. Oh, wait … they are the job creators; they need the money! Continuing subsidies for the oil industry, sugar and cotton farmers won’t reduce the deficit either. All this and the right wingnuts blankly ignore the fact that President Obama has stopped the bleeding and averted a total economic meltdown. And, in fact, blaming the president for the inherited Bush/Cheney mess while chastising him for not cleaning it up fast enough! Incredible.

Romney and his surrogates believe cutting and tampering with programs that the middle class like and need will decrease the deficit. Such as repealing Obamacare, privatizing Social Security, defunding Planned Parenthood, “voucherizing” Medicare and elimination of Medicaid, the Departments of Education and DEP. We don’t need no stinkin’ regulations to safeguard our water and air, right? Other cuts, it is my understanding, will be announced when he takes office. And as Mr. Ryan says in response to questions regarding exactly what tax loopholes he will close: “We just want it done.” What …?

Romney believes middle class Americans should take personal responsibility for their lives; don’t expect any help from the government, he counsels. Apparently paying taxes, obeying America’s laws and being good citizens doesn’t count for anything. Americans should not expect health care, unemployment compensation when their jobs are outsourced, housing assistance or food stamps (depriving even children?) in Romney’s world.

Seniors are considered a formidable voting bloc. A reasonable assumption being they are retired once earning around $50,000. (Romney believes the middle class earns “$200,000-$250,000.”) Did someone say “out-of-touch”? Surviving on, if they are fortunate, a pension; Social Security and Medicare. These senior voters are expected to turn out for Romney/Ryan. Therefore voting against their own self-interests. Incredible.

John Marchioni

Washington Crossing


Are we better off? Let me count the ways

Posted: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 6:00 am | Updated: 5:04 pm, Tue Oct 2, 2012.


A catchy phrase Republicans keep repeating is: “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?”

Are you kidding? Check the stock market/Dow Jones average four years ago, vs. the level today (including my IRA stocks). Check the free-fall job loss of 750,000 jobs/month four years ago vs. today’s 30 straight months of private sector job growth (4.6 million jobs, including, incredibly, 500,000 manufacturing jobs).

Check the status of the automobile industry from four years ago — what its collapse would have meant to our economy vs. its glowing success today.

Consider that bin Laden and other high-ranking al Qaeda leaders were thriving and plotting four years ago vs. their non-existing status today.

Four years ago we were mired in an unpopular, unpaid-for Iraqi war; today, thankfully, most soldiers have returned home and military actions have ceased.

Is our economy still not where it’s supposed to be? Absolutely! Could Romney turn it around? Absolutely not! Republicans have grossly miscalculated the common sense of the American public. In order for Republicans to have any chance of winning this election, they had better come up with a better phrase!

Donald Bedrick

Lower Makefield



Empty chair awaits Fitzpatrick

Posted: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 6:00 am | Updated: 5:04 pm, Tue Oct 2, 2012.

1 comment

The Bucks County Coalition of Senior Communities began in May trying to schedule a candidate’s forum with Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick and Kathy Boockvar for October at Heritage Creek in Warwick.

Despite numerous emails and phone calls to his headquarters each week over these last several months, Fitzpatrick and his staff evaded a commitment to the forum.

Ms. Boockvar stands ready to participate, but the Coalition will not sponsor an “empty chair” debate. The offer to Fitzpatrick remains open.

Our nonpartisan organization has sponsored candidate meetings at the national, state and county levels since our beginning ten years ago. The Coalition has 17 55-plus active adult community members throughout Bucks County.

Dennis O’Leary, president

Bucks County Coalition of Senior Communities




Finally, Romney on Romneycare

Posted: Monday, October 1, 2012 6:00 am | Updated: 8:19 am, Mon Oct 1, 2012.

Associated Press 3 comments

It has been — what? — only nine months since the presidential campaign began with the caucuses and primaries and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney is beginning, timidly, to mention the comprehensive health care plan he enacted as governor of Massachusetts.

