Letters to the Editor for Dec. 14
What are the Occupiers protesting? What do you got?
When was the last time you borrowed money at zero percent interest, as the banks “too big to fail” did from the Federal Reserve to the tune of $7.77 trillion? That the money was paid back without generating losses isn’t the point: Wall Street thrives; Main Street suffers.
The occupiers of Wall Street and other venues are accused of being inarticulate regarding their demands. Perhaps it’s because we are outraged about a host of problems.
My admittedly incomplete list follows:
Voting rights and the GOP’s attempts in many states to abrogate them by insisting on voter IDs and shortening days for voting; hydrofracking, which could endanger our drinking water; mortgage fraud and bundling of toxic mortgages; jobs shipped overseas; Grover Norquist trumping the constitutional oath of office of the GOP by insisting they sign a promise to never increase taxes; Bush tax cuts that mostly benefit the wealthy, even though unpaid for; the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decisions declaring that money equals speech and that corporations are people; huge bonuses on Wall Street; the suggestion that a flat tax would be fair to everyone; the GOP’s war on women.
When there are so many problems, many of which the GOP is responsible for, it’s easy to be inarticulate about why the occupiers are protesting.
The GOP (“Greedy Obstructionist Prigs”) appears to care about two things only: protection of the wealthy and ensuring that President Obama is a one-term president. Jobs? Not a priority for the GOP, and neither is protecting the middle class and working poor. At this writing, the payroll tax cut extension was defeated by the GOP — again.
One last thing: Since when did one’s religious beliefs qualify an individual to be dog catcher, let alone president of the United States? Check out Article VI of the Constitution — “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” Do religionists of all stripes believe that they have cornered the market on ethical behavior? No, they haven’t. That much is obvious.
Spa County tax rate is higher than a mortgage
Saratoga County property taxes are more than a mortgage!
Property taxes on a house in Clifton Park are 3.62 percent; school tax is 2.96 percent and county taxes add up to another 0.66 percent, for a total of 3.62 percent. The rate on a 15-year fixed mortgage is about 3.3 percent right now.
This level of taxation is excessive and usual. The Tax Foundation reports that the average property tax in the United States is only 1.04 percent (http://www.taxfoundation.org/taxdata/show/1888.html). We are paying almost three and a half times the national average for property taxes!
Saratoga County supervisors are meeting Dec. 14 to vote on the 2012 budget. They intend to raise property taxes by another 3.5 percent! County taxpayers need to let them know that we cannot afford these extravagant taxes anymore. If they can’t cut spending, we will elect new supervisors who will.
USPS mustn’t leave letter writers in the lurch
I hand-write many letters every week. All the people I send letters and cards to send them back to us; so the chain continues. I also use the Postal Service to send my packages. Just ask our wonderful female rural postal person in the Ballston Spa/Ballston Lake Post Office.
We receive and pay all our bills through the Postal Service. I buy lots of stamps and cards all year long. We are elderly and do not have a computer. If we lose the Postal Service, we will be cut off from all our longtime friends and family we communicate with, and I love receiving mail every day. We have a friend who makes beautiful cards and we cherish the love and time she puts into them.
I also have many of the love letters my father sent my mother while overseas in World War II. I love seeing his handwriting; he passed away at age 49.
If the Postal Service goes out of business, it will affect so many businesses. For example: card designers, card companies, paper companies, companies that make the fancy stickers I love putting on my envelopes, address labels and the greeting cards I send in addition to letters.
I have people from the 1950s I still write to.
June Work Locke
Sch’dy sewer plant is back where it belongs
Re Dec. 10 article, “City opts to run sewer plant”: It is gratifying, as a taxpayer, to see the Schenectady City Council and mayor-elect [Gary McCarthy] putting city wastewater employees back on the city payroll.
City services should be performed by city employees, where there is no profit motive but rather a civic motive to strengthen the common good. All levels of government can learn from this example: stop contracting services out.
Every contracted service transfers public money into private hands. Typically it means workers are paid less, with few or no benefits, so the contractor can make a profit.
Keep public money in the public realm and keep the common good under the umbrella of the taxpayers. No more profit-taking at the public trough.
Rev. Valerie Mapstone Ackerman
Yesterday’s editorial about the Schenectady Army Reserve Center said another round of military base closings is scheduled for 2015. Although the presidentially appointed Base Realignment and Closure Commission has called for another round at that time, the Defense Department has yet to request one, nor has Congress authorized one.
The Gazette wants your opinions on public issues.
There is no strict word limit, though letters under 200 words are preferred.
All letters are subject to editing for length, style and fairness, and we will run no more than one letter per month from the same writer.
Please include your signature, address and day phone for verification.
For information on how to send, see bottom of this page.
For more letters, visit our website: www.dailygazette.com.