Letters to the editor
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The Midweek Perspectives piece by Wendell W. Young IV and Ronald C. Lenhart of United Food and Commercial Workers ("Don't Sell the State Stores," Feb. 13) leads to speculation on the future of private business in our state.
Assuming that a state-run business is a wonderful and profitable enterprise, beneficial to all, it would necessarily follow that we should embrace a future where all stores and factories are taken over by the state and staffed by Local 1776 and Local 23. Eventually, we all would be happy, working for a prosperous and profitable state.
Following the path of all taxes turned into state salaries and back to taxes while retaining value, boggles the mind.
Of course this concept is ridiculous, but not any more so than claiming our state stores as profit centers. Where is the difference in paying additional taxes directly to the state or being forced under penalty of arrest and fines to buy overpriced wine and liquor at our state stores?
With this mad dash toward socialism, would our wise union presidents offer a workable limit to state-owned enterprises or do they recommend going all the way?
EDWARD F. BROWN
Regarding Pennsylvania's antiquated Liquor Control Board and the commentary "Don't Sell the State Stores" (Feb. 13), I would call attention to Wendell Young and Ronald Lenhart that out of 50 states, Pennsylvania is one of only two (the other being Utah) that still has the state government controlling the selling and distribution of alcoholic beverages.
Using an old rule-of-thumb type of logic, these two states are either well ahead of the other 48 states in their wisdom, knowledge and infinite judgment as to how to handle the state's liquor distribution, or these two states are in the bottom 4 percent of the country's thinking on this matter.
Also, hosting a party and providing food, liquor/wine and beer requires driving to three different stores. Well, I guess this does help the state's income, given the considerable gasoline taxes we pay in this state.
Care for a public vote on this?
I am a foreman for the city of Pittsburgh Department of Public Works. I feel that our department has done a most excellent job of clearing the snow and ice from the city streets. I want all the residents to know that we take our jobs very seriously because as city employees we must live in the city of Pittsburgh.
Our families, children and grandchildren depend on school buses, public transportation and private vehicles that need to operate safely on Pittsburgh streets. I deeply resent criticism because we know that our families as well as the general public are depending on us to do our jobs well. And we're taxpayers just like other city residents.
What would be of immense help is if people would adhere to the speed laws and safe driving practices such as turning on lights when the weather is bad and completely cleaning snow and ice from vehicles.
It also would be useful if there were a law against people riding bicycles in snow and icy conditions on public streets. They are a major hazard to driving in any weather, but especially in bad weather.
MELANIE G. HALL
For the past few days the city salt truck drivers have been highly criticized for poor snow removal. I would like to say thank you to Lou, a city snowplow driver, who went above and beyond to help me on the South Side Slopes last Wednesday. I had myself in a situation, and without his help I might still be sitting there.
The story regarding the sledding accident ("Mother Casts Blame in Son's Death," Feb. 15) infuriated me. What a horrible and tragic accident, and I can't imagine the horror for the driver and the toddler's siblings and mother.
However, I have to say that the gall Jeanette Davis has, to go on record as blaming everyone under the sun for the child's death, is stunning. Unfortunately, Ms. Davis seems to find no flaw in allowing her children to sled ride down a front driveway into the street. More appalling is that she "posted her 12-year-old daughter down the road" to serve as a lookout. Why did Ms. Davis do this? Perhaps because she knew there was danger in what her children were doing?
While in many neighborhoods there are often consistent problems with cars speeding down neighborhood streets (which should be addressed), it is ultimately the parents' job to do the best they can to keep their children safe. Posting a child as a lookout doesn't cut it. Children get distracted, and even a car coming at 25 mph can be "fast" when meeting with a mostly uncontrollable sled.
LYNN M. WOSHNER
I would like to know how many times the word "judgment" became a household word since it was used in one of the debates by Barack Obama? Every time I turn on the TV, now all of a sudden, everyone has "judgment." You can have all the degrees in the world and 35 years' experience means nothing if you don't have common sense.
Hillary Clinton has demonstrated that she does not have common sense or "judgment" by voting for the war in Iraq and also the Kyl/Lieberman amendment.
The problem with Mrs. Clinton is that all her decisions and votes were based on the general election and it appears they were all in vain. The difference between Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama is that when she speaks, she lectures and dictates, and he is the poised professor who teaches and instructs.
Thank you, Paul Krugman, for pointing out the dangers of Nixonland, i.e., (in the words of Adlai Stevenson) the land "of slander ... of sly innuendo, of the poison pen ... of smash and grab and anything to win" ("Hate Springs Eternal," Feb. 13).
I began by admiring Barack Obama as a young and articulate man. Now, I am disgusted by the hopeless hype and hoopla of his campaign. I am not at all inspired by the cult-like chanting of platitudes that fill his campaign events.
I am most saddened by the obvious divisiveness of such behaviors, especially coming from a self-proclaimed uniter. We already have a uniter like that. We sure don't need more of the same, especially from Mr. Change.
I began by being ready to vote for any of the Democratic candidates. Now, I find it impossible to support him and his cult of personality.
The Democratic presidential contenders have been repeating the popular motto "soak the rich" and complaining about "tax cuts for the rich." Let's consider:
The top 1 percent (highest income) taxpayers pay 39 percent of all tax revenues; the top 5 percent pay 60 percent of all tax revenues. The lowest 50 percent pay 3 percent.
Who are the "top 5 percent"? They are the taxpayers who invest in companies, expanding companies, and who keep money in banks that invest. Investment of all types promotes jobs or, if they grow, more jobs.
If the government took all the income (100 percent) from the top 5 percent of earners, the funds would run the government for only about six weeks.
JAMES A. FISHER
There are many facets to our economy and currently two of them, home builders and mortgage companies, are in trouble due to their own mistakes. Home builders have overbuilt in both quantity and price. Mortgage lenders loaned money to people who had no credit or ability to repay the loans. They should both suffer for their stupid mistakes. It is the good old American way. There is no way our government should bail them out.
There are many other facets of our economy that are doing quite well. If you have any doubt about this, please look at the want ads in your paper. There are thousands and thousands of job openings not being filled due to a lack of qualified personnel.
The U.S. dollar has dropped in value to where it is currently worth about 60 percent of the euro. There is a positive effect from the current imbalance, namely, the United States is currently the low price provider of quality manufactured goods and services in the world.
Before retiring I owned three successful manufacturing and service companies. I stay in contact with old friends across the country and manufacturing is booming everywhere, and a large percentage of the work is for export. Please inform the writers of your business news section and give your business section readers a little good news for a change.
Thanks, and keep up the good work.
WARREN W. FITZPATRICK
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First Published February 20, 2008 12:00 am