Rather than brag about “Romneycare,” as he had every right to do, he seemed intent on flushing it down the memory hole and giving only perfunctory answers in those rare instances where the press got to question him directly.

In 2010, tea party-backed candidate Sue Lowden’s promising challenge to Nevada senator and GOP leader Harry Reid came to an abrupt end when she suggested that patients could pay their doctors with chickens, as they did in the old days before government messed up health care.

There is an extreme wing of the Republican Party that is against any comprehensive, government-backed health insurance, and it is a wing that Romney has taken great care not to offend. And its members are easily offended.

This summer, the pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action ran a nasty and somewhat misleading ad that none too subtly suggested Romney was responsible for the death of a woman whose husband had lost his insurance when he was laid off after a Bain Capital takeover of his steel company.

Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul shot back, denouncing the ad and saying if the subjects of the ad had lived in Massachusetts “under Gov. Romney’s health care plan, they would have had health care.”

To those untutored in the toxic politics of the far right, this response seems not only obvious but innocuous. But the commentators of the far right demanded Saul’s head and one blogger, according to the Boston Globe, said defense of Romney’s health care plan “could mark the day the Romney campaign died.”

You can sympathize with Romney for having to put up with this nonsense, but you can also fault him for not standing up to it.

Just before a rally in Toledo, Ohio, the candidate told NBC News: “Don’t forget — I got everybody in my state insured. One hundred percent of the kids in our state had health insurance. I don’t think there’s anything that shows more empathy and care about the people of this country than that kind of record.”

There’s that word “empathy” again, a quality Romney has conspicuously lacked and never more so than in that video in which he basically dismissed almost half the country as freeloaders not worth his time.

The Washington Post observed that during Romney’s Ohio swing there was “a concerted effort to show empathy for those struggling silently or visibly, as if his comment about the 47 percent has forced him to try to show compassion.”

It may be a little late in the game for Romney to begin displaying empathy and compassion, qualities that don’t come naturally to him, at least in public. But if he wants to have a chance at winning this election, he will ditch the far right and try.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.




Rigid rules: Mike’s many maxims

Posted: Thursday, October 4, 2012 5:00 am | Updated: 7:56 am, Thu Oct 4, 2012.


At his core, Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick is an earnest and honorable guy and a very hard worker. We know this to be true because, for one, he’s an Eagle Scout. We’ve also been following his political career for years, including innumerable face-to-face meetings — some collegial, others quite contentious.

Like all of us, Fitzpatrick has his good points and bad points. And among his faults is his guardedness. Ask him a question and you can see the wheels turning as he carefully chooses … just … the … right … words … so as not to go all Biden. Also, in our view, he’s a wee bit hypersensitive. ‘ v:shapes=”_x0000_i1025″>

This might explain the funny — if not a bit paranoid — rules he has dictated to community groups wishing to book him as a guest speaker: no media, no recording devices and no Kathy Boockvar — at least not in the same room at the same time.

Afraid of cooties, congressman?

We don’t mean to be flip, but Fitzpatrick’s rules of engagement hardly create an atmosphere conducive to open and informative communication. Who’s going to ask a tough question when the congressman has made it clear that he won’t put up with no stinkin’ funny business.

Fortunately, these rigid rules will not be in play when Fitzpatrick and Democrat Boockvar meet for three formal debates. That’s to the congressman’s credit. As he points out, he’s “the only candidate in Pennsylvania, Republican or Democrat, doing three debates this year.”

Incumbents agree to debates at their own risk. They already hold sway via name recognition and their campaign treasuries are bursting at the seams compared to most challengers. So debates are nothing but opportunity for challengers who get to share a stage with a well-known and often favored incumbent. The risk for incumbents is that they might lose a few points simply by elevating a lesser-known rival. Then there’s the Biden factor, which could come into play if the incumbent garbles the language, fudges the facts or in some other way comes off as a boneheaded dunce.

