Principles of democracy in doubt


In 1979, the United States had a robust gross domestic product and standard of living, and there seemed to be a fair distribution of wealth. The top U.S. tax rate for the highest earners was 70 percent (“Nowhere men,” editorial, Dec. 2).

In 2001, President George W. Bush signed a series of tax rate cuts that dropped the top U.S. income tax rate from 39.6 percent to 35 percent.

Faced with a dire need to balance the federal budget, Congress is attempting to find a middle ground. Democrats are agreeing to spending cuts in exchange for returning the top tax rate to the pre-Bush level for the top 1 percent of earners in this country. The middle class has been in steady decline.

Why can’t the constituents of refuse-to-compromise members of Congress realize that the measures they support benefit only 1 percent of the public? Is our democracy allowing those in this small percentage, who wield so much power and manipulative control, a free hand to guide this country in a direction that suits them?

The very principles of democracy are in question here.

Bill Reisner
Swanton Township

Job news worse than presented
Reading your Dec. 3 article “U.S. jobless rate drops to lowest in 2½ years,” I at first was led to believe that in November the private sector added 140,000 jobs while the government shed 20,000 jobs, for a net gain of 120,000 jobs.

Later in the article, I learned that 315,000 unemployed people have given up searching for employment. Isn’t that a net loss of 195,000 jobs?

Yet the unemployment rate went down to 8.6 percent? Only liberal media, liberal economists, and the uniformed American people would view this as positive news.

Another statistic came out last week that never found its way into the liberal media. President Obama now has the worst job approval rating of any president at this point of his tenure in modern political history, according to a Gallup poll. President George W. Bush’s low approval ratings found a spot on the front page of The Blade frequently.

For all my Democrat and liberal friends who use The Blade, the New York Times, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, and CBS as their sources for news and consider themselves part of the open-minded crowd, I have a bridge to sell them.

Rob Kegerreis
Berkey, Ohio

Seneca courthouse razing a mistake
Seneca County commissioners will have the county’s historic 1884 courthouse demolished within days (“Seneca board, foes renew courthouse clash,” Dec. 6). What a monumental mistake.

One of the contractors who may salvage irreplaceable artifacts from the building said: “It’s kind of depressing because it’s such a nice building.” This is from a man who makes his living wrecking things.

County Commissioner Ben Nutter thinks this is the financially responsible way to deal with the decaying courthouse. If he and Commissioner Jeff Wagner think they’ll build a modern courthouse that will last for 127 years, they are mistaken.

Buildings of modern construction are built to last less than half that time. And any new structure will not have the elegance or historic importance of what stands in the center of Tiffin now.

The commissioners should realize that the quality of the courthouse they tear down, or leave behind, will be remembered long after the price is forgotten.

David Beck

Courthouse news oversaturating
The Seneca County courthouse — enough already.

Rich Pilatowski
Petersburg, Mich.

Downtown plan needs to be bolder
The 2011 Toledo Downtown Plan serves only the hubris of business coalitions centered at Madison Avenue and Hudson Street (“A walk in the park,” editorial, Oct. 26). East Toledo and other areas may as well be foreign countries.

The plan recommends replacing surface parking lots with commercial buildings, shops, parking garages, and concrete malls. It’s a rehash of previous plans that resulted in massive vacancies.

Why do planners want more concrete to bang their heads against? If Westfield Franklin Park mall is a successful concentration of businesses, the plan should emulate its success.

Make parking free. Convert the crumbling surface lots to grassy parking areas, to buffer pollution runoff to our estuaries and for tailgating.

The city should enforce its lighting and paving ordinances for owners of private lots and prohibit price-gouging for special events. Would free, well-lighted parking have prevented the exodus of Owens-Illinois?

Classic buildings renovated into townhouses should provide residential parking that does not subtract from visitor parking.

Most important, the plan should serve the indigent. It should have provisions for crop gardens to sustain people and nature, public shelters with restroom facilities, and food and clothing distribution points for the needy.

If history marks society by its treatment of the impoverished, Toledo should stand proudly as a city of, by, and for the people.

Thomas Names
Wendover Drive

Democrats, GOP need to change
As the Obama Administration promotes socialism, it spends money it does not have. It needs to borrow money to spend it. That’s stupid.

The super committee, with members of both parties, was formed to find a way to reduce our debt, now more than $15 trillion. It failed to agree to a plan. That’s shameful.

Democrats want to tax the super-rich. Republicans want to offer tax incentives. Democrats promote growth through government; Republicans, through private investment and business.

Government is a big business, and it’s time to save and cut. Cut salaries and pensions: 5 percent now and 1 percent for the next five years. All dollars saved would go toward repaying the debt.

Which side has the courage to attempt it? Which side will reduce spending?

When we have less debt, we spend more, which is good for the economy.

It’s time for people to change attitudes, means, and ways.

John Wieck
Pinestead Drive

Congress should emulate military
Congress views itself as separate from America. Until lawmakers are willing to set aside differences and work together, America is going to be stuck in neutral, eventually sliding into reverse.

Congress should take a lesson from the U.S. military. The President is the commander in chief. Members of the military may not agree with him, but they give him the respect due his office.

Despite political, religious, and ethnic differences within the ranks, members of the Armed Forces pull together to become the driving force needed to strengthen America.

If Congress would work together as our military does, American would heal and strengthen.

Pam Meeks

To save money, bring troops home
To save money, tie President Obama to his desk in the Oval Office and ground Air Force One. We need a President, not a tourist, in the White House. It costs millions of dollars to fly Air Force One around the world.

Bring all American troops back to the United States and close all of our foreign bases. We would not want armed foreign troops based in the United States.

Fred Krumm
Hannaford Drive

To fix country, hire returning vets
It has been suggested that our troops will find it hard to find jobs after they return home from service (“GOP should pass jobs bill for vets,” Readers’ Forum, Oct. 27).

Let’s hope that some of the money we send to other countries can be put to use in our country to fix reservoirs and clean river bottoms, creeks, and other places where flooding occurs almost every year.

Veterans deserve jobs. Our government should help them.

Michael Fortunato
Dana Street