After reading the Aug. 24 letter, “D is for disingenuous,” by Thomas G. Vignos, it is obvious he does not understand how our legislative process works or how our economic system works.

Does he not realize what the Democrats in Congress inherited from years of Republican control?

Under a Republican president and years of Republican control, a $236 billion budget surplus turned into an $11.9 trillion deficit because these so-called fiscal conservatives charged two wars, cut taxes twice and passed a Medicare prescription drug program on the nation’s credit card.

Neither does Vignos understand how a bill becomes law. It is Congress that passes bills to be signed into law by the president. Therefore, President Bush was equally responsible for the economic calamity for which Vignos claimed only Democrats are responsible, beginning in 2007.

Vignos does not acknowledge that on the night of the inauguration of President Obama, key Republicans in the House and Senate leadership conspired to obstruct every piece of legislation proposed by the president before they even had a chance to see it. Republicans were never going to work with the president to fix the economic, social and foreign policy incompetence during eight years of George W. Bush.

They decided to do this while our nation was prosecuting two wars and trying to resolve the worst economic catastrophe since the Great Depression. The president and Democrats in Congress passed the Recovery Act that stabilized the nation’s economy, and, according to the conservative economist Mark Zandi and the Congressional Budget Office, saved or created 3 million jobs.

The Dow went from 6,000 in 2008 to a present average of over 12,500. American companies are making record profits and sitting on over $3 trillion in cash.

Democrats saved the U.S. auto industry and millions of jobs nationwide, and thousands in Ohio, where one out of every eight jobs is connected to the auto industry.

Our nation has added 4.4 million private sector jobs for 29 consecutive months.

Ridiculous is what it is, and that is how you spell “Republican.”

Richard M. Thompson


Higher education, ?stronger democracy

When a democracy is so weakened by economic restraints that it accepts the idea that higher education is not for most people, its citizens begin a long slide into a deterioration of the rights granted by our Constitution to steer the course of that democracy.

Some elected officials have gained power through manipulating elections in spurious ways, and they will continue to maintain their status through the installation of like-minded legislators who, for example, have found ways to keep people from voting, never mind studies that show fraud is all but nonexistent.

An informed people will uncover this fiction and other fictions just as odious. It is through education that people become responsible members of society, regardless of what type of work they do.

It is through education we learn to share that responsibility.

It is through education that America will maintain a strong democracy.

It is through education that we maintain a strong middle class.

It is through education that we maintain the way we want to live.

If we are brought to the belief that a work force that serves the needs of corporations while ignoring the needs of a democracy is the way to happiness, then we must come to grips with the fact that, sooner or later, we will be disenfranchised from determining our own destinies.

Dare we take this path?

Questionable acts by some of our elected officials in lieu of responsible governing must be reported by an even more responsible, knowledgeable and diligent press, one that also speaks to the dangers of a limited education.

Resist the attempt to corner power by defunding education and then instilling the idea that less education is good for us and for our democracy. It isn’t so and never was so.

The pursuit of enlightenment is uniquely human, insist upon it — fight for it.

Diana H. Wayand


Of accomplishments and character

I am 50 years old and sometimes believe certain aspects of life are already starting to pass me by. After hearing of Neil Armstrong’s death, I expected a huge headline and portrait in Sunday’s Beacon Journal, one that could be saved, like the ones my mother still has from VE Day, JFK’s assassination and the moon landing.

I thought of some heroes from my youth — Alan Shepard, John Glenn, Gus Grissom, Neil Armstrong — heroic for accomplishments, character and modesty.

Every generation seeks its own passion, purpose and heroes, and engineer Armstrong was probably thrilled with all the technological advances mankind has achieved in 43 years since the moon landing.

But as the pace of life spirals forward, as it always does, ever more often I feel the need to pause and reflect, optimistic for the future but with a little longing for some of these giants from my youth and all the good they still represent. Godspeed Neil Armstrong.

Philip M. Reeves


Congress listened ?to the people

I am responding to the Aug. 22 letter, “Listen to the people,” by Betty Beaudry. I agree wholeheartedly, with one significant revision: “Listen to all the people.” That’s what our democracy is all about.

The Congress did exactly that on health care. It listened not only to those secure in their jobs and health insurance and those who have accumulated more money than they know what to do with. It also considered the less fortunate.

These include the jobless and parents who have money only for day-to-day expenses and cannot lend money to their children for college. Congress also considered the handicapped, the poor who have not the talent or ability to help themselves and seniors whose life savings are being depleted at a time when they need them most.

On the economy, it took eight years to get to this point, and it is going to take more years to take us back up to the way things were during the Clinton era. Those who think like Beaudry conveniently forget how the country arrived at this state of affairs. Do we really want this same party in the White House?

Mary Thornburg


Fraud in ?the parking lot

I think that many people who use the handicapped signs that hang from the rearview mirror in their cars do not really need them. It seems the signs have become some type of status symbol.

Perhaps those with the signs got them when a loved one passed away, or they had a problem at one time and received one from their doctor.

They apparently thought they would put the sign to good use to get close-in parking at stores and their favorite restaurants.

Every other car has a handicapped sign hanging from the mirror. I have a hard time believing there are that many handicapped people.

I stood outside a restaurant not long ago and watched the people parking in the handicapped parking spaces.

Some pulled the sign out of the glove box and hung it on the mirror, so you know they just use it to get a good parking space. Some were walking without a limp.

At that same time, I noticed an elderly couple holding on to each other and shuffling across the parking lot. I saw that all the handicapped parking was filled, at least 10 spaces.

It is sad to say that a lot of people these days have no shame.

The state needs to find a way to crack down on the fraud. There is a ton of money to be made by writing tickets for those who are committing fraud.

Get up and walk, people. Burn a calorie; it won’t hurt you.

Paul Salter


Editorial takes ?extreme view

We know from the Aug. 22 editorial, “Akin and his party,” that Akin is unequivocally opposed to abortion. It’s unfortunate that you have seized on this “window of opportunity” to label the views of those who sincerely believe (rightfully, I think) that abortion is wrong as “extreme,” as in the “extreme positions on abortion conservatives have staked out.”

You point out that Paul Ryan has sought to restrict taxpayer funding for abortion, except in cases of forcible rape. What a radical proposal!

Isn’t it sad that the other party unequivocally supports, say, abortion on demand after the heartbeat has been detected, or in the third trimester of pregnancy?

My heart goes out to those who are faced with these truly difficult circumstances, and to those babies who have no say in the matter.

I still believe that Americans are a fair, caring and moral people. It’s time for us to prayerfully consider the right answers to these life and death issues instead of engaging in name calling.

Joseph M. Clapp