Re: RiShawn Biddle’s Golden Apples:
As a libertarian, I fully understand and appreciate Mr. Biddle’s anger with the unions and teacher’s compensation, but his anger is poorly aimed and is contrary to a fundamental economic principle: self-interests.
Mr. Biddle either forgets that self-interest is a universal principle or he does not take into consideration the very basic idea that unions’ self interest lies in representing their members. The teachers unions have a primary fiduciary and ethical obligation to represent their members’ interests, including economic interests; teacher’s unions do not represent the interests of the state or any other parties. As a union paying teacher (of this I have no choice: New York is not a right to work state), I want, need and demand that my union fairly bargains for the greatest compensation it can for me. This is true for the unions that represent the police and firefighters, as well any other union. Having a powerful union is in my self-interest and the union serving me well is in its best interest. This is a fundamental principle of rational relationships. So, if the unions are operating to achieve solid Randian/Objectivist (i.e., self-interested) goals, and that these goals are accepted as principled goals by both Libertarians and economic conservatives alike, where lies the responsibility for the fiscal malfeasance and/or incompetence?
The responsibility lies with our elected officials. Representatives are elected to serve the public; the profligate spending against which Mr. Biddle so rightly rails serves no one but the self-serving curs who suckle at the public teat. The responsibility for this punishing and unsustainable spending lies with those who control the purse strings. Mr. Biddle’s barbs are better aimed at these local and state politicians; they are not acting in the best interests of their constituents. Corruption has deep and historical roots, but this does not excuse the shirking of their responsibility to their offices or the people. Not all local, state and federal officials are unethical or spineless, but too few stand up to unions. If the reasons politicians cave to unreasonable union demands be cowardice, avarice or other, it matters not. The officials are not carrying out their duties; their actions are either unprincipled or unethical. As voters we can let these officials know that the fault lies not in the unions but in themselves. We are to vote them out or the ultimate responsibility lies with us; still the crushing debt lies in waiting for future generations. If we leave such a legacy, how will the future judge us?
I don’t trust the government for much, but I do trust they will spend money without responsibility or principle.
— Ira M. Kessel
Rochester, New York
The simple answer is pensions must be funded annually and responsibly managed, the culprit is not the teacher, or, the union, it is the state elected officials who “stole” from teachers by under funding pension systems.
Health/welfare benefits for retirees are a similar issue … after 20 or 20 or 40 years of service the teacher receives retiree medical benefits, the burden for the employer is greatly reduced after the member is eligible for Medicare.
To reward mismanagement by reducing benefits is unthinkable.
— Peter Goodman
OBAMA THE GREAT
Re: Philip Klein’s Panetta the Spy:
Put on your Alexander the Great thinking cap to understand Obama. Instead of arrows in Obama’s quiver, you will find words (as most lawyers believe) contain his real sense of power.
Panetta may be able to create and maintain a breathing, operational structure within the CIA. However, if what you want are true creative energies being applied to the intelligence needs of America, perhaps Obama should have looked elsewhere. Time will tell, especially if we suffer a crisis where the CIA is deeply needed to act and respond.
Pay attention to those who screw things up for Obama. See how fast and when they get kicked under the bus. Action speaks much louder than words. Isn’t that what your Mother taught you?
Leadership, like diamonds, has many facets. Great leadership always highlights such. Obama thinks he is great. So did Alexander.
Unfortunately for those of us still living, we will only understand this declamatory vison as we live…or die, through the Obama presidency.
That’s why prayer will become even more popular.
Perhaps we should begin our prayers for Panetta sooner rather than later, so to speak!
— R. Philips
Corrales, New Mexico
Re: Doug Bandow’s Is God a Socialist?:
Well said, Mr. Bandow. At least you ask the right question. The Church (include them all) enjoys tax-exempt status. This does two things: it insulates and it biases. It insulates from the problems that corporations face, including paying the freight for their conduct, and it biases them in favor of those who indiscriminately “need.” Although I believe that churches and their leaders are largely socialistic, I don’t see that much can be done about it. As I told a particularly lefty priest: I come to Mass for the Transubstantiation, not political edification. It seems to me that liberal clerics and liberal politicians share an aversion to things ten: the politician doesn’t believe in the Tenth Amendment; the cleric has no truck with the Tenth Commandment.
