---- — Cuts jeopardize national security
To the editor:
Our national security could be in jeopardy if the $500 billion in sequestration defense cuts are implemented. Our military had to absorb $80 billion in prior cuts and is now cutting $487 billion over 10 years to comply with the Budget Control Act.
The $487 billion in cuts translates into the Army reducing its forces by 80,000 soldiers over the next five years. The Marines will cut 20,000 troops. Other cuts include early retirement of ships with the possibility of having 11 carrier battle groups instead of the 12 needed; the retirement of the Air Force A-10 Warthog aircraft; and the possible closure of our only tank production facility in Lima, Ohio.
These cuts are occurring while leaving the Pentagon’s civilian workforce of 750,000 unscathed. DOD added 62,000 civilians during the past four years.
If the additional $500 billion in sequestration cuts are implemented, over 1 million civilian full-time jobs with contractors, sub-contractors and ancillary businesses will be lost. The unemployment rate could increase 0.5 percent to 1.0 percent and the U.S. Gross Domestic Product could decrease by $85 billion.
The Obama Administration and Congress have to find other ways to reduce the deficit without adversely impacting our national defense.
Donald A. Moskowitz
GOP continues voter suppression efforts
To the editor:
The nationwide effort by the GOP to suppress the vote through the use of voter ID laws is well documented. The basic problem with voter ID laws is that there is almost no evidence that voter ID fraud takes place.
Brennan Center for Justice testimony before the U.S. Senate (Sept. 8, 2011) stated, “In-person impersonation fraud is the only type [of fraud] that voter ID laws have the potential to address but study after study confirms that such fraud is extremely rare.”
The evidence is overwhelming. Obviously, I can’t include hundreds of pages of evidence here, but it makes sense: In-person voter fraud has harsh penalties for almost zero gain.
Voter ID laws, pushed by the GOP nationwide, are designed to keep honest citizens from exercising their fundamental constitutional right to vote. They are particularly harsh on the elderly, minorities, students and the poor. And, big surprise, these are groups that tend to vote Democratic.
The recent bogus attack on state Sen. Martha Clark (District 21) is a case in point. Republicans allege that she encouraged voter fraud by putting campaign workers and a relative up at her house who then voted during the election and later left.
Every one of the cases cited is in fact legal: these are people exercising their constitutionally protected right to vote. Almost all allegations of in-person voter fraud turn out to be incorrect (above 99 percent).
Even more to the point, it is a common practice among Republican candidates, too, to have campaign workers who vote and a short time after the election leave the state. The reason for this is because it is and should be legal.
Sen. Fuller Clark is right: The smear campaign against her is “sad.” It is one more effort by Republicans to create “evidence” of voter fraud where none exists so that the voter suppression they promote in the form of voter ID legislation looks like it has some legitimacy. It doesn’t.
Expanding Medicaid is a win-win
To the editor:
There have been many letters to the editor expounding on the humanistic and moral rationale for expanding Medicaid in New Hampshire. On those grounds alone, this legislation should be adopted.
It is hard to understand why Republicans in the N.H. Legislature are resisting the effort to provide health insurance to the working poor. How can anyone with a conscience not empathize with people whose incomes are $14,856 or less as they struggle to survive — food, housing, clothing, transportation to work and there’s some leftover for health insurance? Really?
OK, if Republicans have no sympathy, no caring for others less fortunate, no sense of responsibility for the general welfare, let’s put human interest aside for a moment, and think in hard-nosed economic terms.
Under the Affordable Care Act the federal government will pay 100 percent of the cost of medicaid expansion for three years and gradually taper their contribution down to 90 percent thereafter. They will pay these cost with tax money we will be sending, regardless, to Washington. So, if we don’t take the money we will be subsidizing the states that do.
But what if the Feds renege? They have never failed to keep their bargain on Medicaid or Medicare. But what if they do? Easy answer — states can opt out of the expanded services anytime without penalty, guaranteed by the U. S. Supreme Court.
Continuing this line of thinking in practical rather than moral terms — the uninsured show up in hospital emergency rooms and often have chronic conditions that go untreated. But if for Republicans the human cost in pain and suffering doesn’t matter, let’s talk economics. ER care is very expensive and we all pay for that with higher insurance rates. Untreated chronic conditions result in more ER care and lost wages. For example, an untreated diabetic may lose a foot and become unable to work.
Healthy people are happier, earn more, consume more, pay more taxes and make a contribution to the economy. Expanding Medicaid in New Hampshire is a win-win for everybody.
Hang on, here we go again
To the editor:
Once again, the Republicans in Congress are threatening real harm to the country if they don’t get their way. They say they will shut down the government or stop the U.S. from paying its debts, or both, unless the administration and congressional Democrats make more spending cuts like the disastrous sequester and agree to kill the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by defunding it — two bad ideas that require a letter all their own.
They seriously float the idea of not raising the debt ceiling even though it would mean that the U.S. will not be able to pay bills it already owes. That would be a clear signal to our trading partners and the rest of the world that we are fiscally unreliable and certainly not to be taken seriously as a world leader.
The negative effect on the global financial system of having the country that has been central to the world economy fail to pay its bills is hard to overstate; it could make our recent recession look like a walk in the park.
Shutting down the government would undoubtedly have the effect of slowing down the economy as it will stop all the economic activity of the government—lots of public sector employees out of work, private contractor work and payments stopped, truly an economic mess.
How can a political party that claims it wants create jobs through economic growth actually push for actions that would depress the economy and cost jobs? Easy — the whole right wing position is to destroy the government and somehow miraculously the market place will just make everything OK.
This is all of a piece with a record number of Senate filibusters and, in the House a refusal to bring legislation like the President’s jobs proposal to the floor for discussion and a vote. Make no mistake, the slow recovery isn’t because the president got things wrong. It’s because the Tea Party Republicans have refused to even debate, much less vote on, taking steps to provide jobs, support research, fix our infrastructure, and on and on.
The Republican avoidance of participation in governing is tearing apart the substance of our democratic system and threatens the economic viability of the country.