Below are excerpts of e-mail responses to the July 14 “Twin Pack” questions (an abbreviated version of “Half a Six Pack” and “Six Pack to Go”). Each question has five responses from readers. (Sorry, but Russ serves as the “gatekeeper” — he determines the five answers to accompany each question.) In order to make this a reader-friendly feature, some lengthy answers submitted by readers may have been shortened.
1) With all of the corporate accounting shenanigans in recent months, wouldn't President Bush's proposal to privatize Social Security go over about as well as Hillary Clinton's pitch for national health care? I think you would have seen a revolution by now if Social Security money had been in the stock market. Those CEOs would have a heckuva time trying to fight off an army of seniors. Bet you will never hear that proposal again (at least not before the next election). Let's not even think of privatizing Social Security at the moment. We have had periods before of corporate scandal and great fluctuation in the stock market. Now is not the time to change. Instead, we should look at ways to ensure the continuing benefits of future beneficiaries. You betcha. And this corporate greed and crime is not going away overnight, so he or someone better come up with another plan. The privatization plan is dead, at least for the foreseeable future. Absolutely! Not that I truly trust the government, but the NYSE is worse and there are no guarantees. Maybe it's the skeptic in me, but some things make sense and some things don't. National health care makes sense (I cringe at insurance execs living in mansions while their companies deny life-saving procedures) — too much of the health-care dollar is spent on personnel who do nothing but argue with paper-pushers at the insurance company and not on health care! Privatizing retirement savings into unsecured stock funds doesn't make sense — think ENRON. I always wondered what the reaction would have been had a lot of people put their money in the stock market instead of Social Security and the market would have gone down. Would the government have covered the losses? Could you sue for losses? I'm certain someone would have tried.
2) From a reader: Won't we soon be referring to our current war as “the mess in Afghanistan”? I think it is already a “mess.” And what a “mess” it is. I know we always have to fight everyone else's wars, but I'm really getting tired of this one — it's never ending, apparently. Now George W. is admitting that they don't know if bin Laden is dead or alive, if you can believe him anymore, and my confidence level in him is slipping more and more each day. Does anyone remember how we got into that “mess”? I'm more concerned about the post-Afghan mess in the administration. Looks like we exchanged Osama bin Laden's threat for Ayatollah Ashcroft's. The White House's “over the hill gang” can't shoot straight. The Afghani mess, the economy/stock market, and Bush's personal dealings, among other things, could strip off the Teflon that was created by the circumstances of 9/11. The Democrats should be very hard at work right now. Just ask the Russians how they made out in Afghanistan. Enough said.
It's hard to judge downtown on the basis of one good day. Having said that, I do feel that we are making progress one day at a time, one project at a time. The big question is: What will it take to bring people downtown on ANY given day? What will it take to restart a meaningful retail component to the picture? I thought the statement by the head of the SeaGate Convention Centre was very interesting — he said that if we enlarged the center, he could promise an additional 40 events per year. Couple that with quality residential areas downtown, and we may be on our way. The residential aspect is very important to me. These are the people who are the automatic customers of downtown enterprise. Very nice column about the positive influences of pedestrians in a city. Yes, people make a city come alive. Good column today. However, I still have reservations about the viability and excitement of downtown Toledo. I think it has potential and a lot going for it already, but one July 4th celebration does not a downtown make. Better hope your friend never stops by on a normal Toledo evening. As much as I hate to say it, I think the only thing that will ever liven up downtown is a huge waterfront casino. Don't see it ever happening, though. Great column today. I love being able to say nice things about Toledo and do at every given opportunity. Doubly nice that someone like you, not a native, nor a longtime resident, is willing to speak up for his adopted community. Keep pluggin'.
As I am involved in the restaurant business to a certain degree, I am saddened again with the loss of three locally owned and operated establishments in one week. I wish there was a way to communicate to Toledoans to urge them to support the local owners. Those dollars being spent on the innumerable chain places are going out of town and out of state. Once again, we have come to expect only the ordinary in our selection of eating establishments and the portion controlled, made by the numbers, corporate-mandated menus that thrive here. Loved an article in the Washington Post that reported Democratic Congressmen boarded corporate-supplied jets to whisk them off to a summit. This was on the heels of the same group raining against big business! Bringing Phil Donahue back to television is an interesting experiment. According to The Blade yesterday, he says liberals are “scary.” He calls Paul Begala and James Carville “centrists.” Now, that IS scary. I can see the political “experts” that he'll have on his show. They'll be such brilliant minds as Martin Sheen, Sean Penn, Alec Baldwin, and maybe even Rosie herself. My guess is that his first show will have a pretty good rating, then it will tank. I might even watch it myself, once. I enjoy your questions each week in Sunday's Blade. Let me ask you, “Doesn't it seem like the political parties have flip-flopped over the last 25 years, with Democrats being the party of fiscal responsibility and the Republicans becoming the War Party?” Rain, rain, come our way.