For all the talk about pros and cons, the writer of the Feb. 7 letter “Be fiscally responsible” has nothing pro-progressive to say. His argument about massive debt is trite and inaccurate. The reality of the U.S. deficit is that it is coming down and is in line with historical levels. In fact, it is less, as a percentage of the gross domestic product, than under President Ronald Reagan.
Also, anyone familiar with normal accounting should realize that there are two possible causes for deficits and debts. One is spending, and the other is low income or revenue. Both factors combine to produce debt, it is not just spending.
Go back to when Reagan and President George H.W. Bush more than tripled our debt, and you will find it was caused by tax cuts and increased military spending.
President George W. Bush repeated this formula, with his tax cuts and the two wars that he did not pay for (fiscal responsibility?) again doubling the debt.
Dick Cheney said about the debt that “Ronald Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter.” By the time these conservative Republicans were done, they had added almost $10 trillion to our debt, and they did it with tax cuts and out-of-control military spending, not with progressive spending programs.
I take issue with the writer’s claim that progressives never prioritize. I do have priorities. They include cutting military spending in half, repealing the Republican tax cuts, spending for a serious jobs program to reduce unemployment, passing a carbon tax to curb our carbon dioxide output, reinstating a financial transactions tax, cutting the subsidies to fossil-fuel companies, increasing the funding for education beyond high school, and instead of bailing out Wall Street spending money to bail out Main Street and put people back to work.
Those are just some of my priorities. So, you see, progressives do prioritize; it’s just that our priorities are different than those of the letter writer. It seems that conservative priorities run on the theme of comforting the comfortable and afflicting the afflicted. Progressives would do the opposite.
Charles Chlysta III
Religious duty to erase racism
Now that it is Black History Month, we cannot forget about the cruel racism and slavery that had resided in our world once. As a Muslim American, I find interesting Islam’s teachings in relation to racial equality. The Holy Prophet of Islam once stated that “a white has no superiority over a black, just as a black has no superiority over a white.”
From our American history, we find that Malcolm X stated: “America needs to understand Islam, because this is the one religion that erases from its society the race problem.”
This statement is supported by the teachings of the Holy Quran, which states that the most honorable is judged by one’s righteousness, not by race (49:14). In fact, the Quran celebrates different races when it states, “And among his signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the diversity of your tongues and colors” (30:23).
We have come a long way, but racism in our country, not only toward blacks but also other races, can’t be shrugged off.
If we can come together and use the principles of racial equality taught by Islam, and most religions for that matter, some of the remaining challenges faced today can be tackled.
Member, Muslim Writers Guild of America
Reward for hard work
The recent article about the Cuyahoga Falls school district reviewing its field-trip policy brought back many memories (“Student trips are touchy subject,” Feb. 12).
The 150-piece Kenmore High School marching band of my youth went to Disney World to march in its afternoon parade. We spent a year selling candy bars and raffle tickets to earn our way to Florida.
We were supported by a fabulous group of energetic parents who made sure that everyone had the opportunity to raise enough money to go on the trip. And we all went with what I believe was a greater appreciation of the trip than if someone had merely handed over the funds so we could go.
Thanks to those many parents who organized the fundraisers and to the many people who bought and ate more candy bars than they should have. The T-shirt from that trip is a square on my T-shirt quilt that has kept me warm all winter. I thank them for teaching me that hard work will take you places.
At the games, in Oslo
I had the privilege of attending the sixth Winter Olympics in Oslo, Norway, in 1952. An Army buddy, Odde Bakke, invited me to travel to his hometown of Oslo.
My investment of $125 turned into an amazing bargain. The Army gave me a card to cover train fare, hotel accommodations and entry into all events. I watched ski jumping, hockey, speed skating, bobsledding, slalom events and women’s figure skating every day.
I met many neat stars and people from many countries. As I read about the Sochi Olympics, I remember how the Soviets in 1952 were belligerent and delayed decisions so long that they were not able to participate in the Winter Olympics.
Harold W. Rowland
A letter writer on Feb. 3 (“Good decision on food stamps”) said tightening work requirements will get people off welfare and turbocharge the Ohio economy. I doubt it. This is like saying buying $10 worth of lotto tickets will make you a $300 million. If you buy this pitch, you also will buy the statement that under the Affordable Care Act, you can keep your current insurance.
John D. Ambrose