Listen to them whine in Washington about the “cuts” from sequestration. The vast majority of citizens have no idea that the “cuts” are not cuts at all, but decreases in planned increases in spending.
At the end of the 10 years we will increase our national debt by at least $7 trillion and spend nearly $1 trillion more than we take in in each of those next 10 years.
Our president says that because of sequestration, we will not be able to fund the defense of our nation. Then, amazingly, just days later, we get leaked news stories saying that aircraft carriers cannot be refueled because of sequestration. Days after that, the Army starts leaking stories about not having the money to train and equip troops.
The media rush to put out the aircraft carrier story, but not one reports how much it costs to refuel an aircraft carrier. My research suggests that it would cost about $24 million to buy the 4 million gallons of fuel the carrier USS Kitty Hawk, for instance, can carry.
That compares with an annual defense budget of $683.7 billion. So, fueling the carrier is the equivalent of your spending $1.75 if you make $50,000 per year. I think we can afford it.
Next, we see the president on TV using police officers and firefighters as props to warn that public safety will be at risk if these Draconian “cuts” are implemented. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood spent one weekend saying that 100 airport control towers will be closed and flights will be delayed by 90 minutes because of sequestration.
These “stories” are designed to deceive, not inform. None of these things needs to happen because we pay plenty of taxes to fuel our aircraft carriers, equip our troops and fund our government. They will happen only if our elected officials turn on the people by refusing to live within their means.
The president is acting like a local school board that cuts sports and busing whenever citizens will not pass a levy. How can we respect, or, more important, support a government that intentionally misuses words and numbers to deceive us, intimidate us and scare us into supporting unnecessary taxes and spending that are harmful to us personally and to our nation?
The answer is that we cannot; we must instead force our current representatives, through phone calls, emails and personal visits, to implement sequestration.
Portage County TEA Party
Research causes of gun violence
In the 1990s, the National Rifle Association persuaded Congress to eliminate $2.6 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s research budget — the exact amount spent the previous year to research causes and preventions of gun violence at the CDC’s National Center for Injury and Violence Prevention and Control.
In snuffing out the use of science to gain insight into causes of gun violence, the NRA argued guns do not pose a “health” problem. Evidently, death is no longer the ultimate measure of a poor health outcome.
The legislation further asserted no funds for injury prevention research at the CDC “may be used to advocate or promote gun control.”
Trashing science as a legitimate tool to inform public policy debate has gained great coinage in recent decades.
That’s too bad, because research might illuminate many gun violence causations, such as shedding light on the influence of violent video games, a subject so vexing to the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre.
But America’s hard-core, cave-dwelling knuckle-draggers place no stock in the fruits of research, even though it propelled us to the moon and back (unless you believe that, too, was a sinister government hoax). I find nothing in the Second Amendment that forbids scientific inquiry, and I find it astonishing this should even be considered. Research doesn’t make policy — legislators do.
For a nation so self-congratulatory about our exceptionalism ,why do we harbor such paranoia? Many will not embark on a stroll downtown without packing heat. We are deluded to an exceptional degree, yet fear discovering the sources of, and solutions to, our hysteria.
William Van Nostran
Appalling neglect of public transit
The Beacon Journal recently commiserated with school districts because funding for school buses in the governor’s two-year budget proposal is flat, at $442 million, despite sharply rising fuel prices and requirements to deliver students to increasing numbers of charter schools that are spread all over the map (“Schools absorb extra costs as transportation aid stalls,” Feb. 25).
Akron-area citizens may be even more appalled to learn that Ohio’s 62 public transit systems got flat-funded at $30 million a year in state funding (roughly one-fifteenth of the level for school transportation) and that Ohio is 47th in the nation for its commitment to public transit, despite being the seventh most populous state.
Ohioans for Transportation Choice, a group that includes Policy Matters Ohio, is calling on state legislators for $75 million to be put in a Transportation Choice fund, or 2 percent of the state transportation budget, to better invest in public transit as well as infrastructure investments to complete our streets to make them more walkable and bikeable.
The Akron school district should consider contracting with the Akron Regional Transit Authority, which can transport kids more efficiently.
Both should work together to demand better funding for getting children, the elderly, persons with disabilities, low-income families, college kids, young professionals and others to where they need to go in a safe, convenient, affordable, reliable, accessible and environmentally friendly manner.
Policy Matters Ohio
The draw of Internet cafes
I read your editorial on the effect of Internet cafes on casinos in Ohio (“Uneasy money,” Jan. 23).
Internet cafes are regulated by Summit County. You talk about criminal matters, but in the years I have gone to Internet cafes, I have never seen any criminal matters.
Come to one of them in Summit County and see how friendly they are. Everyone knows everyone, you get free meals, and it doesn’t cost you a fortune to play.
At the most, I may spend $10 to $20, and they always give you a match. The games are fun.
I can go home anytime I want. I don’t have to battle busy traffic to downtown Cleveland and park in a garage a few blocks away that charges $24 unless you meet the casino’s requirements. I can park within feet of the cafe, get back in my car and go home.
I went to Cleveland three times, spent much more money, went through all the hassles, including long lines, and saw the outrageous price of food. Why would I want to ever do that again?
I won’t; it isn’t worth it. For some reason, our government has this thing against the local, neighborhood Internet cafes, and I can’t figure out why.
Leave us alone so we can have a good time without spending a lot of money. Let us have fun in an informal, relaxed setting, and let us have our entertainment.
If all these Internet cafes are closed, people will just stay home instead of having communication with other people. Where will they go? Nowhere.
I am not a big gambler. Forget the casino in Cleveland. That’s the worst choice that could have been made.
Deal with the debt
Another crisis is being made by the White House. Bob Woodward, a liberal, reported that the White House created the sequester, and President Obama was in agreement.
Why now is the president against the sequester? In November, he promised to veto any effort to roll back the sequester.
The president keeps going out, making speechs. He has the media helping him to overturn what he originally wanted.
We will not be cutting if the sequester goes into effect, we will just be decreasing additional spending. We have got to stop all the spending, or we will end up like Rome.
It is time to make both parties work within budgets and quit spending money our country has to borrow. We are $16.6 trillion in debt. How can any nation survive this kind of debt?
If you don’t think you need to pay attention to what is going on with the government, then you need to wake up. I just received my water and sewer bill, and the city has raised the EPA-mandated portion of my bill again, from $46 to $81.50.
At the very least, it ought to give me a McDonald’s gift certificate. My actual bill for water and sewer is $46.66. Perhaps the EPA would be happy if we did not use water and sewer.