Making those risks all the more perilous is that the congressional race here, according to the so-called experts, could go either way. Bucks is a swing county and if President Obama does well here, Boockvar could ride his coattails to Washington. So considering the risks, Fitzpatrick deserves credit for taking the stage with Boockvar.

That said, we’d expect nothing less from a congressman who takes his responsibilities so seriously. And facilitating an informed electorate is as great a responsibility as any.

Along that line, we’re both disappointed and offended by a Fitzpatrick TV ad that compares Boockvar to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and criticizes her for supporting “cuts to Medicare” and “destroying jobs.” Pure fear-mongering and the kind of garbage we had hoped our congressman was above. Maybe he needs to write some rules for the truth-spinners and fact-fudgers who produce political hit pieces. Rule No. 1: Tell the truth.

© 2012 phillyburbs.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Congressman shies from the hard choices we face

Posted: Thursday, October 4, 2012 5:00 pm | Updated: 5:41 pm, Thu Oct 4, 2012.


Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick’s Sept. 6 Guest Opinion contains some inaccuracies. Fitzpatrick says, “The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office in a May 2012 report expressed concerns that immediate tax increases would represent an added drag on the weak economic expansion.”

Fitzpatrick left out key phrases from that CBO report, so let’s quote the sentence Fitzpatrick refers to: “In addition, and particularly important given the current state of the economy, immediate spending cuts or tax increases would represent an added drag on the weak economic expansion.” (“Economic Effects of Reducing the Fiscal Restraint That Is Scheduled to Occur in 2013,” CBO, May 2012.)

Fitzpatrick suggests that the CBO is only concerned about immediate tax increases, but the report also mentions “immediate spending cuts” as a potential problem. Republicans constantly advocate spending cuts, so naturally they’re unwilling to cite evidence that “immediate spending cuts … would represent an added drag on the weak economic expansion.”

Consider the two sentences that precede the one Fitzpatrick cited: “Policymakers face difficult trade-offs in deciding how quickly to implement policies to reduce budget deficits. On the one hand, cutting spending or increasing taxes slowly would lead to a greater accumulation of government debt and might raise doubts about whether longer-term deficit reduction would ultimately take effect. On the other hand, implementing spending cuts or tax increases abruptly would give families, businesses, and state and local governments little time to plan and adjust.”

The CBO report presents the hard choices policymakers face in dealing with budget deficits and a slow economy. In the face of “difficult trade-offs,” political compromise is necessary. But Fitzpatrick’s party no longer believes in compromise. Moreover, Fitzpatrick signed Grover Norquist’s no-tax-increases-ever pledge. Anyone who signed that pledge checked his brain at the door and is unfit to serve in government.

Fitzpatrick also quotes a report from Ernst & Young that claims, “… higher marginal tax rates will result in a small economy, fewer jobs, less investment and lower wages.”

Fitzpatrick conveniently forgot to mention that the Ernst & Young report was done at the behest of conservative groups opposed to President Obama’s policies. These include the National Federation of Independent Businesses, a group that opposes the Affordable Care Act and has been the beneficiary of Karl Rove’s Crossroads PAC; the rabidly pro-Republican Chamber of Commerce, also opposed to the ACA; and the Independent Community Bankers of America, which lobbies against banking regulations.

A key Republican talking point is that cutting taxes always increases government revenue. For example, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Bush tax cuts “increased revenue because of the vibrancy of these tax cuts in the economy.” Sen. Jeff Sessions, Republican from Alabama, said, “The revenue went up every single year after those tax cuts were put in.”

Those are more untruths from the Republican Party’s bottomless pit of falsehoods, fabrications, deceptions, con jobs, and dissimulations. Bruce Bartlett is a former adviser to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and he also served on the staffs of Reps. Ron Paul and Jack Kemp. Here’s what Bartlett said about the Bush tax cuts in a New York Times op-ed (http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/26/are-the-bush-tax-cuts-the-root-of-our-fiscal-problem/):

“Federal revenue fell in 2001 from 2000, again in 2002 from 2001 and again in 2003 from 2002. Revenue did not get back to its 2000 level until 2005. More important, revenue as a share of GDP was lower every year of the Bush presidency than it was in 2000.”

