Much has been said about the “fiscal cliff;” but relatively little about its benefits. I don’t understand all the provisions, but from what I do understand, I hope there won’t be a compromise, and we go over that cliff.

Citizens have been enjoying the government benefits that they cannot afford. As a result, we have been passing those costs on to our posterity in the form of national debt. That is insane. People have been living high on the hog, so to speak, and not paying for the government they have.

One of the provisions of the cliff is that everyone (who now pays taxes) will have to start to pay more in taxes. Common sense should tell everyone that payment for the benefits will be necessary at some point. So why not start now?

For the past few years, the government has reduced the payments to Social Security compounding the problems for that system’s future. I don’t consider Social Security a government handout. We are required to make payments to the government for its “scheme” all our working lives. I knew that I would have been better off all that period if the government had not taken the roughly 15 percent of my income and I could have invested it privately.

Fifteen percent includes the 7.5 percent the employers pay that most workers normally don’t even see. I doubt that I will ever receive in payments from the government what I could have had if those payments to the government had been privately invested for my retirement. So we all lose again from what our large government has done for us.

The really good provision of the cliff is that the government will be forced to reduce its budget and size. Most people feel that there is now too much government. Do the majority of citizens really need a government so large — especially when they can’t afford the payments required to run it as it now exists?

No sane person wants to pay more taxes, but I would prefer paying more in taxes to operate a reduced size government as required by the fiscal cliff. That would save my children and grandchildren from continuing to pay for a government of a size no one really needs or wants.

So is going over the cliff really such a bad thing?

Jerry Mettler

Medina

Tragedy requires ?a response

It seems some people will use any excuse to criticize President Obama, some now accusing him of politicizing tragedy. Witness the letter in Voice of the People regarding gun control (“Playing politics with tragedy,” Dec. 19).

The writer was wrong when she said “we” shouldn’t change, that there is nothing wrong with us. There is much wrong with us, as well as much right with us — “us” being our society in general. She was right about the tragedy being the work of one young man who had problems. The excellent columns on the Commentary page that day spoke to both matters.

Anyone with any sense would know that there needs to be some kind of control regarding who should have guns and what kind of guns should be allowed. No civilian needs a high-capacity magazine for self-protection. And all gun owners need education about the use and care of guns, along with practice in marksmanship for when the use of a gun is really needed. Along with that, society needs to find a way to identify and help abused, troubled, disturbed and mentally ill youth before they become killers. They need help while they can still be helped.

I do hope the voices of some of the people will be heard and that our legislators, president and local officials will take note and do something before another tragedy happens.

Miriam Moore

Canal Fulton

No need for ?a carbon tax

While the economy limps along at anemic growth rates, the Beacon Journal editorial board thinks it’s a good time to saddle the country with a carbon tax (“Climate for change,” Dec. 11). Worse, the editorial makes silly statements about Hurricane Sandy and “intensifying storms” to support the call for yet another drag on growth.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website, Hurricane Sandy was a category 2 hurricane when it made landfall. Sandy didn’t even qualify as a “major” hurricane under NOAA’s classification system, in which category 3 or higher hurricanes are classified as “major.”

A quick review of the annual hurricane reports for the Atlantic, from 1992 through 2011, reveals no discernible uptick in major hurricanes over the 20 years. There were zero major hurricanes in 1994, and seven in 2005. In each of 2006, 2007 and 2009, there were two major hurricanes. In 2010, there were five major hurricanes, and three in 2011. Seven of the 20 years saw two or fewer major hurricanes.

Sandy caused great damage because of the concentration of people and property along the Eastern Seaboard. Thanks to perverse government insurance programs, the homes probably will be rebuilt in the same place so they can be damaged again when the next storm blows in. If the carbon-taxers want to push their anti-fossil fuel crusade, they ought to find a better example than Sandy.

Bob Icsman

Akron

Insurance for ?gun owners

One regulatory option not yet broadly discussed regarding guns is to require gun owners to buy insurance. Insurance is required for other risky activities. Force gun owners to be responsible with their wallet. There are multiple ways this could be implemented. This could be the perfect solution to the Second Amendment conundrum. Those who do not properly control their property (i.e. guns) should pay fines and higher insurance rates. There would be discounts for those who use gun safes.

The Republican Party should be for the proposal because it does not trample on the Second Amendment and it is pro-business (a new insurance industry). The Democrats should be for this since it achieves gun-control regulation and includes fees, fines, penalties and potential inspections.

Eric Tyson

Akron

Sweet profit

Is there anyone out there still steaming over the “bailout” of AIG, the insurance firm?

Well, this news should sooth their ire some. Beginning in 2008, the government purchased stock in AIG for a total of $182 billion and kept it from going bankrupt. On Dec. 11, the Treasury Department announced that it has sold its remaining 234.2 million shares for $32.50 per share, thus realizing a total profit of $22.7 billion.

How sweet it is.

Janet Daily

Doylestown

Power of guns

I was appalled to read that Gov. John Kasich would sign a bill allowing guns to be stored in cars in the Statehouse garage. I think it is part of a larger response to events such as the awful massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., with which I have a problem.

I don’t see what sense it makes to have more people having guns as a solution to the problem of killers who see their use of guns as easing their problems.

I think if we are going to do better on the issue of guns and rifles in this country, we need to start with as broad an acceptance as we can get of the truth about them. Guns and rifles are not made to cure bad breath, acne or the heartbreak of psoriasis. They are made to kill humans and animals.

Experienced hunters, sportsmen and law enforcement personnel well understand what guns and rifles do, and are quite careful in their use. But we need to face the fact there is a segment of the population that does not and cannot have the same healthy respect for the power of a gun or a rifle. These people have a dangerous devotion to automatic and semiautomatic weapons.

What we need to do is get better at finding who these people are and try to stop them from ever getting a gun or rifle in the first place. Preventing people from causing tragedy makes more sense than trying to set traps for them after the damage is done.

It also makes sense to explore what weapons the average person needs. Hunting rifles or handguns that are responsibly stored and maintained need not be banned. But automatic and semiautomatic weapons, together with high-round clips, need to get a very hard look.

Douglas McFarling

Ravenna

Fatal fumble

It’s tragic enough that Dallas Cowboy player Josh Brent killed his best friend driving in a drunken stupor, but what makes this doubly reprehensible is that he had been convicted before on a charge of DUI.

Fumbling in life isn’t just about missing a touchdown or losing a game. Brent had the benefit of a reminder when he was sent to jail on a previous occasion. He took a precious second chance and with deliberation, made it much worse, and that is where forgiving stops.

No more excuses. The only sound, in place of cheering crowds he should be hearing is the soul-less clanging of the closing iron alloy door that keeps him away from us inside a spartan little room.

Michael E. White

Orrville