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What gov’t benefits to marriage was Harrop talking about?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013
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What gov’t benefits to marriage was Harrop talking about?

I look forward to Froma Harrop’s writings and enjoy her thoughtful arguments on matters of importance. However, a line from her July 9 piece, “Gov’t has no business in marriage,” literally jumped off the page at me.

She writes: “But love or no, married people do receive thousands of government bennies.” Thousands? I’ve been married almost 45 years, and my wife and I have tried to prepare ourselves for the inevitable vagaries of old age.

I’d like to know all the benefits she’s referring to. It would be of great help to us, as we want to take full advantage of them before we become too feeble.

Edward Vanderwall

Clifton Park

Gov’t, not private sector, to blame for recession

Re July 7 Op-ed column, ”Government has done too little, not too much, to bolster economy”: Mark Weisbrot, of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, has done it again by misstating the facts on the cause of, and slow recovery from, the Great Recession.

Weisbrot’s article was part of a balanced “pro-con” review which included a defense of economic freedom by Steve Van Andel, co-CEO of Amway.

Weisbrot claims the private sector, not the government, “got us into this mess,” referring to the real estate bubble collapse that started the Great Recession. Wrong. The Federal Reserve, under Chairman Alan Greenspan, made money easily available to provide mortgages. Congress had passed a law, for city reconstruction, that required banks to make mortgages available to folks who could not afford them. When house prices declined, and interest rates rose, many of those homeowners could not afford their monthly payments and the banks had to foreclose.

This cascaded through the financial community, causing banks to need bailouts, etc. We know the rest. But it was government policy that was in charge, not free enterprise, at the heart of the recession.

Weisbrot further goes off the edge when he says the recovery could have been stronger if the government “stimulus” was larger. The government’s trillion-dollar stimulus did not work, thus we have been in a very slow recovery. Weisbrot wanted more stimulus. There is an old theorem, “repeating something that doesn’t work, over and over, is a sign of insanity.” The recovery was also burdened by Obamacare, a trillion-dollar government program, and additional trillions in other government deficit spending.

Steve Van Andel, from Amway, did put forth a reasoned theory of why free enterprise, with less government interference, works better. His company has provided over 3 million entrepreneurs with an opportunity for their own prosperity, therein providing jobs for thousands more.

We need less government, not more.

Don Cazer

Niskayuna

3 local pols have been heroes to flood victims

With all the terrible weather our area has been experiencing, there are three individuals who my family and I would like to thank — Rep. Chris Gibson, Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk and Assemblyman Pete Lopez.

These three public officials have been on the ground with their staffs, not only assessing the damage but “picking up shovels” for their constituents and taking care of business. All this in addition to running their respective districts.

They have been putting in 18-hour days for the past month. They’ve been in touch with the Red Cross, Salvation Army and many other volunteer organizations. They didn’t just show up for a photo-op for the newspapers and TV stations, they pitched in and used their knowledge of the area, plus their staffs’ knowledge, and have been coordinating things with local municipalities to get things moving.

It’s very rare that public officials “get down in the mud” to help their respective districts. Most, in my experience, simply stand next to the governor and the rest of the “suits,” smile and tell everyone, “don’t worry, everything is going to be OK.” Unfortunately, what’s been going on is not OK.

I only wish we had more public officials who are as much involved with their districts.

Nancy Kelly

Preston Hollow

Motorists, cyclists must work on their differences

I’ve been reading with interest the conversation in the Gazette’s opinion section on cars vs. bikes.

As a cyclist, the last thing I want is a confrontation with a car. Cyclists are totally vulnerable, and in that confrontation we will most certainly lose.

As a cyclist, I appreciate the following: roads with wide shoulders; motorists who don’t crowd us on their right, our left; truck drivers who don’t blow their air horns or grind their brakes just to startle us; bike lanes on city streets (they really work); and bike paths — lots of them.

As a driver, I appreciate cyclists who stay in the shoulder to the right of the white line; cyclists who observe all traffic laws, which in New York we are legally obliged to do; cyclists who use rear-view mirrors and a flashing red tail light; bike lanes and bike paths.

A European-style bicycle culture will probably never develop in this vast country. Distances are too great and our cities are built for cars, not for walking or biking. However, individual American cities, like Portland, Ore., are becoming increasingly “bicycle-friendly,” where the needs of both cyclists and car drivers are met — and where the two groups respect each other and accommodate each other.

Patricia Rush

Schenectady

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comments

July 16, 2013
7:55 a.m.
BROBERTS1 says...

Michael, That Florida jury decided it was in his right to protect himself from someone slaming his head into the cement sidewalk.

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