Pass health care and move on
Overheard in a convenience store in rural South Carolina, a middle-aged working class lady, with a broad smile on her face, saying with pride: "This is the first decent job I've had where I earned a paid vacation." I was moved by that, and it makes me more determined than ever to do whatever I can to advocate for resolution of health care reform so that we can address the critical job situation with greater intensity.
American workers need not only jobs but decent jobs and the right to organize, even in a right-to-work state such as South Carolina.
This is another reason I urge liberals and moderates both to get off your high horses, bite the bullet and negotiate seriously for health care reform legislation by Jan. 20 - progress, not perfection. Let's move on to jobs. including the travesty of outsourcing.
Republicans have offered health plans
Democrats continue to tell us that the Republicans don't have a health care plan and want to stop reform so the health insurance companies won't have additional competition. Well, they lie.
Republicans have offered a number of health care bills (HR2520, HR03217, HR3218 and HR3400 to name a few), but the Democrats have refused to let any of them get out of committees. They also continue to vote down Republican amendments to Democrats' bills.
Republicans are for competition. There are more than 1,300 health insurance companies in this country. Because insurance companies cannot compete across state lines, only a few companies are allowed to compete in each state. Republicans have repeatedly proposed that insurance companies be allowed to compete across state lines, and Democrats have voted down these measures. Allowing 1,300 companies to compete nationwide cannot be looked upon as maintaining the status quo.
Next time you go to the doctor, look for a sign that says, "We are not taking any new Medicaid or Medicare patients." If so many doctors feel that way now, how many more will feel that way when Medicare reimbursements are cut by $500 billion? What good will the Medicare benefits be if you cannot find anyone to provide them to you?
CHARLES E. JOHNSON
Lawmakers should consider their ways
A message from the distant past to our legislators considering the impeachment of our governor: He who has not sinned, cast the first vote.
REV. BENJAMIN B. SMITH
President's economic fix isn't enough
Recently President Obama announced a plan to address the high unemployment rate in our nation. Cut taxes for small businesses, eliminate their capital gains tax for a year, speed up infrastructure projects, give rebates to homeowners who refit their homes to improve energy efficiency, use TARP money to allow expansion of these programs. It is a good action plan.
Meanwhile, the Republicans want to wait and see if the current stimulus package aimed at job creation is working.
The president's programs are good, but they are not good enough. We are in an unemployment emergency with 10 percent to 15 percent or more of our work force not at work. Our focus must be on direct aid, now, to save or add jobs to our economy. How about direct aid to beleaguered state and local governments? How about the creation of a version of the CCC or WPA as in the Roosevelt era?
Yes, to deal with this economic crisis and put people to work will cost several hundred billion dollars that will increase our already-huge federal deficit. But the revenue from a healthy job-filled economy will recover the cost. We must think of our current spending on job creation as an investment.
ROBERT J. WILDE
Remembering the battle of Chosin
Fifty-nine years ago this month, elements of the U.S. First Marine Division, U.S. Army Seventh Infantry Division, a unit of British Royal Marine Commandos and some other supporting units broke out of a large trap designed and developed by the Chinese Communist Army to annihilate all United Nations Forces.
The Chinese surrounded us with more than 120,000 troops. There were only about 19,000 U.N. Marines and soldiers. Of the estimated 12 Chinese divisions, only four were healthy enough to re-enter the battles later in the war.
There were 17 Medals of Honor, many Navy Crosses and more than 10,000 Purple Hearts awarded as a result of that battle, later called the Chosin Reservoir campaign.
I haven't seen any articles, stories or even mention of the Korean War, other than giving notice that on June 25, 1950, the North Koreans had invaded South Korea.
I'm beginning to understand why Korea is known as the Forgotten War, and now I feel like adding overlooked and ignored.
HAROLD F. SLAWSON
Chosin Reservoir Survivor