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Published: Friday, 1/16/2009

Infrastructure is in place for production

Our economic woes both locally and nationally are a direct result of misguided government intervention.

Nationally, when America came of age and anyone who wanted to work could find a job with bennies and retirement, our government gave carte blanche to any country that wanted to sell its goods here, all under the banner of "free trade." This totally undermined the middle class that took so many years to develop.

Locally, suburban governments have siphoned off any businesses left with tax incentives and the lure of newer infrastructure to where now, few jobs exist in the cities that once thrived with the working middle class.

Keith Wilkowski, who's running for mayor on the platform of bringing "high tech" jobs to Toledo, should consider "low tech" jobs too. Imagine a shoe factory, a fishing reel plant, a plant that makes toasters or hand tools right here in Toledo. Most high school grads don't aspire to be rocket scientists. The majority of Americans want jobs where they can earn a living wage and raise their families with dignity without the fear of having their job gone because of the bottom line.

This can all be accomplished if nationally our government puts an end to the "free trade" "free-for-all" by demanding "fair trade" in the form of tariffs so that we can compete on a level playing field. Locally, the infrastructure already exists for manufacturing in Toledo. All we need to do is get the businesses and fire 'em up and have the suburbs back off. They've already stolen a good chunk of what America used to be.

Unfortunately, most Americans will gladly buy American goods. Just give us a chance to buy them first. And how about a chance at a decent-paying job making them too?

Matthew Golkiewicz

Petersburg, Mich.

Capitalism as practiced in America means the strong legally stealing from the weak if unsupervised. Case in point: when oil was at $140 a barrel, gas sold at $4.25. Oil companies experienced astronomical profits and put trillions in the bank at the nation's expense during those times.

Now with America struggling with the biggest economic challenge since the 1930s that may ruin us yet, oil companies are realizing a 33 percent higher rip-off profit than they got away with when gas was at $4.25 per gallon.

Do the math; the world oil price recently was $48 per barrel. At the same gasoline rate of profit as with $140 oil to $4.25 gasoline, the $48 price per barrel oil should equate to $1.45 per gallon gasoline. But they were bolder than ever and selling gasoline at $1.99 per gallon.

It can be argued that the oil companies' greed started this economic mess by accelerating if not causing the first dominoes to fall. People had to choose between gassing up the car to get to work and everything else. They are not helping now and are far more despicable because of the enormity of the profiteering.

Just like the banks, Wall Street, health care, and the auto industry, big business can't be trusted to do the right thing on its own. It needs need to be regulated by the government.

PUCO regulates our natural gas and electrical energy industries in Ohio and controls the profits of those private companies. Why is the oil market handled any differently? It is equally important and as we have seen can be far more devastating to the economy when controlled by the unscrupulous.

W.F. Hoffmann

Elmore

I am writing to you in regard to the Jan. 2 guest editorial from the Columbus Dispatch titled "Kowtowing to the NRA."

It said that $55 for a five-year conceal-carry license is not enough to cover administrative expenses and that it should be raised to $67 or citizens will have to make up the difference.I have a better solution: eliminate the license altogether.The Second Amendment and the Supreme Court have given me the right to keep and bear arms.The state says I have to have a license but for only one reason: another source of income for the counties.

The mayor of Toledo thought that the city would havea $2 million to $3 million dollar deficit.With bookkeeping like that, fees will never be high enough to license your gun or your dog.

Frank Koczorowski

Graytown

As supporters of the Smoke Free Workplace Act, Ohio's doctors can attest that the measure has improved the health conditions of restaurant, bar, and club employees as well as the general public by not forcing them to breathe harmful secondhand smoke in public places. Secondhand smoke kills thousands of Americans from heart disease every year. Smoking also causes cancer, stroke, and emphysema, as well as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Ohioans have approved and continue to support the smoking ban. More than 2 million Ohio voters overwhelmingly passed the statewide initiative in 2006. A survey one year later showed that 80 percent of voters still support the law.

Despite the public health benefits and support from Ohioans, some state lawmakers attempted to chip away at the statewide smoking ban in 2008. Senate Bill 346 would have provided an exemption from the law for family-owned businesses, those operating in freestanding building, patios and private clubs. Last month, the Ohio General Assembly acted wisely in rejecting this legislation.

This does not mean Ohioans can "breathe" a sigh of relief as the new legislature takes office. There will be other attempts to carve away at a good law which safeguards the health of Ohioans. The Ohio State Medical Association urges lawmakers to think about the best interest of the public health of the people of our state. Allow Ohioans a chance to breathe easier in 2009. Keep the statewide smoking ban in place as is.

Warren F. Muth, MD

President

Ohio State Medical Association

Hilliard, Ohio

Are the leaders of the two major political parties and the men and women of the media so enamored and head-over-heels in love with Barack Obama that they cannot bring themselves to question the plan of the president-elect to provide hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks while spending trillions of dollars in corporate and private bailouts?

While it has been proven that reducing the tax rates can stimulate the economy and thus actuallyincrease the amount of revenue coming into the federal coffers, it is not going to happenwhen coupled with trillions of dollars of increased spending. In reality, there is only a finite amount of wealth and if it is being spent on questionable bailouts, it will not be available to stimulate the economy through normal private-sector spending.

The kind of government intervention Mr. Obama proposes is precisely what has gotten us into our current economic predicament. Had the Utopian-big-government thinkers not dreamed up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and altered banking regulations to promote subprime adjustable-rate mortgages to those who could not afford them, there would have been no housing bubble to burst and cause the nationwide collapse of financial institutions.

Contrary to what academia would have us believe, big-time government spending did nothasten the end of the Great Depression of the 1930sand will not end the current recession. So soon after the election, the flaws of Mr. Obama's proposals are not yetapparent to those who matter since, after all, love is blind.

John M. Stewart

Maumee

Well, people of Toledo, you passed every levy on the November ballot. Have you taken a good look at the January property tax statement? Are your property taxes escrowed into your house payment? Get ready for your house payment to go up.

Are you renting or leasing? Get ready for your rent to go up. You got what you voted for. Have fun at COSI, if you can afford the not-for-free parking downtown.

Earl Nowak

Claradale Road



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