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Letters to the Editor — week of 04-15

Thanks for health care bill

I was one of the millions of American’s who sat by the television watching the United States House of Representatives debate the merits of health care insurance reform. After decades of failed attempts, I was so excited to watch Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi hammer her gavel down and announce to the country that the bill had passed.

This historic bill will make sure that all 775,000 uninsured young New Yorkers will no longer walk around without any health care insurance.

The bill will also allow parents to keep their children on their plans until they reach 26 years of age. I remember when I turned 21 and after I graduated college, my parents had to take out a very expensive Cobra plan to ensure I had adequate health care insurance. Many young people have gotten sick, hurt or died because they did not have parents who could afford Cobra like my family.

On behalf of the tens of thousands of members of the New York State Young Democrats, we are forever grateful for your bravery. All young New Yorkers can now sleep easy every night knowing that when they wake up the next morning they will have adequate health care insurance.

Matthew Silverstein

New York State Young Democrats President

Bay Terrace Bayside

 

Census is a good thing

As a senior citizen and lifetime resident of Queens, it is both my legacy and obligation to my grandchildren to complete my census form and mail it, all of which I have done, and I feel good.

The Federal Government sits poised to provide billions of dollars to those communities where a mere 10-minute form is submitted as truth. These funds will provide funding for hospitals, uniformed services, schools and redistricting for more defined and accurate political representation.

Sadly, all too many of us – through either fear, ignorance or indifference – continue to ignore the rewards of the U.S. Census. These dear people are dollars deducted from your paychecks for the past 10 years since the last census.

Please, dear people, the reason for closing schools, crowded classrooms, ineffectual teachers, closing NYFD houses, parks, hospitals, medical centers is YOU! YOU were too lazy to spend 10 minutes on a simple census form! Counted means counted!

John J. McGuire Sr.

Rego Park

 

Costly repairs for council

In March 2008, it was announced that renovations of the City Council chambers would raise the original price tag from $45 to $65 million due to cost overruns.

The Department of Design and Construction in November 2009 revised the cost to $90 million, or twice the price! It was just announced the new cost is $107 million, due to greater structural deterioration than anticipated. No one really knows what the final price tag will be.

Is spending over $107 million for renovations of the City Council chamber worthwhile?

With a multibillion-dollar municipal deficit this year and more forecast for next year, perhaps there are higher priorities. Consider that Councilmembers meet in full session or committee on a part-time basis.

They are paid base salaries of $113,500 per year supplemented by Lulus from $4,000 to $28,000 all for a part-time job. They enjoy personal drivers, a private City Hall parking spot; millions in pork barrel member item projects to give out to friends; paid staff to ghost write newsletters, speeches, op-eds and letters to the editor; out of town travel reimbursement; along with free tickets to all sorts of events.

Why spend $107 million-plus to build a new “Big Top” over the Big Apple’s Greatest Circus on Earth to support their continued daily discussions of irrelevant and useless resolutions? The City Council could move in with the real circus and save the taxpayers some money. We could have two shows for the price of one admission. Now that would be a real treat!

Larry Penner

Great Neck

Day laborers should just leave

I cannot abide the whining and moaning of the day laborers, who, with the backing of their misguided advocates, have the unmitigated gall to bemoan their fate. They brought this upon themselves. They never apologize or take the blame for their plight. They committed an illegal act by surreptitiously crossing the U.S. border without documents.

Roberto Meneses, self-proclaimed president of “United Day Laborers of Woodside” is under the delusion that he has the “right” to speak for them. He has the audacity to say he is tired of complaining, telling their story and seeing no results.

Perhaps Meneses should change his plea from, “give these hapless immigrants a place to live and a job,” to “let’s negotiate an exodus from this country that is treating us so badly.”

Selma Musicant

Whitestone

Private sector must help out

Many public services that are being cut in the city and state, as well as organizations and programs that are in danger of being dropped or losing funding could be helped greatly if the private sector helped with money.

Donations that are steered towards educational and training programs for teenagers, those coming out of prison and other unemployed persons will put these individuals in a much better position to return the favor. Remember the old adage about teaching a man to fish rather than giving him the fish.

While tax credits for the recently unemployed is fine – it is not enough. People need to be retrained and educated to be eligible for jobs. Those who reenter the work force become consumers and hopefully savers too. More money flows into the economy and more tax revenue is available.

Eugene Forsyth

Flushing

Democrats act alone

Health Care Reform passed with not a single, solitary Republican vote.

At no time in American history has such sweeping change been accomplished in such a partisan fashion. Social Security, Medicare, drug coverage for senior citizens, civil rights and welfare reform, divisive issues all, were enacted with the votes of both parties. Even the crucial 1982 amendments that saved the foundering Social Security retirement system by raising both taxes and the retirement age, enjoyed support on both sides of the aisle.

