Programs and benefits have helped make America great
Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment insurance, minimum wage, time and a half pay, worker's compensation are benefits almost all of us have used, will use, or will be dependent upon in our lifetime. Could you imagine if these benefits were eliminated from our lives? The step backwards in our society's evolution, the strain on the family structure, and the gross misuse of human labor that would certainly accompany the results of these eliminations.
Well guess what, people, since Social Security's inception some 70 years ago, these benefits have been under attack from the Republican Party, especially the conservatives. In their minds these entitlement programs are forms of socialism and should be eliminated. In their minds you didn't earn it so you shouldn't receive it. In their minds the government is stealing money "through taxes" from the people to finance these programs. In their minds health care and retirement programs through companies "as in company benefits" is also wrong because individuals need to be totally responsible for themselves. In their minds all these benefits are incompatible with our form of government. In their minds if you can't totally survive on your own until death it's not anybody's fault but the individual. In their minds, any controls whatsoever on business and how it runs in this country is wrong. They feel business will regulate itself through free enterprise and the free marketplace. In their minds the Environmental Protection Agency is nothing more than a monkey on the backs of business and the people in our great country.
I could fill a book with the common sense understanding of why all the above reasoning is wrong, but one thing does come to mind. Since the inception of these benefits, our country grew to become the greatest, strongest, most diverse country on the planet. Coincidence? I think not. Our current benefit programs are what helped the poor out of despair; they also helped keep our middle class strong. To eliminate these benefits would eliminate a lot of our country's strengths.
So when George Bush and the rest of the conservatives talk about saving or improving these benefit programs, in reality they are trying to eliminate them little by little, by weakening or bankrupting each program.
What I want to know is why don't these conservative politicians, especially George Bush, come flat out and express their true intentions on what they're trying to ramrod through Congress during his administration and any other conservative administration in the future? I think John Q. Public is mature enough to make decisions about these benefits and their future role in our society and government. But then again, George Bush and his ilk never deal with the public with total honesty.
JAMES C.K. FELL
Keep wild animals wild
Where do wild animals belong? If wild animals are taken from their natural habitat, they no longer have freedom to roam and explore, and their family to connect to.
A wild animal isn't truly wild if we take away everything, like his environment, freedom, other wild animals and family -- all he has ever known. He is no longer a wild animal. His spirit is broken.
Keep circuses from exploiting the animals and from profiting at the expense of the animals. They wouldn't want to be on Earth if they could speak, if they cannot be truly wild. Wild animals belong in the wild, not confined, trained and abused. Without freedom one is not living.