November 5, 2013 at 7:29 AM
Cut salaries of rich military contactors to save money
As food stamp benefits decrease, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives wants to cut another $39 billion from food stamps over the next 10 years [“State will lose $144 million a year as food-stamp extra benefit expires,” NWFriday, Nov. 1].
At a time when poverty is growing, this is monstrously cruel.
The Senate, controlled by the Democrats, wants to cut $4 billion over the same period. Perhaps the “Party of Extreme Cruelty” and the “Party of Moderate Cruelty” could agree on a “compromise” of $20 billion in cuts.
The reporter quotes Republican Frank Lucas, defending cuts to food stamps by saying, “We don’t have any money.” Really?
The CEO of Lockheed Martin was paid about $23 million by taxpayers in 2012, while the CEO of Boeing was paid about $10 million. Boeing and Lockheed are bidding on a contract to build an unnecessary replacement for the B-2 Stealth Bomber, the world’s most expensive airplane (so far).
If Congress cancels the new plan and cuts back the salaries of rich military contractors to $120,000 a year, that should free up some money for food, not bombs.
Bill Distler, Bellingham
May 22, 2013 at 6:34 AM
May 16, 2013 at 11:16 AM
King County needs to manage money better
Guest columnist and King County Executive Dow Constantine tells the state to think of King County as a business and give it the carte blanche he needs in order to freely tax at away for transportation funding because — keeping with his metaphor — that’s good business [“Allow King County a local option to fund transportation,” Opinion, May 14].
Well, if good business is the thought of the day, then how about focusing on the principle of watching the nickels and dimes and letting the dollars take care of themselves?
As an example, Constantine pushed to have the county run its own boat shuttle service, even though it is costing the taxpayers about three times more than when the service was contracted out to a private vendor. That’s like jumping around the money tree for more tax dollars while buckets of dimes and quarters are rolling down the hill.
How about spending more time focusing first on the details of monetary management before lobbying for authority to open the sluice gates of spending?
Tom Ruszala, Seattle
March 27, 2013 at 7:12 AM
Groups should be more creative
So John Clark, chairman of biological structure department at the University of Washington School of Medicine, fears sequestration may force him to lay off just one researcher from his lab [“ ‘Hutch,’ UW descend on D.C. to lobby on sequestration cuts,” NWMonday, March 25]?
I have two suggestions: Humbly submit a request to the UW endowment of $2.1 billion, or just do it the way the Dawgs are building the new stadium — from private donation.
Be creative Dr. Clark. Think outside the box, both biologically and fiscally.
–Mark Wilson, Seattle
March 26, 2013 at 3:39 PM
Disconnect between government and people
Fact: State parks are underfunded because the Legislature chooses to underfund them [“Budget-starved parks mark grim centennial,” page one, March 24]. Same thing with K-24 (or 2-23), roads and many other functions that are highly visible and highly desirable.
Our elected officials behave as though they think the public is either inattentive or stupid. We’re both. We keep sending them back to Olympia. And so we get what we deserve.
Before fees were charged, Flaming Geyser State Park, near my home, was jammed on summer evenings and weekends. Now it’s deserted. To be blunt, many of the folks who used it looked like they didn’t have the means to take a trip to Disneyland. Now where can they go?
Open parks serve the entire range of the population. By charging a relatively stiff fee, the state erected a barrier to the more needy among us. It’s another example of unintended consequences by government.
–George Coulbourn, Black Diamond
March 26, 2013 at 6:34 AM
Cuts should be extended to erring politicians
Regarding the article on how to balance the budget [“As budget battle lines take shape, analogies fly,” NWThursday, March 21], why wouldn’t you first look at the politicians salaries?
Obviously, by elected politicians deciding how to spend the money and on what programs — in which they can’t even get that right and it takes the Supreme Court to tell them where to correctly budget it — they have put us in this mess. In any organization, the decision-maker who makes the wrong decisions is the one who gets cut. Why do we have to suffer for their follies and mismanagement and lack of fiscal responsibility?
Like a household, they know what needs to get paid for and when, but didn’t budget correctly. So instead they try to come up with new ways that we, the public, should make up for their mistakes. Treat them like employees in the private sector. If they feel that cuts need to be made, we should first be looking at their benefits and salaries.