Bartlett also wrote, “It would have been one thing if the Bush tax cuts had at least bought the country a higher rate of economic growth, even temporarily. They did not. Real GDP growth peaked at just 3.6 percent in 2004 before fading rapidly. Even before the crisis hit, real GDP was growing less than 2 percent a year.”

Finally, Fitzpatrick writes, “With the Supreme Court upholding the Affordable Care Act as a tax on middle income families …” That’s inaccurate. The Supreme Court held that the fine imposed by the individual mandate (a Republican idea) amounts to a tax. Most people purchase insurance through their employers, and others will buy through new insurance exchanges, so few will pay the fine. Fitzpatrick’s statement, in my view, is misleading.

Richard Dalglish, Lower Makefield, is a freelance editor and writer.


The Catholic vote: Honor our nation’s highest ideals

Posted: Friday, October 5, 2012 6:00 am | Updated: 11:29 pm, Thu Oct 4, 2012.

By PATRICK MURPHY 8 comments

Long before I became the first Iraq war veteran elected to Congress, I learned something about hard knocks as a security guard during Eagles games in rowdy Veterans Stadium. Our nation’s stark political divisions and bruising ideological battles sometimes make those days in the 700 level seem genteel. The election-year fight to win Catholic voters in Pennsylvania, Ohio and other coveted states on the electoral map is especially intense.

Catholic political debates have reached a boiling point. Bishops have accused the Obama administration of trampling on religious liberty because of contraception coverage requirements under a historic health care law despite the fact that churches are exempt and sensible accommodations have been made for church-related entities. Most Catholics are focused on jobs, affordable health care and a good education for their kids. Republican vice-presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan, a Catholic, has proposed draconian cuts to nutrition programs and other safety nets that protect vulnerable families. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops described his plan as “unjust and wrong.” More than 100 Catholic theologians and scholars at universities across the country have publicly urged Rep. Ryan to stop distorting Catholic social teaching to justify an economic vision that makes a mockery of Christian values.

While Catholics don’t vote as a bloc, we often tip the election. Every president who has won Catholics has carried the popular vote since 1972. The Catholic vote is tightly contested again this year. A recent poll of white Catholics in Pennsylvania and other battleground states, commissioned by the Washington-based organization Faith in Public Life Action Fund, found that while Mitt Romney leads President Obama by 8 percentage points, 12 percent remain up for grabs and church-attending independent Catholic voters are especially turned off by messages about a Romney-Ryan plan that will gut vital programs like food stamps and Medicare. (President Obama lost white Catholics in 2008 but won the overall Catholic vote.)

Catholic teaching about the sanctity of life, the dignity of immigrants, economic justice and a positive role for government presents challenges to both parties. But as a faithful Catholic and a Democrat, I’m proud that my party is standing up for the working poor and the middle class. Many Republicans want to coddle the rich with more tax breaks and balance budgets on the backs of our most vulnerable. I’m proud that my party is committed to creating a more humane immigration system while Republicans demonize immigrants and reject sensible pathways to citizenship for those who aspire to live the American dream.

Presidents of both parties have tried unsuccessfully to pass health care reform over the past 50 years. It was President Obama who succeeded. Insurance companies will no longer be able to kick you to the curb if you have a pre-existing illness. Millions of Americans who were an injury or illness away from bankruptcy will now have greater security. Women who do have unintended pregnancies can now rest assured that they will receive pre-natal and post-natal care.

The Catholic priests, nuns and justice leaders who taught me for 16 years still inspire me to live a life of public service that is rooted in the essence of our faith — a faith building community, not making an idol of unregulated capitalism. In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus says that we will be judged by whether we feed the hungry, clothe the naked and care for the sick. These words have real implications for how we shape public policies. Our budgets reflect moral choices and tell us what we value as a nation.

