Obama's meaning was clear
I strongly disagree with Michael Smerconish's defense of the president ("The words Obama really said," Sunday). In context or out of context, President Obama's words have the same meaning, and I heard them loud and clear.
Obama denigrates and demonizes people like myself, who spent most of a lifetime building a business. The words imply that people who build businesses are separate and apart from the mainstream of society. He suggests that somehow entrepreneurs reap the benefits of the American system without having contributed to its cost of construction. Like many of my fellow businessmen, I paid millions of dollars in taxes — directly or indirectly — over the course of a more than 40-year career. I helped build those highways and bridges as much as anyone else. Like untold thousands of businesses, mine, at its peak, provided an income for 18 employees and their families, thereby contributing to the common good.
In choosing the words that he did, Obama characterized an entire group of Americans as selfish and ungrateful for the bounties this great nation has bestowed upon them. Our president is conducting the worst kind of class warfare.
Vote to restore the middle class
Kudos for publishing excerpts from The Betrayal of the American dream by Donald L. Bartlett and James B. Steele, depicting the policies that are crippling the middle class and leading to a two-class society, the wealthy and the poor. Too bad that many voters who are being squeezed by the policies of the rich actually vote to sustain them.
We know that corporations are not interested in creating jobs, but instead are interested in maximizing profits for their stockholders, even though that means shipping good jobs out of America. Yet we give them tax breaks with no strings attached. And we have a Supreme Court that protects corporations at the expense of the people. We also know that cutting taxes of the wealthy didn't work during the Reagan or George W. Bush years, as evidenced by the current recession, deficits, and loss of jobs. But because Washington is controlled by the wealthy, the theme of tax cuts for the wealthy prevails.
The French Revolution in the 18th century ended the rule of a greedy monarchy, which controlled the wealth and power at that time. We may not have a monarchy, but it is approaching an oligarchy within a democracy. However, we have the power to elect politicians who will restore the middle class through more favorable policies, instead of shooting ourselves in the foot by doing the opposite.
Defining the ‘American dream'
What, exactly, is the definition of "the American dream"? What expectations define the substance of this dream? Who is "the middle class"? Who is the "ruling class"?
Clearly, we are at a pivotal moment in our national and, arguably, international history. Virtually all of the bullet points outlined by Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele have been facilitated by chief executives and legislators past and present. The true ruling class?
Perhaps we should devote a bit less effort to polarizing rhetoric and more toward an open, unbiased dialogue to build and define national consensus and priorities. Or is such a thought merely a contemporary "American dream"?
Benefits of Bush tax cuts
Mark Zandi's statement on the Congressional Budget Office's estimate that the Bush-era tax cuts cost the U.S. Treasury $1.6 trillion during the 2000s is disingenuous ("Boost taxes on high earners," Sunday). Revenues to the Treasury increased after the Bush tax cuts, while the deficit increased because of the increase in spending.
In 2003, George W. Bush cut the dividend and capital gains rates to 15 percent each, and the economy responded. In two years, stocks rose 20 percent. In three years, $15 trillion of new wealth was created. Eight million new jobs were added from mid-2003 to early 2007, and the median household increased its wealth by $20,000 in real terms.
But the real jolt for tax-cutting opponents was that the '03 Bush tax cuts also generated a massive increase in federal tax receipts. From 2004 to 2007, federal tax revenues increased by $785 billion, the largest four-year increase in American history. According to the Treasury Department, individual and corporate income tax receipts were up 40 percent in the three years following the Bush tax cuts. And the rich paid an even higher percentage of the total tax burden than they had at any time in the previous 40 years.
Unfortunately, Bush allowed Congress to spend away those additional tax revenues. The revenue increase from the '03 tax cuts could have paid for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and then some, but for rampant discretionary domestic spending.
Public left holding the bag
Once again, the American public is left holding the bag ("Democrats' tax-cut plan clears the Senate," Thursday). The Republicans would have us believe that by taxing the wealthy we will somehow put a stop to job formation, as if every person who would pay more tax will have the ability, or the desire, to create jobs. But since these so-called job creators have not exactly been producing a boatload of jobs, it's easy to see that this "cause and effect" thinking is more than flawed.
Could the real reason for this disdain toward raising taxes on the wealthy be the unwillingness of Mitt Romney and the Republicans to anger the same people who are bankrolling their campaigns?
If we continue to believe that success is measured primarily by how much money or things we acquire, and that helping those in need is akin to redistributing wealth or socialism, then we run the risk of living in a society of "haves" and "have-nots," where greed is considered a virtue and the middle class will cease to exist.
Volunteer for outsourcing
Michael Busler, who supports outsourcing, should volunteer to have his job at Richard Stockton College outsourced ("The case for outsourcing," July 24). That way he would know what it was like to be unemployed and receive sympathy from his fellow Americans for being out of work. He would also get the satisfaction of knowing that the economy (according to his article), would eventually benefit from it.
There is nothing like a person who "walks the walk."
Deal with economic realities
In many respects, the article "No real disagreement on economy" (Sunday), which was buried in the business section, is one of the most important you've run in awhile. First, Republicans crashed the economy. Then they fought President Obama and even demonized his efforts, which were based on routine and standard economic policy, to fix it. Then they turn around and blame Obama, who merely saved the economy, perhaps from a depression, by refusing to adopt Republican austerity policies. As this column demonstrates, it is time to deal with facts, not ideological fantasy.
Clearing the record
An editorial Wednesday did not make clear that students living nearby would be assigned to the proposed KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy. All other Camden students would get first priority to attend it before a lottery could be held to fill any remaining seats.