The bus-monitor incident speaks to where we are and what we could continue to be as a nation: divided and intolerant. The United States is a great country, but we have to keep working on this greatness if we are to survive.
Barry Pollard, West Chester
Too bad if rich pay more in taxes
"Rich fear tax hikes, four more years of Obama," read the headline of Joseph N. DiStefano's June 25 column. Well, boo-hoo. These are not hikes at all. President Obama is allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire. Under the Bush cuts, the highest marginal tax rate was 35 percent. Obama wants to return the top marginal tax rate to the 39.6 percent it was under President Bill Clinton.
Under Clinton, peace and prosperity reigned. And he left office with a balanced budget. Under George W. Bush, the federal debt as a percentage of GDP ballooned in his last term. Millionaires and billionaires, who now whine about tax "increases," made even more money under Bush, often at the expense of middle- and working-class Americans. Plus, Obama inherited the worst economy since the Great Depression.
Sam Gugino, Philadelphia
Party above all for GOP
Usually, when one shines a light under a rock, the vermin scramble to hide. Yet recently, we found one on his feet, proudly proclaiming the truth.
House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R., Allegheny) was listing his party's legislative achievements — the castle doctrine, regulation of medical clinics offering abortion, and voter ID, which in his view would enable a Mitt Romney victory this fall. He seemed to admit that voter ID was not passed to eliminate voter fraud (that nonexistent "problem" in this or any state), but to win an election. They risked disenfranchising thousands of voters for mere political gain. If they cannot persuade a person on the merits, they'll simply take away that person's vote.
The future of our commonwealth, of our nation, is nothing but a sport to this ilk. They belive in party above all. We should be facilitating voting by all and engaging in healthy debate about ideas.
Stephen P. Ulan, Wynnewood
Repeal voter-ID law immediately
Critics of voter-ID laws have long argued that they are merely voter suppression laws. Apparently, House Majority Leader Mike Turzai agrees, and proudly. Whether one supports Mitt Romney, President Obama, a third-party candidate, or none of the above for president, anyone who supports democracy must call for a stop to this attack on voting rights. For the electoral results in Pennsylvania to be legitimate, the state's voter-ID law must be repealed or otherwise halted immediately.
Dan Alamia, Media
Generosity is not surprising
I'm not surprised that The Inquirer is surprised by Americans' giving nature ("Charity steps into the breach," Wednesday). The Editorial Board believes that all benevolence flows from government, and that citizens, if allowed to do what they want with their money, would hoard their limited income. I would only be caught off guard if people weren't giving to worthwhile charities.
We are the most generous society in the world, and by a large margin. Americans donate money, goods, and valuable time. We give to everything from the University of Pennsylvania to the thrift store that sells donated clothes to care for the needy. We give to the Salvation Army and the Philadelphia Orchestra, to food banks and our local churches. Look around and you'll see the generosity of your neighbors everywhere.
Believing in limited government doesn't mean believing in hungry people living destitute lives. We just choose to quietly address the problem and ask others to join us.
Fran Steffler, Philadelphia, firstname.lastname@example.org
Real facts about unions
The letter "Short of facts on unions" was so sadly wrong (June 17). Yes, union workers receive higher salaries than some nonunion workers, but that is the primary reason that all other workers also receive high salaries. Unions created the middle class.
Union workers do not receive "free" pensions and health care. Nothing is free. Pensions and health care are negotiated and earned in lieu of higher salaries or other benefits. Seventy-five percent of pension money comes from a person's paycheck, while 25 percent is earned through investments. The same with health care. We get it by sacrificing something else.
Taxpayers without unions should not complain about their lack of pensions and health care, or try to take those benefits away from union workers. Instead, they should work toward getting those things for themselves by forming their own unions. Tearing others down only takes all of us into the basement. Is that what we want? Or do we want to raise everyone up?
It is a myth that unions control everything from wages to work rules in government. True power is in the hands of the corporations that write the rules for our government.
It was not unions that bankrupted our country. It was Wall Street speculation, two unnecessary wars, and the tax cuts for the rich instituted under George W. Bush. Put the blame where it really belongs.
Michela Colosimo, Mount Laurel
Court oversteps on teen ‘lifers'
The editorial regarding the Supreme Court decision outlawing mandatory life sentences for teenagers lists many excellent reasons why this would make good law, but it never once used the word Constitution ("A welcome vote on teen ‘lifers'," June 26).
The Editorial Board seems to be unaware of the difference between "good" and "constitutional." No matter how good an idea it is, and no matter how many scientific reasons there are to limit these sentences, the simple fact remains that the Constitution does not require states to base their laws on science, nor to make only good laws.
The role of the court is not to require that laws be based only on good ideas or science, but on the Constitution. Once again, the court has overstepped its bounds.
Joseph Della-Peruta, Cherry Hill
Most transparent administration
I was appalled by the Michael Ramirez cartoon (Saturday) poking fun at the lack of transparency of the Obama administration. What a cheap shot! The first time President Obama declares executive privilege should not provoke any surprise. Some correspondence within the White House is private, and it would be inappropriate for the president to release everything. The fact is that this administration is, by all accounts, the most transparent in history.
Tom Hammer, Kennett Square, email@example.com