History of GOP fear mongering

Critics called it "a cruel hoax and a delusion," a socialist program that would compete with private insurers and kill jobs. If it passes, Americans will feel "the lash of the dictator" and "end the progress of a great country."

One New York Repubican representative said, "Never has any measure been so insidiously designed to prevent business recovery, to enslave workers." We were told that to cooperate with it would be "complicity in evil."

Am I describing the outcry against Obamacare?

No. Those quotes are from prominent Repubican opponents of Social Security in 1935 and Medicare in 1965. Same party as today, though. Same fear mongering, same predictions the sky would fall if America extends a hand to its most needy.

And now today's Republicans must slouch back to their districts and explain why a bill that prevents insurers from refusing you or canceling you if you get sick is somehow the work of the devil.

In fact, they're already at it. Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele has just unveiled his new Web site featuring Nancy Pelosi engulfed in flames.

Ken Shilling

Walla Walla

Use 401k as model for nation

Given the huge successes of the 401k programs and the Health Savings Account programs, where individuals take responsibility for their own retirement and health expenses, and given the sharp contrast to the government's Social Security and Medicare programs that are totally not working, it appears it would behoove us to take a closer look at how these successful programs could be used to solve the problems of the programs that are not working.

If the trillions of dollars that will be wasted on the expanded government involvement in the same unsuccessful Social Security and Medicare programs would instead be redirected into helping America's young workers continue paying Social Security until it can be phased out while putting at least $100 a month into their own 401k program then they would have over a $1 million in their own 401k accounts when they retire.

If they can put $200 a month into their own 401ks then they will have $2.3 million when they retire. Contrast this with the dollars we throw away into the Social Security program that keeps coming back to us for more money.

A new 401k/HSA may be initiated to help individuals cover insurance premiums. In either case, we are putting the money back into the individual's control and fixing a huge looming financial retirement and Medicare time bomb at the same time.

What surprises me most is that members of Congress have the 401k retirement program and the HSA accounts themselves and I don't understand why they are not clamoring to figure out ways to make these programs work for America since they have first-hand knowledge of how successful these programs have been.

Our Founding Fathers never planned on a career Congress, let's help them out in November.

Jim Weaver


Accusations by writers hurtful

I am writing in response to the two letters that have been submitted regarding the devastating house fire on Second Avenue.

In the first letter the writer explains she is an animal lover and how this family should have the same regard for its pets as it does its family. That house fire was at the home of my sister's family.

I can tell you the people in this family are animal lovers and take very good care of their animals. It was a tragic loss for them to lose all they had in their home, but more tragic was the loss of their cat, Annabell.

I sat in my backyard with my sister that evening watching her cry for the loss of Annabell. I heard her tell many people who called to offer their sympathy that they had lost a family member in that fire when they lost Annabell.

I watched my youngest nephew cry and cry over the loss of his best friend. I don't know if her letter was directed to the Union-Bulletin or my family, but I would hope as an animal lover she is also a lover of the human race and would not write such a letter in this time of grief and despair.

There was another letter written stating it was someone leaving an iron on that caused this event and not Annabell.

That person is right. I don't believe Annabell did cause this fire. I also am not sure the investigation is complete. If I, as a family member, am not aware of the exact cause as of yet, how can a reader be?

But if it was the iron, who never made a mistake in his or her life?

I understand why we have the readers' opinions and I, too, love to read them. However as you write a letter and you pour out your heart and your feelings into that letter, will you please try to remember there may be a family on the other end who is still grieving a loss of something?

In this case, I have a young nephew who is still suffering because he lost his best friend. Think about if this happened to you. Would you want to read these letters pointing fingers and making accusations about your family? I think not.

Jami Smylie

Walla Walla

Guns, spas and religion?

Wow. If semiautomatic rifles for the men and a day trip to the spa for the little missus is what it takes to get men into church, atheism is not looking so bad. Jesus wept.

Dorothy O'Brien

Walla Walla

Properly care for your pets

There are those of us who cherish our pets and take care of them. There are those who do not.

Then there are those who allow their animals to run all over the neighborhood to the extent of killing someone's treasured pet. We should cherish our pets, know where they are at all times. Please properly restrain your animals, be it a tie-out or preferably a fenced yard. This is for their safety as well as everyone else's and other pets.

If you cannot properly care for an animal, then you shouldn't have it.

Please spay and neuter to avoid unwanted births. It's healthier for your pet, too.

Get regular vet checks and vaccinations.

License your animal. And have proper identification on your pet so if they become lost they can be returned home. Support your local Humane Society in all ways possible. It provides a greatly needed service to us all. I want to acknowledge the Blue Mountain Humane Society for their prompt response to our recent situation.

And people, please give to your pets what they give to you - never ending love and devotion. They can't care for themselves, that's why they have you.

Rebecca Wolfe

Walla Walla

Drivers need to look both ways

I was almost run over by two separate cars in the first three minutes of a recent run. In both cases the drivers were turning right at stop signs without first looking right.

I walk, run and bike a lot in Walla Walla, and most drivers are very courteous. But I regularly have near-collisions when drivers either don't see me or - even when I have my two children in a stroller or bike trailer - pass me more closely than they would pass another car.

Drivers, please look both ways at every intersection. Please check crosswalks, especially when you're turning. Please leave some space between your steel-reinforced vehicle and the unarmored humans on the road.

And parents, please teach these things to your teen drivers.

Yes, extra caution will add a few seconds to your drive time. I think we're worth it.

Jennifer Rickard

Walla Walla

Politicians must uphold oaths

The state Lottery was initiated to resolve budget shortfalls of $64 million. It worked for a 10-year period.

How did we get from there to a multi-billion dollar shortfall?

I have seen where federal programs cost 70 percent of each dollar to administer. Local (city/county/state) programs cost 20 percent of each dollar. Democrats favor federal programs (socialism). Republicans favor locally administered programs.

Political practice, when in trouble, is to initiate another activity that will take the public eye off of the trouble. Currently we are focused on health reform.

I suggest you review how we got here. Since the Democratic majority and Obama came to power we have had a series of new federal programs that are one unconstitutional farce after another.

Is the new focus Afghanistan? How about every citizen review the actions of Obama and Democrat Congress and determine the constitutionality of those actions? Then investigate the current multi-trillion dollar budget deficit status of those programs.

How well are federal-aided companies doing now, and how has their aid benefitted taxpayers? Where is the bailout money and how have those trillions of dollars benefitted taxpayers? Have you thought about who pays for new money printed, or do you think money comes from nowhere?

Why is our National Guard and Coast Guard on the other side of the world?

Several times over the years, Social Security funds have been raided to pay for military actions and emergency relief - billions of dollars - never replaced. That's robbery.

Social Security funds are money paid in by the individual, not the government. It is an "old age savings account." I want Social Security funds restored for you and me. I want balanced budgets. I want politicians to uphold their oaths of office.

Al Johnson

Walla Walla


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