Letters to the editor
Share with others:
The supercommittee's failure will hit home
Regarding "Debt Panel Hits 'Discouraging' Impasse" (Nov. 22):
The failure of the "supercommittee" to agree on budget cuts and revenues to deal with our crushing national debt should worry every American who cares about our national and economic security.
Our company, RTI International Metals Inc., manufactures titanium for the new Joint Strike Fighter. But if Congress imposes a trillion dollars in new defense cuts, the Department of Defense says that program will likely end, along with dozens of others -- from satellites to drones to tankers to bombers.
Spending cuts in the wake of this collapse are expected to push national unemployment above 10 percent. This could include more than 35,000 jobs in Pennsylvania, where RTI is headquartered, and more than 18,000 in Ohio, where RTI has three plants. RTI also has a new plant in Virginia waiting to staff up, but until our company knows what's coming next from Washington, we cannot fill those jobs.
It is long past time for congressional leaders to stop blaming the "other side" and take action. Kicking the deficit reduction can down the street into the election year ahead is a dangerous strategy. Those of us running businesses can't wait until the next election to make decisions that will impact not only our customers, but also the lives of thousands of our employees and the shareholders who invest in our companies.
To preserve jobs and strengthen national security, we need Washington to take a stand and deliver the balanced approach to our budget problems it has promised.
DAWNE S. HICKTON
Vice Chair, President and Chief Executive Officer
RTI International Metals Inc.
Wall Street gaming
Regarding "Deficit Panel Divided on Who Pays" (Nov. 20):
The right combination of incentives and disincentives increases the chances of good behavior. Anyone who has ever parented a teenager knows this. But that's why Wall Street behavior is so disturbing.
Not so long ago, Wall Street's primary function was to raise money for enterprise -- so business could expand and grow. Now some economists estimate that 85 percent of what the Street does has nothing to do with productive investment. Instead Wall Street is at the center of a global casino where money is won or lost speculating on changes in the value of various currencies, bonds, traded commodities, etc. This casino is draining money away from productive uses because productive uses don't often pay off as handsomely or as quickly. Regardless of who wins in the casino, society is always the loser.
But, look, we already use taxes to reward investment. Now adding a healthy dose of fiscal punishment for speculation will tilt the gaming table back toward job-creating investments -- and raise trillions in revenue to boot. Not that this will come easy. Wall Street money on Capitol Hill buys lapdog loyalty. However, the prospect of members of Congress losing their pillowed perches may overcome Wall Street's buying power in this coming electoral season.
Pressure Congress to tax speculation now.
Toomey doesn't get it
What planet does Sen. Pat Toomey live on? He has the gall to propose a tax cut for the super rich! Does he not know everyone is fed up with the inequality of our life? Perhaps he does not know about the Occupy Wall Street movement. It is all across the USA and now in many other countries.
What do the 1 percent need ... another Rolls Royce, BMW or an island retreat? We have moved back to the robber-baron century instead of the 21st century. Enough!
Occupy takes hold
Those pundits and politicos who are declaring the Occupy Wall Street movement an aimless failure that has run its course are wrong. While tents can be cleared and people jailed, the inequities, ideas and drive for change that gave rise to the Occupy movement will not be so easily evicted.
In just two short months we have already seen a dramatic change in the national debate. Prior to the debt ceiling debacle, the 24-hour news cycle was awash with hand wringing over the national debt. Since that time, the focus of the country has shifted. The Occupy movement has changed the national discussion from the country's red ink to the monumental inequity in the distribution of wealth.
Occupy Wall Street and its regional counterparts have brought people together in far greater numbers and diversity than the tea party movement could even imagine. Millions of Americans are embracing a new identity as part of the 99 percent. Poll after poll is finding extraordinary majorities of Americans agreeing that the people who benefit most from our economic system should pay a greater share of what it costs to keep it viable. And the surveys show nearly everyone in America except the Republican members of Congress believe millionaires and billionaires should pay higher taxes.
Like the wind-born vessels of a dandelion gone to seed, the ideas and energy of the Occupy movement will continue to spread across America and the world taking root and flowering. In 2012, watch for the 99 percent to occupy Election Day.
Allegheny County Labor Council, AFL-CIO
Reg's mean streak
The PG's Reg Henry breaks me up. His photo and many of his columns portray a grandfatherly, fair-minded person who would likely treat with respect those whose opinions differ from his. But an unexpected, mean-spirited side sometimes surfaces. His column "Occupiers Get Reality Check, If They're Wise" (Nov. 16) is an example.
While comparing the occupiers' lack of success with the success of the tea party, he found it necessary to refer to the tea party members as "addled folks," "ridiculous" and "out of their mind." A bit over the top, to say the least.
So much for the benign, grandfatherly image. An updated photo would seem to be in order.
JOSEPH E. SCHMITT
A truth teller
When are inappropriate public remarks more than the truth? In Afghanistan when they are made by Maj. Gen. Peter Fuller ("U.S. General Fired After Comments on Afghans," Nov. 5), who accused the Afghan leadership of being "erratic, ungrateful and isolated from reality."
Finally we hear from a general officer who will not toe the party line just to get another star when he retires.
Our freedoms are not for just the well-dressed and well-spoken
Can someone please explain why citizens who peaceably assemble and exercise their right of free speech are not protected from arrest by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution? To wit: "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press or of the right of people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
The Constitution does not limit these rights only to those who are well-dressed, or who don't step on the grass, or whose speech is articulate and politically correct.
If our nation places a high value on freedom of speech and assembly, then we should create public spaces in our cities and universities where free speech and public assembly are encouraged and protected. Think of the Agora in ancient Athens, the Forum in ancient Rome and Speakers' Corner in London's Hyde Park today.
Our nation has an urgent need for safe venues of public discourse. We should protect the core values of our Western civilization.
We welcome your letters. Please include your name, address and phone number, and send to Letters to the Editor, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh 15222. E-mail letters to email@example.com or fax to 412-263-2014. Letters should be 250 words or less, original and exclusive to the Post-Gazette. All letters are subject to editing for length, clarity and accuracy and will be verified before being published.
First Published November 23, 2011 12:00 am