Looking closely at health plan
Robert McGaughey blames the Republican Party for not rubber-stamping a health care bill that will affect every American who already has health insurance in order to appease 36 million Americans without health care insurance("GOP tries to stop health care reform," Wednesday). We have no proof that number is correct, because it changes constantly depending upon whom you listen to. No one knows exactly how many are without health insurance, and it's a safe bet that the unknown number of illegal aliens is going to be included in that number also.
Does he not realize that most Americans are against having our entire health insurance system torn apart instead of simply fixing what's broken? Does he not realize that the Democratic Party is going to ram this bill down our throats whether we like it or not? To answer his query of what the Republicans offer, they offer smaller government, less taxation, less interference in the lives of those who take responsibility for themselves and their families and more freedom.
This country is in the trouble it's in because of the entitlement programs for those who want government supporting them from the womb to the tomb. I'm not a Republican, but I call it as I see it, and there is none so blind as those who will not see.
JOAN A. SQUITIERI
Let's hope Obama gets Afghanistan right
After months of accusations that he's been "dithering," the president has finally (partially) obliged a request by Gen. Stanley McChrystal for more troops to be deployed to Afghanistan.
Is Team Obama finally getting it right?
Has the president come to understand that while "hope" may have been a great slogan for his campaign, it is not an operational strategy for success in any "war of necessity"?
I hope so.
MICHAEL S. SMITH II
Property tax increase jolts retirees
Due to the recession, the value of my property has declined. Yet the taxes have rocketed.
My property taxes just went up $710. I would be happy if they were only $710, but that is how much they increased over last year. I thought the city and county promised that if we voted an increase in the sales tax, our property taxes would not go up. I am retired and on a fixed income. To cough up an unplanned $710 in addition to my already-high property taxes, for which I have budgeted, means I will be making some severe spending cuts. How does this help the sluggish economy?
These taxes are abusive to others, as well. I know of a house in Rosewood of about 1,000 square feet where the tax bill is almost $2,700 and another near Richland Mall that is about 800 square feet that is assessed $2,300. I assume tax bills are going up all over the city. Are we paying for the mismanagement of city funds for past years? Can we count on our new taxes being well-spent? Judging from past broken promises and costly mistakes, I doubt it. I feel I am being required to throw good money after bad.
Council on wrong road with airport study
Lexington County Council has approved spending $150,000 to study whether to expand Pelion Airport to make it capable of landing small corporate jets. How out of touch can these people be? Eight miles down the highway is a perfectly fine Columbia Metropolitan Airport that lands corporate jets very well, stores them, repairs them and sells gas and oil for them. These are troubled times. You have citizens dragging scrap metal down Bub Shumpert Road to make it passable because public works can't get out and scrape the potholes out of it.
I wish County Council would make the drive out to Pelion and travel some of our many sandy lanes and get their hub caps bounced off like those of us who live around their little multimillion-dollar playground do on a daily basis. Who do they think they are? Who do they think we are?
Looking for a fairer way to pay utilities
Let's get this straight: For services and use of water, cell phones, electricity, telephone, cable, etc., we pay a basic fee. If we go over the base usage for any of these, we pay for what we use. Fair, eh? Well, the East Richland County Public Service District just increased its rates from $45 to $57 for three months, which is probably understandable as everything has gotten more expensive. However, I (family of one) do have a problem with paying the same rate as the people next door (a family of six). When questioned as to why the district cannot charge for a base fee and actual usage, I was told it was too expensive to install meters. This is like going to a restaurant for a meal, and the four people at the next table pay the same price as the couple. What a deal.