Letters to the Editor

Posted: August 04, 2012

No real rebate

The story "Insurers to rebate $1.1 billion this year" (Tuesday), covering the refunds being sent out by the health-insurance companies, missed a key fact.

The insurance companies will be recovering those refunds by raising premiums. We received a refund from United Health a month ago, and this month we received a notice that our premium is going up by 17 percent. Within seven months, we will have paid back the amount of the refund.

All those individuals who are so happy that Obamacare has given them all that money need to be ready to give it right back.

The many benefits advertised that Obamacare will provide are not free. They will be paid for by higher premiums and the new taxes included in Obamacare.

Rick Wozniak, Collegeville

Suspect's death

Having the chief law enforcement officer of Bucks County investigate and clear an officer for shooting and killing an unarmed, handcuffed, emotionally disturbed suspect who was merely acting strange is a little like Charlie Manuel calling balls and strikes at a Phillies game ("Officer is cleared in fatal shooting," Tuesday).

James Famiglio, Ardmore

Act 13 too much

The Commonwealth Court is spot on in declaring parts of Act 13 unconstitutional ("Parts of Pa.'s drilling law found unconstitutional," July 27). This law allowed local zoning to be overridden to the benefit of oil and natural gas drillers and at the expense of our health and our environment.

Act 13 went way too far, allowing companies to drill anywhere, including near homes, schools, and hospitals, no matter what local zoning laws said about industry in those areas. By declaring parts of the act unconstitutional, judges are showing that they believe this process is dangerous and that such general allowances should not be in effect.

Considering the current conservative state government, this court decision is a huge step in the right direction. Now Pennsylvanians must push for Act 13 to be struck down by a higher court, so that another step backward does not occur.

Kyra Reumann-Moore, Philadelphia

Orchestra woes

There are probably many subtle reasons for our Philadelphia Orchestra's precipitous decline of 40 percent while the other five largest orchestras, as a group, suffered no loss of audience for their subscription series ("Audiences' support is needed to maintain a great orchestra," Sunday). It has been downhill, writes orchestra chairman Richard B. Worley, since Riccardo Muti.

Can it be that the dreary Kimmel Center and the problematic Verizon Hall have something to do with the broad-based disaffection? Let us recall that, before Muti, the Academy of Music was regarded as one of the greatest music halls of the world, right up there with La Scala. The "Philadelphia Sound" was crafted in our wonderful Academy, and it was universally acclaimed until Muti began agitating for a new hall, complaining that our acoustics were flawed. Thus began the long and painfully costly process of designing and building the sad edifice we have today, where no one, least of all the musicians, seems to be happy with the sound. And it is homely and cheerless as well.

The orchestra's recent performance at its old Academy reminded many of just how wonderful the sound could be and what a lovely experience it is to hear our beloved music in a beautiful and elegant hall.

Alvin Holm, Philadelphia

The 1%'s share

The idea that the top 1 percent is not paying its fare share is based on inaccurate information. The Congressional Budget Office recently prepared a report entitled "The Distribution of Household Income and Federal Taxes, 2008 and 2009." This report covers the most recent income and tax data available.

In 1979, the top 1 percent earned 8.9 percent of the nation's income and paid 14.2 percent of all federal taxes. However, in 2009, they earned 13 percent of the nation's income and paid 22 percent of the federal tax burden.

Arthur Horn, East Windsor

Guns and rights

I believe I have the constitutional right to own reasonable amounts and types of guns ("What we should fear after Aurora," Tuesday). I should not have the right to own whatever I please. I should not have the right to order thousands of rounds of ammunition over the Internet. Nor should I have the right to own handheld weapons of mass destruction, such as the AR-15 that was used in the recent massacre in Colorado. There are weapons in civilian circulation today that would make World War II commanders green with envy.

Despite what gun proponents say, reasonable gun-control legislation is not synonymous with gun confiscation. Most of our political leaders do not have the political will or courage to rein in the gun carnage that happens daily throughout our country. We will hear a lot of noise the next few weeks because of what happened in Colorado, and then, like so many other times, the noise will go away until the next massacre.

Paul S. Bunkin, Turnersville

Gun markets

Charles Lane has it all wrong ("Aurora was made in Europe," July 25). The suspect's Glock may have been made in Austria, but the Second Amendment and the National Rifle Association (plus the gunman's AR-15) are definitely made in America.

As long as legislatures refuse to regulate civilian firearms and ammo, the Austrians — or anybody else — are free to sell their murderous wares here. That's capitalism. Face it, we have a huge market for this stuff. It's not just wackos who need these weapons. Drug dealers and wiseguys need them, too.

Aurora is but the latest outrage proving how we need more regulation, but we'll get it only over the NRA's dead body. That's because, as we all know, guns don't kill people. Except when they do.

Joseph W. McGuire, Mount Laurel, mcguirejw@comcast.net

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