RATIONAL, ALL TOO RATIONAL
Re: Alex J. Pollock’s Improving the Financial System for the Next Cycle:
Pollock’s proposals are so rational they have no chance of adoption in today’s political “Twilight Zone.” Fortunately, recommendation 6, “Study Financial History” requires no government mandate for the rest of us. One is tempted to doubt the current wizards of smart in government would stir themselves to such exertion if such a mandate existed.
I couldn’t help but note the following passage regarding loss reserves: “Unfortunately, in this country the SEC went in just the opposite direction from what the Spanish regulators did. It actively opposed building large loan loss reserves, because it regarded them as undesirable “earnings management,” which would understate profits in good times, while providing a cushion for bad years. The result was to overstate profits in the bubble and to have insufficient cushion in the bust.” It is unavoidably true that the accumulation of prudent loss reserves disappoints the taxing authorities, which the cynic in me finds a more sincere explanation of SEC policy than any notions of regulatory purity.
— Bud Hammons
Re: Readers’ letters under “Quin’s Lament” in Reader Mail’s Abandon Ship:
There is no surprise that as socialists have taken over the U.S. Government, all of the Marxist Socialist Media (MSM) such as the New York Times, the L.A. Times, the Washington Post, all newspapers in small cities that have imposed a communist socialist persona on all of the news, are going broke. Traditional Americans have put up with this excrement for too many years, and are now dumping their subscriptions to all of this media as fast as they can. Moreover, Marxists, many of whom do not have any employment, as well as Marxists at Universities and in Government must now view their jobs with heightened awareness, as we working people are going to see that they all go bankrupt. In contrast to Obama’s inclination, we want to fire all the incompetents, we want people who pay no taxes and who Obama would provide with welfare checks, to now have to pay taxes, whereas those of us who have been paying taxes should get a reduction. WE are not going to stand for this brainless moron’s prescriptions for the U.S. Let him try and he will soon be laughed off of the stage from the entire world.
— Patricia A. Helvenston, Ph.D.
TASTE OF THEIR OWN MEDICINE
Re: Ralph R. Reiland’s The Times‘ Gas Pains:
It’s time to impose a progressive tax on those who tax others. Make it a weekly tax, with a 3-minute a.m. filing window.
— David Govett
JEFFREY LORD AS POLITICAL ANTIDEPRESSANT
Re: Jeffrey Lord’s The Importance of Jack Kemp:
Still suffering from severe political depression since November, I have focused on work and family and consciously avoided all things MSM and most things alternative, such as TAS, NRO, and even regular visits to Drudge. However, each week I find it possible to take a short foray into these once familiar sites and once again I feel the need to say “Don’t let Jeffrey Lord get away.” Great stuff, ALL the time. Thank you Mr. Lord for another enjoyable read in regard to Jack Kemp. May God bless him and hear our prayers for him and our country.
— Roger Ross
I think Reagan made a big mistake when he didn’t put Jack Kemp on the ticket.
— Charlie Pitale
Re: Peter Hannaford’s Henny Penny Post-Poland:
Regarding Peter Hannaford’s article, he says that the National Climate Data Center now admits that “2008 will turn out to be our coldest year since 1997.” However, looking at their website, I read the following in their report on 2008:
“The year 2008 is on track to be one of the ten warmest years on record for the globe, based on the combined average of worldwide land and ocean surface temperatures, according to a preliminary analysis by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. For November alone, the month is fourth warmest all-time globally, for the combined land and ocean surface temperature. The early assessment is based on records dating back to 1880.”
So, where do they say what Mr Hannaford (and some others, I believe) is attributing to them? Don’t get me wrong, I’m inclined to believe that 2008 has indeed been a colder year. But where does the NCDC admit this?
— Peter Kenny
Editor’s note: Mr. Kenny might consult this USA Today report from January 8, which begins: “The USA’s 2008 annual temperature of 53 degrees was the coolest since 1997, federal climate scientists announced Thursday.”
THANKS FOR NOTHING
Condoleezza says we’ll thank Bush? OK, thanks for:
— J. Andrew Smith
Bloomfield, New Jersey
REGARDING THE CHILDREN
Some children are cherished,
Some used as shields.
These are the realities
Do we blame the defenders
Who fight for their young
And champion the militants
Who safeguard no one?
Let reason prevail
Put emotions aside.
In whom do the hopes
Of the children reside?
— Mimi Evans Winship