Nation must put an end to poverty
We have recently been thinking about the problem of poverty in America. We believe that our country has the resources and opportunities needed to end this unwelcome phenomenon.
We realize that good people have tackled this problem and that good programs have been tried and are in place. But poverty is still with us. We've tried to think of new ideas and ways to pay for them. Here they are:
1) Provide a $50,000 cash bonus for every soldier returning from duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. Cost: $300 per taxpayer, one-time thank our troops tax.
2) Create a way to routinely advise all impoverished women (especially those who are struggling to support kids) of the availability of free birth control services. (Already available through a state-funded programs.)
3) Encourage volunteer teams of mentors to assist impoverished/
disabled homeowners one-on-one with maintenance and gardens (modeled after "Make a Difference Day" and the builders' home upgrading day except year long). Out of pocket cost is to volunteers, but provide them with a property, or other, tax break reward.
4) Tax all credit card payments at interest rates greater than 12 percent, with the tax to be paid by the companies. Refund the full amount collected back to the companies, to be applied against the principal of debtors' loans.
We think that many small programs, each helping a subgroup already impoverished or on the verge of it - soldiers, women,
elderly/disabled, debtors - can help. We welcome others' ideas on this problem.
David H. Milne, Shelton, and Herb Legg, Tumwater
I write regarding the letter to the editor from Terry Bullock.
Bankrupting our country: Quoting a bunch of numbers doesn't represent the facts. The national debt is quoted as a percentage of the Gross Domestic Product. As such, the national debt is small - considering the war.
Increase in crime: Public officeholders have taken credit for decreases in crime, but as predicted in the 1960s, criminals reaching the age where they look back on their life, realize that crime actually doesn't pay.
The increase is caused by cutbacks in law enforcement on the theory that less crime means we can relax. Not true. The claim that government put more cops on the streets in the '90s is incorrect. The money for this purpose was spent on communications equipment and computers. Bill Clinton admitted this claiming a computer was equal to two officers. Then, as now, law enforcement already makes the arrests. The courts would be overwhelmed if 100,000 new officers were added as claimed by Clinton.
No child left behind: Under funded? Talk to Congress. Only Congress can fund anything - check the Constitution. When comparing our kids with other countries, the letter writer failed to note we spend more and get less. Explain that.
Our standing in the world: It's fine. Because some only hear the negative from liberals doesn't mean we are hated by most.
If Bullock is concerned about Bush on future generations, help by quoting the facts rather than talking points.
Danny Strain, Olympia
I was struck by Barbara Guilfoil's apparent sadness at the absence of young people under the age of 40 participating in a recent war protest.
Simple math tells me the majority of the remnants of the former Vietnam War protesters are over the age of 40, and perhaps those are the individuals accompanying Guilfoil at the protest.
It strikes me that the young people of today especially those attending one of the three colleges in our area have learned more productive ways to spend their time. Getting an education and subsequent gainful employment come to mind as a more positive approach to enhancing the future of this country.
Participating in a clearly divisive protest that accomplishes little other than to demoralize our troops and embolden our enemy's resolve seems to me to work at cross purposes with displaying love of country. Continuing activities that encourage the enemy to divide and conquer may leave us without a country to love.
Keith Weaver, Tumwater
This letter is to express my dismay at the callous tone of the editorial in regard to the tent city. Do the editors at The Olympian really think the good news is that the tent city disappeared without arrests or do they think it is good it has disappeared - period?
The strength of a community or a nation, in my opinion, is reflected in how well it cares for the least of us. We can certainly do much better.
I am thankful that the Unitarian Universalist Congregation church has allowed the tent city to temporarily locate to its property in West Olympia. I hope that dialogue will be continuing on this subject and that we all deeply consider the serious problems of homelessness and hopelessness and consider how best to respond.
Anna Nicole Smith made no contribution to society
Who do you complain to, that's what I want to know? This non-stop Anna Nicole Smith frenzy that seems to infest the network and cable news makes watching the news almost untenable. Even FOX, the one cable station that I consider semi-rational, is now wall to wall with this pop-culture detritus.
It doesn't give you much hope for our society when we tend to deify someone who made no contribution to society other than publicly shaking her softwares and going for the record in bedding the most men possible. God gave this pathetic woman everything a woman would seem to want - except a functioning brain or even a hint of restraint or moral compass.
Let's talk about her baby, DNA, who the daddy is, what to do with her body, when to embalm it, whether to embalm it, who she slept with, the millions she extorted from that perverted fossil and let's interview anyone who was ever in her presence or bed for their take on this earth-shattering issue of the day. The made-for-TV movie has to be right around the corner, to mine even more bucks out of this train wreck of a woman. And lastly, I wait with bated breath for the pictures of her nude body displayed on a slab to appear on the Internet.
Won't happen? Don't bet against it. You'd lose.
Bill Cross, Lacey
Another woman wrote a letter to the editor talking about how kids should give up their mid-winter breaks. She says "Why punish the kids for snow days? Rather than push the school year further out into the summer months, why don't the schools use the needless February weeklong break as an avenue to make up the snow days?"
Needless? As a high school student myself I can vouch for the fact that it is not needless. She states that we should be outside playing during the summer and not spending our midwinter breaks inside where it is warm.
Midwinter break is one of the best vacations because of its versatility. You can go somewhere and sit on a beach or many people go skiing. If people really choose to sit inside and waste their lives, they will do it regardless of the weather outside. One of the main reasons we need this vacation is because of finals which are coming up.
This is a great time to finish all the projects that are due and to put in lots of studying.
We students love our breaks and we don't want to give up a weeklong break just to save a little bit of summer.
Colleen Caron, Olympia