October 29, 2013 at 7:03 PM
It’s unreasonable to request workers to pay back money after shutdown
The issues surrounding unemployment benefits received by government workers during the shutdown are important and have a direct impact on many residents of the state of Washington [“State asking federal workers to return unemployment benefits,” NWWednesday, Oct. 23].
The shutdown affected government workers in all states and left them with little resources to continue to support their families.
This is why numerous workers turned to the program when the government put their jobs on hold. It did not matter that they were going to receive back pay for time spent out of work. They needed money to support their families and to continue paying for mortgages, electricity, etc.
Now the government is back up and workers have returned to work. However, the government wants the workers who received unemployment benefits to pay back the benefits that they received during that time.
It seems unreasonable to request workers you forced out of work to pay back money they needed to support themselves. Especially if they were only on unemployment benefits because the government could not make compromises on an issue that was already scheduled to go into effect. There has to be another solution.
Angela Barajas, Camas
October 28, 2013 at 6:58 AM
Congressional members responsible for delayed budget
Interesting that many view the launch of the Obamacare health law as a dismal failure, many senators who voted for the start of the program now say it should be delayed [“Shutdown delays IRS tax-filing season,” News, Oct. 23].
This is all the House of Representatives wanted in an exchange for their budget approval. This of course is what caused the government shutdown. It appears then that the government shutdown could have been avoided had these senators realized the Affordable Care Act was not ready for public consumption on Oct. 1.
This leaves almost everyone scratching their heads as to why we didn’t have enough senators who approved the House version of the budget, which could have avoided the shutdown and allowed the Obama administration time to get the website ready for signing up. Let’s all hope that everyone remembers how this all played out when the 2014 elections roll around.
Ed Anderson, Kirkland
October 20, 2013 at 8:01 AM
Damage from shutdown will exist for a long time
Thanks to our elected officials who just finished playing “global thermonuclear war” with our economy and global status as a world leader [“Post-shutdown haggling begins,” page one, Oct. 18].
The style of governing that upholds the United States as an example of a thriving democracy includes compromising. This band of leaders cannot see past their own shadows to notice how damaging their work during the past three weeks has been to America and the world. Please work together and compromise. Or hopefully the electorate will recognize the faults and in 2014 send them away to play a nice game of chess.
David Wilson, Seattle
Congressional members aren’t being held accountable
During the federal shutdown, you properly admonished Washington state’s Republican representatives in Congress for their unwillingness to behave responsibly.
Please don’t think their votes at the last minute for a compromise crafted in the Senate get them off the hook. Instead, remind them that they were elected to be leaders and that they failed miserably in fulfilling that part of their responsibilities.
And next year, unless they start behaving very differently, many of your readers expect The Times to hold them accountable should they run for another term.
George Randels, Port Townsend
National economy looking grim
Now that Congress and the president have kicked the economic can down the road, two little-known facts about our national economy terrify me.
First, the Institute of Politics at Harvard has recently estimated that the government has run up current Treasury debt to $123,000 per American worker. When I add in the future governmental liabilities that our Congress has passed and the president has signed, this current governmental debt amounts to about $1 million per American worker. This is money that I seriously doubt will ever be paid back. But the government continues to borrow! All Americans should find this situation to be unethical and inexcusable.
Second, our Congress and president (present and past) have chosen to place this crushing debt burden exclusively on the backs of the Millennial Generation (age 20 to 30) and spare the baby boomers or Generation X of any financial pain. This government-declared generational warfare is unprecedented. It should be vigorously fought by members of the Millennial Generation and found shameful by all Americans.
John Boyes, Bow
October 18, 2013 at 6:29 AM
Democrats equally at fault
Editor, The Times:
The Republican Party surrendered almost unconditionally in trying to link short-term billion-dollar budget decisions (like Obamacare) to long-term trillion-dollar indebtedness [“GOP sacrificed standing in long, futile fight on health care,” page one, Oct. 17].
As we approach the negotiated December deadlines for new ideas, we might recall Dec. 6, 1941, and how the catchy World War II policy of unconditional surrender also probably prolonged that conflict, at great cost on many continents.
The stark choice for our Congress and for Sen. Patty Murray in her key leadership position is whether we only risk brinkmanship in the search for a genuine solution, or instead surely slide over the slippery brink later for lack of foresight, courage and elementary arithmetic skills. For refusing to negotiate the big picture, the Democratic Party is equally at fault for leaving this crisis in the hands of the amateur and maligned tea party.
Peter D. Beaulieu, Shoreline
October 17, 2013 at 7:02 PM
President Obama encourages fight between parties
What we just witnessed in Washington, D.C., is a stunning lack of leadership [“Out of jeopardy, but for how long? page one, Oct. 17].
