When George H. Bush came into office, our national debt was around 5 trillion dollars. The same year there was a tax cut and we started two wars. A decision was made to borrow the money to fight the wars and rebuild the countries. When he left office there was 5 trillion dollars additional debt, making the total national debt around 11 trillion dollars.
The national debt has risen to around 17 trillion dollars under President Obama or around 6 trillion increase (thanks in part to recession). Can our democracy reverse this trend? There was no national debt for the first 150 years after our government was established.
Most of our legislators and members of our executive branch of government are very successful with their personal financial programs, but they are not always successful in group decisions for our country.
No democracy can survive long-term unless it has the courage to tax itself enough to pay expenses.
Not many voters in Fort Oglethorpe are feeling the sunshine. Sunlight makes us feel warm, safe, aware of our surroundings.
The actions of the city council on March 22, nicknamed the March 22 Massacre, cast a shadow over our city.
We feel dismay, confusion, anger, distrust. What happened and why -- the city manager resigned and the interim city manager fired two department heads within minutes.
Explanations offered by the mayor and council who voted for these actions seem weak and petty.
Consider the legal actions taken by city employees, former city employees and citizens of Fort Oglethorpe: charges of numerous charter violations, hostile workplace environment, sexual harassment, Department of Labor hearings over unemployment compensation. These council actions and citizen concerns have attracted negative attention from the Georgia state legislature.
These concerns and the recent actions of this city council do not offer a vision of stability and forward movement to attract new businesses, new residents and economic growth.
Fort Oglethorpe has unlimited growth ahead if placed in the hands of forward-thinking candidates. This is the time for voters to stand together for change.
GERRY DEPKEN, Fort Oglethorpe
Many Americans were amazed when the country ran budget surpluses for the last four years of the Clinton administration, and many more were amazed that the surpluses ended with President Bush's first budget. Now we're trying again to balance revenues and expenditures, with the deficit already cut in half since Bush's last budget, which included the $800 billion Wall Street bailout.
Congressman Chuck Fleischmann in his Oct. 26 guest commentary, "Tax and spend; still the choice", finds the wrong balance. He considers 2011 spending cuts of $2.1 trillion inadequate, and wants to cut Medicare and Medicaid spending next. He calls $620 billion in new revenues in 2013 a "massive" tax increase, and will accept nothing more. Meanwhile Mitt Romney still pays a lower tax rate than people who work a full year to earn as much money as Romney makes in a day.
Federal government revenue has been below 16 percent of GDP for President Obama's entire time in office, a number so low that the last time it happened was when Harry Truman was president. Is it realistic to imagine that we can balance the budget with revenues that are so much lower than they were the last time the budget was balanced?
ROBERT L. FAST
In the snake pit of politics in Washington D.C., it is refreshing when a member of Congress makes a decision based upon the good of the nation as well as the good of his/her constituents. That is exactly what Sen. Lamar Alexander did recently when he voted in the Continuing Resolution to essentially raise the ceiling on the Olmsted Locks and Dam project located in Illinois and Kentucky so that work on the project can continue. Sen. Alexander showed strong fiscal leadership by voting to include the authorization provision to raise the cost-cap (and not to appropriate any actual dollars) on the Olmsted project so as not to risk the loss of 400 American jobs and $160 million in restart costs to taxpayers should the project have shut down.
The Olmsted project, when completed, will return more than $410 million annually in transportation cost-savings and benefits when it is finished, and has a staggering 7.4-to-1 benefit-cost-ratio/return on investment to the nation, as determined by a report approved by Congress.
The Olmsted project is at the top of a list of 24 priority lock and dam projects, with the critically important Chickamauga Lock, located in Chattanooga, behind it on the list at number 3. Delaying work at Olmsted means delaying work at Chickamauga, losing Tennessee jobs, and seeing higher costs for Tennessee consumers.
Sen. Alexander should be lauded for smartly working for the fiscal good of the country and for the state of Tennessee rather than be criticized by those who either don't understand the difference between an authorization and an appropriation, or by those who do and simply wish to voice views as they slither from the pit.
MICHAEL J. TOOHEY, President/CEO, Waterways Council, Inc.
Citizens of Fort Oglethorpe, you have a right to be concerned. Walker, Hamm nor Kissner stood before the people in Fort Oglethorpe during the debates. All were invited and had the chance to face before the people and chose not to. The good people were well represented by Stinnett, Gray, Crawford and Chastain, who did great jobs during the debate. Now a mailer has been sent out with several deceptions and lies including that Stinnett, Gray and Crawford want to give the Fire Department to Catoosa County. I was at the debate and heard all four candidates express the desires to keep the Fire Department in Fort Oglethorpe. People beware of the dirty politics being played in our city. It's been going on way too long. Get out and vote.
DAVID BETTY, Rossville
David Cook's recent column regarding the problem of drug shortages affecting executions in Tennessee illustrates just why we need to end capital punishment in this country. Not for moral reasons but for economic ones. We have gone so far overboard in terms of the time and resources that it takes to see a case to its conclusion that it is no longer a deterrent to crime. The average time between sentencing and execution is over 15 years. The real problem is that we are not willing to accept the possibility of executing the innocent. No justice system is perfect. The innocent have been executed since long before Jesus Christ. Society has to be willing to accept a minimal number of failures for the overall public good. But the death penalty does society little good without the element of deterrence. Another problem is that we have allowed anti-death penalty judges to redefine what is considered cruel and unusual punishment. That we can't do it because of a shortage of drugs is a joke. Our pharmacies are filled with lethal drugs. The electric chair was a deterrent! Now, the benefit that society derives from capital punishment is just not worth the cost.
KEVIN H. ROBERTS
In reference to the article in your paper "Same sex couples challenge Tennessee marriage laws", I can't help but be surprised that Tennessee is still banning gay marriage. After the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act last year, I was sure that the states would follow suit, yet Tennessee is lagging far behind.
I don't want to say gay rights are on par with the Civil Rights movement, but I think its a fair comparison given that the argument here is over an individual's rights being infringed upon by the government.
I think it is high time Tennessee recognized same sex marriages and extended the same rights and privileges to all human beings. I don't want to be remembered as the state 50 years from now that history books call discriminatory and behind the times. Gays are people just like us "normal" people -- often times better people that heterosexuals. It is ridiculous that they should have to go through so much unnecessary trouble and pain just to have a family and live a happy life.