Should we suspend the kicker?
Once again the Oregon kicker is poised to rebate taxes, in spite of the ongoing budget shortfalls due largely to Public Employees Retirement System costs. Rehashing how the PERS problem was created is entirely unhelpful, except as a guide to what not to do in future state funded benefits. We need to focus on what can be done instead of what cannot (e.g., breaking contracts).
One right-now option is an emergency suspension of the proposed kicker, and legislation to curb the ability to return an excess when a shortfall looms. Another right-now option that does not involve taxation is for the state to declare bankruptcy. As I understand the way bankruptcy laws work, Oregonians (the defaulters) would not be allowed to own the state again for a period of five years. I could be wrong, of course. It could be longer. Would the federal government take possession, or would there be an auction held? Who knows! At least we won't have to impose increased taxes on the barely taxed Oregon corporations.
High crimes and misdemeanors
"Because people have got to know whether or not their president is a crook. Well, I'm not a crook." So said President Richard Nixon on Nov. 17, 1973. Nixon ultimately resigned.
Article II of the United States Constitution states that "The president, vice president, and all civil officers of the United States shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors." The firing of FBI director James Comey is a brazenly criminal effort to obstruct an investigation. President Trump and Attorney General Sessions should resign or be impeached.
Jeff M. Phillips
The importance of public schools
Public schools are our nation's single biggest and most significant accomplishment. They have enabled Americans to come together and become the greatest industrialized nation on Earth. With education on our minds and in the news I read and hear all sorts of comments that hit all around the real issue. Comments such as "... we've thrown money at it...," "...the teachers are incompetent and not accountable...," and "...privatization is the answer ..." are common.
The bottom line is that people who care and encourage their children to do well, and even demand it, get results. This idea has been diminishing since the 1960s, when public perception of schools and teachers was evolving into the idea that if the kid doesn't do well it's the teacher's or the system's fault.
The basic truth is that parents who truly care and take an interest have kids who perform according to their ability. This way, schools offer a competitive environment that makes the parents of under-performing kids look for the reasons why, and for ways to help their kids. This is the foundation of upward mobility and the American dream. Paying teachers a professional wage is essential to creating this environment, and electing leaders who understand this is paramount to recovering our place in the world. There has never been a more important time to raise a generation that has the education and ability to find solutions and solve problems, because the world is in trouble!
Congress should live as we do
Let's have the people who are elected have the same benefits as the average middle-class American. That way they get to experience what true life is like: No above-average benefits, no exceptional health or retirement perks, no lobbying bennies and an average salary - $50,000 to $75,000. Let's see what they come up with in terms of health care and coverage for us, the middle class voters
My guess is that there would be no charge for emergency visits, maternity care would be covered, as well as male and female contraception. Should we throw in cancer, since one out of two people get cancer? How about the newborn baby who has a heart defect? Let the baby go, or give life? Are people so blind that they are not seeing what's going on? Please consider and respond.
Columnist wrong on climate change
Bret Stephen ("Excess of certitude," May 3) argues that since polls were wrong about Hillary Clinton, climate scientists may be wrong about climate. But there is no equivalence. Political polling doesn't pretend to be hard science.
The column confuses issues, muddies waters. Stephens does this deliberately - he has a long history of it. Readers deserve to know a little more about him. He calls himself a climate agnostic, but for years has been a climate denier. He has written that climate change is an "imaginary enemy" and compared it to a religion of "doomsaying prophecy and a faith in things unseen."
Why would The New York Times hire someone so ill-informed and dishonest? The Time's editorial page editor, James Bennet, has defended Stephens by saying that "to pretend ... the views of a thinker [sic] like Bret and the millions of people who agree with him ... should simply be ignored, that they're outside the bounds of reasonable debate, is really a dangerous form of delusion."
But Stephens doesn't care about reasoned debate. Worse, Bennet's exact same defense of Stephens can be used to hire columnists to promote racism or misogyny. Many, many millions of Americans would be happy to see such views lent legitimacy by The New York Times and other newspapers. Is climate denial, which threatens the entire biosphere, less reprehensible than anti-Semitism or hostility to Muslims? The Times has compromised its intellectual and ethical standards. The Register-Guard doesn't have to follow.
A brief history of Obamacare
House Republicans have managed to get rid of Obamacare, at least until the Senate intervenes. President Johnson passed Medicare and Medicaid in 1965. It did not include health care for the poor, however. Ever since then Congress, primarily Democrats, has tried to provide health care for our poorest people. It has been a tough road.
Beginning in 1970, there were more than 31 different attempts by Congress to provide the needed health care, and they all failed. Then, Barack Obama was elected and announced his intention of working with Congress on a program of health care for the poor. He had a slight majority in the Senate at the time and a substantial majority in the House.
The Senate committee passed a bill that, although not perfect, was pretty good. It was sent to the House, where three committees offered the needed improvements. Then, Sen. Ted Kennedy died, Sen. Al Franken's appointment was held up and Sen. Arlen Specter was still a Republican. The House could no longer modify the bill by so much as one word or the entire program could be filibustered. Republicans had previously sworn an oath to object to everything Obama tried to pass, even if it was one of their own ideas. Obama signed the bill "as is" and Republican have never forgiven him.
Now, 40,000 Americans who would never otherwise have health care are alive and working. The Republicans are still doing everything they can to take away their health care.
A duty to disobey
When a commander in chief or any superior officer gives an illegal military order, it is the sworn duty of those affected to disobey all illegal orders. Any past or present member of the military knows that. Citizens also have a duty to disobey illegal policies and executive orders. If one such order doesn't directly affect you, the next one will. When you find the courage to resist, do it peacefully - but do it loudly and in public.
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|Publication:||The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)|
|Article Type:||Letter to the editor|
|Date:||May 15, 2017|
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