I feel it is completely unfair that cuts for many services are being looked at without elected politicians’ benefits and salary packages being looked at just as well.
–Andy Goeres, Seattle
March 17, 2013 at 6:30 AM
Cuts to Head Start will affect families, society
I have a child enrolled in the Virginia Searls Head Start program located in Bothell. I think making a 5 percent budget reduction to Head Start will be harmful for a lot of families that can’t provide preschool education [“How budget cuts could affect you,” seattletimes.com, March 7].
I also feel it would not benefit the general society, because every dollar we invest in high-quality early education can save more than seven dollars later on — by boosting graduation rates, reducing teen pregnancy, even reducing violent crime.
The Head Start model addresses the needs of the whole child — emphasizing health, nutrition and social-emotional development — and being compassionate partners with parents.
In my family, Head Start has been a powerful resource. We as a family were having a difficult transition moment, and enrolling my son in a Head Start program helped him on his social-emotional development. Early learning education is so important for each child, not only for those who can pay for it. Every single child should have the same opportunity of quality education no matter what their level in society.
–Maricela Rodriguez, Kirkland
March 12, 2013 at 6:30 AM
Appreciation of history is more important than a vacation
The Seattle Times reported that President Obama has canceled all tours of the White House as a result of staffing reductions prompted by the sequester, tours that are overseen by Secret Service personnel [“No more White House tours, thanks to budget cuts,” seattletimes.com, March 6]. Yet there are now media reports that he is planning for a summer vacation on Martha’s Vineyard, an excursion that will cost the Secret Service and the White House budget far more than the budget for a year of White House tours.
Perhaps President Obama should follow the practice forced on many of his constituents and consider a “staycation” this year. There is lots to see and do in the Washington, D.C., area that he and his family could enjoy. The money saved by substituting a staycation for a lavish trip to New England would be more than sufficient to restore the White House tours and once again provide school groups and ordinary citizens a chance to appreciate this historic building that our taxes built and support.
It’s a simple equation, really. Golf on a very costly island, or the interests of America’s youth. I encourage him to make the better choice.
–Christopher Hodgkin, Friday Harbor
March 6, 2013 at 5:00 PM
Outrage is present
I am responding to one sentence in Lance Dickie’s March 1 column, “Our fiscal Doomsday Machine” [Opinion]: “Outrage at the contagion of tax avoidance in this country would be welcome.”
Well, I am outraged. I am outraged that tax policies, and tax avoidance (and evasion) by corporations and the wealthiest 1 percent continue to rob America of the capacity to tackle our fiscal problems and fund the nation most of us want, the one most of us voted for when we re-elected Barack Obama.
I am outraged at a far-right Republican minority that gleefully refuses to raise the revenues that would fund Obama’s efforts to put people back to work and improve our aging infrastructure, even though that’s what the majority of us expected to happen. I am outraged that what enables them to do so is not the strength of their ideas, but longstanding machinations (gerrymandering, filibustering) that are nowhere to be found in our Constitution. I am outraged that people blame the president and both parties equally, when it’s obvious the problem is with the Republicans and those who vote for them.
We had a choice and we made it. Did you ever think that the losing party would get its way every time by stamping its feet and refusing to play? Well, I didn’t. And for that, I am outraged.
–Penny L. Miller, Issaquah
March 6, 2013 at 7:00 AM
Priorities called into question
On March 2, The Seattle Times rightly headlined in bold type on page one the news that the federal government sequestration budget cuts have been put into effect [“Nobody budged”]. As a result of the sequestration, numerous programs will be cut that are crucial in helping people climb out of poverty or maintain a hold in the middle class — including, for example, work-study funds for college students, unemployment benefits, Head Start and the Women, Infants and Children program that provides decent nutrition for disadvantaged pregnant women and infants.
But the editors chose to pair the momentous news about sequestration with a headlined article warning that the Blue Angels may be grounded [“Blue Angels grounded? Seafair plans for worst,”]! In contrast, an article noting cuts to social programs was relegated to page four [“Spending cuts to be widely felt,”].
Do these article placements basically reflect a lack of moral clarity on the part of the newspaper’s editors? Or, worse, did the editors choose the placements based on an accurate reading of the public’s concerns?
–Daniel Burnstein, associate professor emeritus of history, Seattle University, Seattle
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