To my eye, the letters to the editor in the Beacon Journal are filled with more than the usual amount of vitriol toward Republicans and conservative groups like the tea party. Yes, a lot of this is due to the fact that 2012 is a presidential year, but there’s more to it than just that.

There is a heightened awareness that the American welfare state, which has grown like Topsy, is in a crisis state and will be forced to significantly contract. Perhaps the ongoing drama in Europe is helping to bring the message home. But whatever the case, more people than ever are coming to realize that the U.S. economy cannot possible produce enough wealth to cover all the promises made by the various levels of government.

Examples abound. They include the out-of-line public-sector compensation and pension plans and the enormous, unfunded liabilities of federal programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

This reality has those who have grown dependent on government starting to come unhinged as they perceive a reduced welfare state is a threat to their lifestyle. It is also a clear and present danger to the Democratic Party, whose main reason for being is to use the muscle of government to redistribute the country’s wealth. Without question, the Democrats are the party of the public sector. The coalition of groups making up the party are devoted to more spending and larger government. But this is no longer feasible. The math does not allow it.

Policies like more taxes, increasing debt and inflationary money printing are reckless. They can only harm the private sector, which is the goose that lays the golden eggs upon which the entire economy ultimately depends. It can be expected that the shrillness of those affected will only increase as November approaches. They can vent their spleen all they want, but the hard reality that the welfare state has exceeded its limits of sustainability won’t change.

Peter Skurkiss


Out of control ?on the high court

Abraham Lincoln in an 1838 address, “The Perpetuation of our Political Institutions,” spoke of an enemy within: “At what point, then, is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us.”

The Supreme Court has lost its way. Democracy is next. Melodramatic? I think not. With its Citizens United decision and now its shocking reaffirmation of the status quo vote upholding Citizens United, this former august institution has audaciously promoted the growing feeling of powerlessness among its citizenry. Money gets you power if you have enough of it; power corrupts.

It is ludicrous that the highest court in our land would contend that corporations’ freedom of speech is violated when they are prohibited from making unlimited contributions to a political candidate. Just this week on MSNBC, former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland spoke about the millions being spent under the guise of Citizens United to thwart the re-election campaign of highly respected Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown.

That Justice Antonin Scalia made a reference to a New York Times article within his written opinion is beyond the pale — his deleterious wit notwithstanding. No matter what your political affiliation, speak out on this issue. Too busy? Too lazy? Well then, kiss your democracy goodbye.

Betty Zager


Grand trail

After five years of walking on the beautiful Towpath Trail from Harvard Road in Cleveland to Massillon, we were able this week to complete the full walk. This was made possible because the last two sections were recently completed. The section from the Spaghetti Warehouse to Summit Lake is a feat of sophisticated engineering, landscaping and planning. The section from Vanderhoof Road to Snyder Road in Barberton illustrates the beautiful nature in our area.

We should all be proud of the section of the Towpath that goes through Summit County. The new sections include benches, outlooks and many areas to stop and contemplate the hard work and perseverance it took to complete the job.

Marcia and Don Stone


Darn good ‘Yankees’

I definitely take issue with Kerry Clawson’s June 21 review (“?‘Yankees’ fails to hit homer at Porthouse”) of the Porthouse Theater’s production of Damn Yankees, on stage until the end of June.

The Kent State Theater delivers some of the very best live entertainment in Northeast Ohio. Clawson’s caustic comments about MaryAnn Black’s performance as Lola were totally off the mark. Then, to top it off, to call her a “darling” and state her age in the review was completely inappropriate. Black’s age had nothing to do with the quality of her performance. Most of us watching her admire her ability to sing and dance — like someone in her 20s. She’s well built and talented.

The show and its performers received a standing ovation. Could all 350 audience members be wrong? To Terri Kent (director) and all of the Porthouse performers, I say you have brought excellent entertainment to our area. Keep on keeping on.

Patti Freeder


Missing plates

Kudos to Bob Dyer for exposing a blatant disregard for the law among some Akron police officers, by failing to properly display license plates on their private vehicles (“Do officers have enough on plates?” June 24).

I was an Akron cop for 26 years, and I always had my plates on clear display, not only because it was the law, but also because it was a good thing. When a vehicle is coming at you, you get a long view of the front plate and just a glimpse of the rear plate going by. This made the front plate so helpful when you were looking for a hit-skip vehicle or one used in a crime. But to not display a front plate — plus block half the view of the rear plate with an FOP emblem — is like saying, “I am the law, so I don’t have to obey it.”

Even more troublesome is that the Akron police chief said he has never noticed this problem, which makes me wonder how he avoids banging his nose on the door to his office each day. The fact is a front plate is a good thing, as is clearly displaying a rear plate. To disregard it shows a disrespect for the law police officers are supposed to uphold.

Stan Ramsey


Who pays ?the fare?

Ennio Riccillo’s June 22 letter (“Public option”) indicated that the analogy of the car insurance requirement and the health-care mandate is apparently not a valid comparison. Ricillo’s reasoning is that when an individual wants to go somewhere, he or she will take the bus and the rest of us will not be stuck with the cost of the ticket.

In addition to assuming that the “somewhere” is on a bus line, Riccillo obviously is unaware of the financial complexities of operating a public transportation system. He must believe that the cost of the tickets totally funds a public transportation system. During a quick review of a 2010 audit report of the Metro that I found on its website I learned that fares were slightly less than 11 percent of Metro’s total operating revenues. Therefore, 89 percent of the operating funds came from what the rest of us paid in sales, state and federal taxes.

Consequently, it appears to me that the analogy of the car insurance requirement and the health-care mandate is valid, especially if you consider that the bus rider is only making a “co-pay” of about 11 percent on the cost of the bus ticket and the rest of us taxpayers are stuck with 89 percent of the cost of the ticket.

Dennis Ingram


Bound by ?the law

I am dismayed by U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan’s unfounded comments during an interview Monday on CNBC concerning the Supreme Court and the Affordable Care Act. Even though the decision has not been rendered, Ryan commented that the court has a tea party agenda.

I come from a family of Democrats who were union members. I was a Teamster while loading feeders for the United Parcel Service. But I am also an attorney and understand the importance of respect for the highest court of our land, which is charged with the sacrosanct duty to be the final arbiter in matters involving the constitutionality of our laws.

Although I do not agree with all of the court’s decisions, it would be a violation of my own ethical standards to attack the independence and professionalism of any court, least the U.S. Supreme Court. Ryan’s comments were arrogant, unprofessional and irresponsible. As a public official, he should opine in a manner to strengthen the public’s trust in our institutions, which are called upon to establish the rule of law by which all citizens must abide.

Unfortunately, Ryan provided the dynamite necessary to undermine our judicial system. He would have been better served to bite his lip and remember that we are a nation of laws. This is the common thread that binds all of us together as a country with the highest of ideals.

Peter J. Kisan

North Jackson