The Democrats own it lock, stock and barrel. The Republicans and the few renegade Democrats, who voted with them, will have plausible deniability if disaster strikes – if long lines appear at doctors’ offices, if premiums skyrocket and/or the economy deteriorates. Of course, if Nirvana arrives and medical services improve, deficits disappear and the economy booms, Democrats can rightfully claim all the credit.

While the legislation adds about 30 million more Americans to the health insurance rolls it doesn’t add a single doctor, nurse, medical technician and/or hospital bed to an already over utilized system.

There are many reasons that people do not take the responsible road and purchase health insurance. Some are denied because of pre-existing conditions, others refuse to buy it because they believe they will never get sick and still others are priced out of the market. To provide these people with health insurance, the President and the Democrats in Congress have decided to disrupt medical care of the approximately 85 percent of Americans who are generally satisfied with the present system and design a new system that no one can guarantee will work any better and could be worse.

It is almost impossible to demonstrate a single federal program that costs less than originally projected. In fact, the opposite is true. For example, in 1965 government analysts estimated that Medicare would cost $9 billion dollars when the program reached its 25th anniversary in 1990. When it reached its silver anniversary that year, Medicare cost almost seven times more than originally projected, or $67 billion, a seven-fold increase.

I think that the President’s proposal places an untoward and totally unsustainable financial burden not only on our already damaged economy and taxpayers but on our country’s future and the future of our children and their children.

James Armet

Ozone Park

 

April Fools

For 30 out of the past 36 years, members of the New York State Legislature failed to pass a balanced budget on time. Adding insult to injury, our elected officials earn double what the average constituent takes home each year for just a part time job. They even get bonuses known as lulus for chairing committees, meal accounts, reimbursement for travel to and from Albany and other perks ordinary citizens can only dream about. When legislative sessions take place, they are usually Tuesday to Thursday. This affords many legislators the opportunity to hold down a second part time job practicing law or some other profession.

I give our state officials an A+| for procrastination and an F for failure to do their work and pass a budget on time. I think they should be docked a days’ pay for each day the budget is late. They should forfeit their meal allowances, hotel reimbursements and all other perks too. Keep them all locked up in the Capitol with no return trips home until they complete their work.

Larry Penner

Great Neck

Fan of paid leave bill

My City Councilmember, Dan Halloran, wrote an op-ed opposing the paid leave bill introduced in the New York City Council recently. I am disappointed by Halloran’s position, which I feel is not in the interest of the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of working New Yorkers in the 19th Council District who do not have sick leave.

According to City Councilmember Gale Brewer, bill’s sponsor, there are over 1.85 million working New Yorkers who do not receive any paid sick leave. The Congress passed a historic health care reform bill, and now we must ensure that every New Yorker can take a day off when either they or a member of their family is sick. We must also ensure that they will be protected from losing their job or risk not being paid.

Sick leave would help businesses because it prevents viruses from spreading around the office, which would lead to a greater loss of productivity.

Shame on you, Halloran, for failing to stand up and protect the rights and health care of all New Yorkers

Matthew Silverstein

Bayside

Beware of voter anger

If the never-ending stalemate and gamesmanship in Washington continues – voter anger will be a stumbling block to economic recovery. In the absence of leadership that honestly confronts and resolves issues haunting the nation like health care, bank reform, stimulus, entitlements, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Americans will remain hotly divided.

Elected representatives are devoted to their selfish egos rather than to the nation they swore an oath to uphold. The two party system has dissolved into warring tribes each seeking victory regardless of the consequences. The scorched earth policies of the parties are undermining the tenets of our heritage. The political wars have eroded belief that our system of government can work. Confidence defines America and in its absence, the nation is in troubled waters.

Regardless of political leanings, 2009 began with the promise of a better America. The election of President Barack Obama seemed a breath of fresh air. Hope seemed reborn. That change in spirit has evaporated after one year of the worst political bickering seen in a lifetime. The absolute refusal to compromise has destroyed belief that anything will address the problems affecting daily life or get the nation back to the road of recovery and renewal.

In large part, the economic downturn continues because of the two parties refusing to work together. Abandoning the interests of citizens politicians hope to win the next election by igniting partisanship, suspicious and compelling anger. Facing the worst economic threat in generations, our politicians are a stumbling block to recovery. Our political leaders are in a depression.

Edward Horn

Baldwin

 

War of waste

Friday, March 19, marked the seventh year of U.S. occupation of Iraq. In addition to the human costs of more than 4,300 U.S. troops, 300 other coalition troops, and 1 million Iraqis killed in this war and occupation, there are financial costs that are nearly as intolerable and outrageous.

Since 2003, according to the National Priorities Project, taxpayers in Queens have paid $7.7 billion for this illegal, unnecessary war that President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney lied us into, and which President Barack Obama is continuing by planning to station 50,000 U.S. troops there after the supposed 2011 withdrawal of U.S. forces.

How much health care, infrastructure repair, needed housing, tax relief, and how many jobs could have been provided by these billions wasted on the Iraq war and occupation?

Ed Ciaccio

Douglaston

 

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