David Kawiatkowski’s concern that reducing our defense budget significantly will “destroy between 1 million and l.5 million private sector jobs” and slow down our economic recovery is correct (“Our defense economy,” July 1).
But is the alternative any better for us? If defense contractors are asked to continue making vehicles and weapons of warfare, this will require the Defense Department to find a use for them. And, obviously, the only practical use is to start more wars abroad when the fighting in the Middle East comes to an end.
This is exactly what my uncle, a Marine Corps general, predicted following World War II, when Congress changed the name of the War Department to the Defense Department.
He said that if the department was not simply a means to defend our country in case of an invasion with the vehicles and weapons we had, and instead continued to contract to build more and more weapons of war, then we would get ourselves involved in more wars abroad.
As we all know, his prediction came true. First Korea, then Vietnam, then Kuwait, then Iraq, then Afghanistan, to name a few. And, as a Defense Department official recently said, he is now preparing for more wars in our future.
Yes, to stop contracting with defense contractors and significantly reduce the Defense Department budget would bring an end to many U.S. factory jobs and leave little or nothing for the federal employees of that department to do.
But why can’t we apply some innovation and transfer those federal employees to the State Department’s Peace Corps and suggest that defense contractors pay a visit to our U.S. Patent Office to find peacetime articles to make in their factories, providing jobs?
False definition of the bishops
For months, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has been pushing a false definition of “religious freedom” in an attempt to expand and strengthen government privileging of religion and impose religion onto secular laws. The worst part is, the bishops are doing it all under a smoke screen of religious persecution.
The so-called Fortnight for Freedom is simply another political campaign designed to chip away at the separation of religion and government. True religious freedom is the ability to practice your religion and hold your beliefs, as long as those beliefs do not infringe upon the rights of another to do the same.
What the bishops are asking for is the ability to impose their religious beliefs on others and discriminate based on their religion — often while accepting taxpayer funding.
The concept of the separation of religion and government was deemed so important and essential to our identity as a nation that it was included in our Constitution. That is because the separation of religion and government is the best guarantee of freedom for all Americans, both the religious as well as the 40 million Americans who do not identify with any religion.
Those who truly advocate for religious freedom should speak out and stand up in the fight to keep our government and laws secular, and encourage others to do the same.
Interesting how our electric utilities can pay for repair crews to restore power when (predictable) bad weather causes outages, but can’t find the money to bury their lines to keep the disruptions from happening in the first place (“Utilities not ready to prevent outages,” July 4).
I remember listening to a presentation by Akron designer F. Eugene Smith in 1979. He despised overhead power lines, calling them a blight on the landscape. Smith proposed to end the blight with a 50-year, shared-cost program to bury all overhead lines, including power, phone and cable.
If we had started then, we would be two-thirds of the way through the program, at a fraction of the current cost. And we would be having two-thirds fewer disruptions.
Unwise and unconstitutional
The Supreme Courts’ decision on health care could be called the largest tax increase in American history. “In our view, the act before us is invalid in its entirety,” wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy, who sided with the minority. “The federal government does not have the power to order people to buy health insurance.”
Two of the most constitutionalist justices are Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. They focused on the words of our Founding Fathers and voted against the health-care overhaul. Donning a black robe does not give one higher intelligence. Chief Justice John Roberts is not an expert on health care, and his clever interpretation was not a wise decision.
Judges are not given their positions because they are experts in political philosophy. What initially appeared as intelligent and shrewd is not constitutional. Roberts’ deciding vote was not as clever as many voters assume.
Replace with what, exactly?
The middle class keeps hearing how Mitt Romney and the Republican Party intend to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with something better.
If they have a better idea, they should put it in writing before the election in November.
They should promise to put their plan into effect the day the current program is repealed.
If they don’t follow through with the health-care program, then the voters should expect the resignations of all Republicans in office and the forfeiture of all benefits and pensions by the end of 2013.
Philip T. Cox