The speaker of the House is unable to come up with a coherent message as to why he chose this time and place to “take a stand.” I admire someone with the courage of his convictions, but I’m still not clear on what those convictions were. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid just says no and refuses to allow votes on House bills. The president refuses to negotiate with Republicans, which is the story of the last five years and is exactly what got us in this mess in the first place.
Right or wrong, tea-party Republicans were elected in 2010 as a repudiation to Obama and with a mandate to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The president has never bothered to try to reach any sort of rapprochement with them, though he knew this issue simmered all along. He had to know this fight was coming, and did nothing but encourage it, thinking his party would gain. That may be smart politics, but it is the opposite of good leadership.
Mark Stratton, Bothell
October 16, 2013 at 7:01 AM
President must learn to negotiate
President Obama is willfully prolonging the government shutdown and spitefully making middle-class Americans suffer [“Obamacare battle rife with ideological irony,” news, Oct. 15].
Just as former President Clinton negotiated with U.S. Rep. Newt Gingrich and President Reagan negotiated with U.S. Rep. Tip O’ Neill for the betterment of America, President Obama should negotiate with the Republicans.
Obamacare is not the answer to problems in the health industry. A centralized command economy is not the answer. Free markets, liberty and consumer choices are the answer.
President Obama, listen and negotiate.
Joseph Lopez, Lynnwood
October 14, 2013 at 7:34 PM
Government shutdown reveals blatant partisan parties
The Supreme Court’s poor understanding of the Constitution as it relates to term limits has brought us to this place in history [“Ripple effects fuel debate on the role of government,” page one, Oct. 14].
We have the elite group thinking they are more important than the people they represent. In fact, they don’t think they represent anyone.
Their vision is a two-class society, one of the elite and one of the poor. They are working at a fevered pace to eliminate the middle class. It makes no difference which party you pick, they are both the same. It’s them versus us.
If the voting public doesn’t figure out a way to change this soon, there will be no turning back. The Constitution says they will come from the fields to serve and then go back to the fields. They were never to make it a career. The founders knew if that happened, it would corrupt everything they tried to achieve.
What’s the difference, a king or a political elite? Very little from what I can see. Fire them all before it’s too late.
Roger Miller, Wenatchee
Government workers paid too much for too little work
The article in The Times reporting that furloughed government workers may get paid is disturbing [“Government doors closed, but workers may get paid,” page one, Oct. 6].
Our governing bodies seem to have lost a sense of logic. There are many reasons contributing to the nation’s financial woes. One of them is that government workers are paid too much.
A recent study indicated that they are paid 40 percent more than nongovernment workers for comparable jobs. Add that to the obvious incompetence of our Congress, made up of headstrong jerks unable to compromise and settle upon a plan that won’t threaten the nation’s future with unending increases in the national debt. That debt has increased every year since President Eisenhower. It cannot increase forever.
The truth is, we can’t afford the current federal staff from members of Congress down to the lowest unionized government worker. And we certainly can’t afford the incredible logic of laying off workers to save money, then deciding to pay them for their time off. That very decision proves there is rot in the system which deserves trimming as well as pay cuts all around.
Spencer M. Higley, Edmonds
October 14, 2013 at 7:00 PM
I was struck by the article on cattle losses in North Dakota [“N. Dakota delayed revealing oil spill,” news, Oct. 12].
It is the height of irony that this deeply red state, its representative supporting the shutdown and denying global warming, has suffered this loss and is whining about the lack of support from the federal government. While no single event can be blamed specifically on climate change, harsher storms across the planet are present in all the computer models of global warming. It’s time to wake up and smell the CO2.
Andrew F. Held, Kirkland
October 14, 2013 at 7:05 AM
Who has the courage to step up?
There is a way to resolve the current impasse in Congress. One member of Congress needs to have the courage to introduce a bill that would cut off congressional paychecks until an agreement is reached, which pulls our country away from the latest financial abyss. [“What the fight over the federal debt limit is all about,” page one, Oct. 9].
As members of Congress appear to have no problem denying paychecks to many federal employees and others dependent on their actions, there should be no reason that they would regard this as unfair.
As they approach their own personal financial abyss, surely they will be motivated to do their jobs and protect their employers — the taxpayers — from their incompetence and bickering. We would be interested to see not only who has the courage to propose such a measure, but who has the courage to vote against it.
Aurora King-Hedinger, Shoreline
October 13, 2013 at 7:31 AM
Term limits should be enacted for members of congress
While the Republicans and Democrats argue, we’re all losing. Valuable services are being denied and now we’re facing default.
Government is too big. What is the alternative? We can’t completely close shop and start over. The answer is to fire the employees. If the people working for me fail to do what I ask of them, do I quit and let them continue? No, I look for new employees.
In this case, we need to get rid of every current person now sitting in Washington, D.C. Term limits must be enacted, or someday we’ll be right back here again.
Steve Drake, Seattle
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