Address the unrestrained spending
In a few weeks, the continuing resolution and debt limit matters will be settled. They won’t change anything fundamental. A continuing resolution, unless embellished, merely would continue the present status for a few weeks. A debt limit resolution would merely recognize what current policies have done to our debt.
The United States cannot continue its current path of spending more money than it takes in. It will eventually go bankrupt. It must reduce expenditures, with compassion for the unfortunate and respect for rational national investment. It would be difficult since every program has its beneficiaries and advocates, but the proper route forward lies through a series of appropriation bills that define expenditures.
Each one will have to be fought over to reduce costs. It will be a difficult year in Congress, but the results will be essential to the future of the United States.
David Purdy, Omaha
Oh, but this event can go on as planned?
Are you kidding me? The World War II and Vietnam War Memorials are closed because of the supposed government shutdown, but the National Mall was open for illegal immigrants to hold a rally Tuesday?
This shows what a vindictive man we have in the White House.
Ken Krzycki, Papillion
GOP playing dangerous game with debt
Has it occurred to the Republican Party in Congress, which claims to be so concerned about fiscal responsibility, that threatening to default on the U.S. debt has a very real potential to throw the United States into a second Great Depression?
This is inherently contradictory behavior, and it also shows an unmatched callousness toward constituents, given that the real U.S. unemployment rate is around 14 percent and many have lost their homes. The Republicans deserve to be voted out of office.
Suzanne Sears, Omaha
Fischer, Congress duck responsibilities
Sen. Deb Fischer’s reported comments on the debt ceiling reflect the breakdown of congressional procedures and the failure of Congress to fulfill its responsibilities.
Fischer said she likes it that the debt ceiling increase is not automatic “because it gives us really one of the few opportunities to be able to discuss our financial situation that we’re in, and that’s why I’m here.”
In fact, Fischer and all her congressional colleagues have numerous opportunities during the budget and appropriations process to not only discuss our financial situation but to make all the decisions that combine to create it. That is an essential congressional responsibility.
The problem is that too many members of Congress are not willing to participate in the collective decision-making that is essential to that process. Instead, they are ideologically committed to disrupt and dismantle government programs, rather than incrementally change and improve them.
Fischer and her colleagues throughout Congress are there to roll up their sleeves and get to work reaching the compromises required to pass a budget and change the financial situation, not just discuss it or make futile demands.
Sanford M. Goodman, Omaha
Time to hold Lee Terry accountable
Lee Terry made a statement about his congressional pay. He did apologize, but I believe he has shown his true colors.
Now he and the rest of our so-called representatives have effectively insulated themselves from hearing from us by reducing staff so no one answers the phones. I’ll bet that the well-moneyed supporters still get their calls answered.
In his apology, Terry said his earlier comments about his pay did not reflect his upbringing and values. I can only surmise that he has been affected by the company he is keeping. On his congressional webpage, Terry has a statement of the latest GOP talking point called “rebooting America.” It’s a thinly veiled attempt to permanently defund all agencies and programs that the extreme right wing wants destroyed.
This is government by crisis and extortion. The Tea Party Congress members have shown that they are unable and unwilling to legislate. They are incapable of doing their jobs and should be fired at the next election.
This includes Terry. It is time to hold him to his term-limit pledge.
Greg Bowzer, Omaha
It’s obvious who drove the shutdown
Lee Terry says he does not support shutting down the government but backs the strategy that led to the government shutdown. That is like saying, “I am against car accidents but support running red lights.”
The shutdown debacle is no accident. It was on purpose, and we all know who ran the stoplight.
Bob Winkler, Omaha
Term limits are the only incentive left
Members of Congress continue to refuse to do the job we elected them to do: govern our country. They would rather shut down our government than put the good of our country ahead of their partisan interests. Threatening to withhold their pay doesn’t work constitutionally or practically; many are millionaires.
What would work is to pass a term-limit law that states that no congressman or congresswoman could be re-elected if the government is shut down during his or her term in office.
We would never see a shutdown again.
John MacKenzie, Omaha
Back pay is not making sympathy easy
While I realize that only about 15 percent of the federal government is shut down, I do wonder why the feds don’t operate like private business would.
For example, federal employees should have been given three choices at the time of the shutdown: (1) Take vacation time if you have some and wish to, (2) stay on the job and collect your pay later or (3) stay off the job and get no pay anytime.
I think most employees would have chosen option 2 and most Americans would hope they would have. I for one do not feel sorry for federal employees who are going to get their pay even if they don’t work.
Bruce Haag, Omaha
Leadership from Oval Office is absent
In the midst of yet another “financial crisis” during the Obama administration, the president has time to comment on whether the Washington Redskins should change the name of the team.
Yet he apparently doesn’t have time to provide even the slightest bit of leadership that one would expect from the Oval Office to steer our country clear of one financial fiasco after another.
Certainly both parties have a share of the blame, but this president has provided zero leadership in terms of getting to any kind of reasonable solution or compromise. It is truly astounding. And yet he seems to get away with it day after day after day.
That is because much of the press in this country will not call him out on this or any matter. We deserve much better from the Fourth Estate.
Bob Davis, Omaha
Beware the Demon Ding-Ding Man
I distinctly remember my brothers, sister and I rushing to our mother in the hope of some spare change. Yes, the Ding-Ding Man had just entered our neighborhood, and we hoped for some Bomb Pops and Drumsticks.
Nebraskans, there is another Ding-Ding Man around — the ding-ding of casino slot machines hoping for some of your spare change. Remember, for every high-profile citizen who makes news for a gambling-related demise, hundreds more “regular” people are suffering the same fate.
There’s a Demon Ding-Ding Man across the river, and he hopes to cross that bridge.
Russell Fulton, Omaha
Don’t put pipeline profits ahead of safety
There are a multitude of reasons why a growing number of people oppose the Keystone XL pipeline. All one needs to do is to be informed — and look at the facts.
In reality, the pipeline would be a dirty and dangerous source of energy. The environmental damages resulting from this pipeline are just too great — from the clearing of vast areas of boreal forests in Canada to strip-mining the land to obtain the tar deposits of oil, which will need to be separated from all the surrounding clay, sand and shale rock. This process uses up lots of water, energy and dangerous chemicals.
Plus, transporting this oil through a much larger 36-inch pipeline will require a heated toxic chemical-and-tar-oil mixture under high levels of pressure — almost guaranteeing that accidents will happen. Can we really afford to pollute our wetlands and underground sources of water? Our streams and rivers?
Are short-term profits really more important than our future welfare?
Jim Anderson, Lincoln