Sowell goes too far when he suggests pre-emptive war
I couldn't believe what I read in The Vindicator last Friday. Actually, I could believe it, but I didn't want to. Here is Thomas Sowell, holder of a Ph.D. and a highly literate master of diatribe, advocating preventive war against Iran and North Korea. He notes (correctly) that these nations appear to be developing nuclear weapons that could be used against us, and then continues, "Our descendants will wonder how we could let this happen, when we had the power to destroy any nation posing such a threat." This is an obvious plea for pre-emptive nuclear war against those two countries, thumbing our noses at the mass of world opinion (both in governments and on the streets) that would see a nuclear attack as imperialistic madness.
It is a very bad idea, for many reasons. It could be the final nail in the coffin of efforts to prevent total, decades-long war between the United States and the Islamic world, a conflict that would leave both sides in ruins. An exchange of nuclear weaponry would kill millions of innocent people but it would not reliably destroy the ability of Iran or North Korea to sneak small nuclear bombs into our cities and detonate them. It would complete the process of isolating the U.S. from our few remaining friends around the globe. Its cost to our nation, in both economic and human terms, would be staggering.
The only reasonable approach is a balanced, well-conceived and persistent program of maintaining strength, rebuilding comity with our natural allies and maintaining dialogue with Islamic nations aimed at building bridges, not walls.
ROBERT D. GILLETTE
Suggestions for legislators
The League of Women Voters of Greater Youngstown believes that a compact exists between the voters and our elected leaders to ensure that essential government services -- especially health care for our most vulnerable citizens -- are adequately funded. A difficult decision, yes, but one that legislators from both parties have told us is important -- if only they had the money. We believe the funding exists, and that these programs can be funded if legislators take four simple steps that would literally save lives and conserve long-term resources:
Step 1: Take $90 million from the Medicaid line item that funds nursing homes.
Step 2: Put $30 million of that in the line item for PASSPORT, providing care for the same number of people served by nursing homes but at one-third the cost and preventing waiting lists of 200 people a month.
Step 3: Use the $60 million in savings as follows: $25 million to restore Medicaid coverage for parents with incomes between 90 percent and 100 percent of the federal poverty level who are working or receiving unemployment compensation, and the remaining $35 million toward the $60 million needed to provide basic primary care and prescription drugs to 15,000 extremely poor, medication-dependent Ohioans through Disability Medical Assistance (DMA).
Step 4: Restore the $40 million tax increase on chewing tobacco and snuff contained in the House budget but removed by the Senate, yielding more than enough to restore DMA, plus provide about half of the $33 million needed to fund dental coverage for 800,000 adults on Medicaid.
If for some reason these steps are unworkable, we understand that the year-end balance for the current fiscal year will be much larger than originally thought, and that these increased collections could lead to larger-than-projected revenues in the new fiscal year that begins July 1. These funds could also be used to help our most vulnerable citizens rather than be tucked away in a rainy day fund.
We urge local citizens to contact members of the General Assembly and the budget conference committee to stand by its previously expressed intentions and act on today's critical health care needs.
SUZANNE BARBATI, President
League of Women Voters of Greater Youngstown