I’m grateful to those Catholic sisters who recently took a nine-state bus tour highlighting social service agencies that would be threatened by the Romney-Ryan plan to slash government spending on effective programs that protect the poor and grow the middle class. These heroic women remind us that we must reject the false choice between fiscal prudence or helping those on the margins. We need to do both responsibly. There is nothing courageous, Christian or American about economic policies that knowingly hurt hungry children, pregnant women and our elderly.

Voters face a stark choice in November. We can return to the failed policies of deregulating Wall Street, handing out tax breaks for the rich and making the sick fend for themselves. Or we can honor our nation’s highest ideals by building a fair economy and a health care system that works for all Americans, not simply the privileged few.

Patrick Murphy is former Bucks County congressmane from 2007 to 2011. He is partner at the law firm Fox Rothschild and an active parishioner of St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Bristol.


Think before voting

Posted: Friday, October 5, 2012 6:00 am | Updated: 10:05 am, Thu Oct 4, 2012.


The polls and those who interpret them are showing a swing toward the Democratic candidates as some information on Mr. Romney’s own taxes and his impressions of those of us who have income from work or from Social Security rather than from investments have become known. But it’s still a close race.

Also, many independent voters are, according to polls, still making up their minds. Literally hundreds of millions of dollars in attack ads will come their way. Again, polls show they work. An image of a person caught in a moment of doubt or anguish, and that accusing voice track — the TV and radio stations, and probably this newspaper, will make some money running them.

I want to ask people to consider the source. Super PACs associated with Romney have out-raised Obama’s 4-1. Many of Romney’s supporters, who incidentally also support Fitzpatrick, are evidently not cash-strapped in the least. They’re enjoying their huge tax breaks and want more, so much so that they are willing to invest millions to get back billions.

But someone has to pay for it all. That someone is you and me — those of us who work for a living, and who have all along. I urge everyone to think it through and vote for yourselves, not for those who already have way more than enough, no matter how many Bibles they stand on or how many flags they drape over their own shoulders.

Also, please understand that a Romney/Ryan/Fitzpatrick administration WILL put judges on the Supreme Court who WILL overturn Roe v. Wade and environmental and consumer protections. They WILL put us in the same column as Iran, Syria, and other despotic states, and out of the column with Germany, Canada, and other democracies, when it comes to women’s rights.

Paul Simons





Spreading the wealth: Standard procedure

Posted: Friday, October 5, 2012 6:00 am | Updated: 11:50 am, Fri Oct 5, 2012.


My wife and I recently returned from a vacation out west. During our time in Seattle we visited the Ballard Locks, now called the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks. The locks were constructed in 1914 and are part of the Lake Washington Ship Canal, built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, to facilitate the travel of boats and ships between Lake Washington, Lake Union and Puget Sound. Federal taxes were used to build these locks.

Today the locks are managed by the Army Corps of Engineers. Approximately 300 ships a day are transferred through the locks. Some of them are luxury yachts. One item of interest to me in this election year is that the fee is zero for these ships to travel the locks. The owners pay absolutely nothing to use the locks built with federal tax dollars and operated to this day with federal tax dollars.

Also while away, I heard that $5 billion in tax dollars were used to enhance the levees around New Orleans to keep flood waters away from the city during a hurricane.

These two items made me think about Mitt Romney’s 47 percent comments. He stated, “All right, there are 47 percent who are with him (Obama), who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it — that that’s an entitlement… I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

Come on, Mitt, you need to go see the Ballard Locks in Seattle or the levees protecting New Orleans. These were constructed with taxes redistributed from all taxpayers to help those in need and some not so in need. All of us, rich and poor, benefit from the use of tax dollars. It is not just poor people on welfare. When sewers and water lines are built with public money, you could say they benefit developers. When roads are built, the expenditure of that tax money benefits us all.

I know a number of Republicans who receive Social Security and Medicare. That puts them in the 47 percent. I agree with the right of people to make large sums of money and I empathize with those that do not have the resources to make ends meet. I disdain comments from Romney or any other candidate who pits one group against another. I hope others feel the same.

Tom Kearns




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