Politics trump the interests of the nation

It seems this great nation has lost its way. In Lincoln's Gettysburg address, he stated that the "government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth." Now, that famous speech could be "government of the party, by the party and for the party."

The recent "fiscal cliff" crisis is a testament to this change in our nation's politics. Our elected officials are more concerned with their party than our nation. This is not a new concept, as voting the party line, regardless of what you believe, has become the norm in Washington.

Whether you are a Democrat, Republican or Independent, letting the nation fall off the fiscal cliff would've caused irreparable harm to the rich, middle class and poor. This would've surely propelled us into a recession, or even worse, a depression. Is this more important than gamesmanship and protecting one's party agenda?

People are concerned about the end of world due to a meteor shower. We should be more concerned about our nation's economic survival.

John H. Adams

San Ramon

Vulture capitalists killed Hostess

A union job lifted my family and millions of others out of poverty. But a recent letter from Michael Hurder caustically states that unions are "useless" and that they killed jobs at Hostess.

Do your homework, dude. The bakers' union didn't kill Hostess -- vulture capitalists did the job on their own. The workers didn't ask for more pay or better benefits -- in fact, they gave concessions during the last round in bankruptcy court in 2009. Vulture capitalists loaded the company with debt and earned millions in fees. The incompetent managers gave themselves huge raises as the company suffered. The CEO who led the company back into bankruptcy got a 300 percent pay raise -- even though the company stopped contributing to workers' pension funds.

Unbelievably, the current CEO has asked the bankruptcy judge for permission to pay executives $1.75 million in bonuses. Now we've lost 18,000 jobs to these greedy vultures. Without unions we would all be working 12-hour days and six days a week. Left to their own devices, corporations would have us all making Walmart wages. Given the huge inequality in this country, it appears the corporations have almost succeeded in making all of us serfs. The constant fight between unions and corporations protects all workers.

Karen Beck

Danville

Dems at fault, too, in fiscal cliff fiasco

In a Dec. 27 editorial, the Contra Costa Times makes the statement, "the fiscal cliff is clearly a crisis of the Republicans' making." You seem to have overlooked the fact that the Republican House has passed two bills to avert the fiscal cliff, and the Senate and the president have turned both down.

The president and Democrats seem to have little incentive to avert the "fiscal cliff" since among the results would be substantial cuts in military spending and a large increase in tax revenues, both of which the president and Democrats want.

You said, "The nation desperately needs Republicans willing to engage in the back-and-forth that powers government. Instead of sabotaging it." I would suggest that we need a president willing and able to fulfill a leadership role and a Democrat Senate willing to engage as well.

I have not read any proposals made by either the president or the Senate; perhaps future editorials could address the proposals or counterproposals either has made.

Dick Olsen

Alamo

Laws should keep pace with guns

Why are practically all of those opposing stricter gun laws ignoring a major portion of the very statute they cite as the kingpin giving them the right to bear arms? The Second Amendment begins with the statement, "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state ..."

The words "well regulated" imply essential rules and restrictions, which is what reasonable people are asking be strengthened now and to which pro-gun advocates are saying make no changes. There can be no doubt that the founding fathers intended the right to bear arms for the purpose of maintaining a well regulated militia because it is spelled out in the Second Amendment. Remember what a militia was in the late 1700s when this amendment was written -- an army of citizen soldiers, armed with single-shot muskets, not automatic weapons holding 30 rounds of ammunition. Times have changed, weaponry has evolved, and so must our rules and restrictions.

Arthur Fowler

Alamo

Sowell didn't even mention kids killed

Thomas Sowell lashes out about gun control. In an all-too-familiar drill, Sowell condemned gun controls, selected opinions and statistics to support his position and declared any who disagree to be "ignorant zealots" who ignore "the facts."

Most people were sufficiently moved by the slaughter of the 20 children in Newtown, Conn., to at least acknowledge it. Sowell immediately launched his angry, radical rant. Did he even think about them? Absent, too, was any mention of a national dialogue on gun rights. We should expect better from someone who fashions himself to be scholarly. The gun lobby has eclipsed efforts to restrict even assault-style weapons. With a ban on high-capacity magazines, the gunman in Newtown would have needed to reload, perhaps sparing young lives. More than twice as many preschoolers die each year from gun violence as law enforcement officers are killed in the line of duty. Too bad it took a massacre of children to give the rest of us a voice. But, late is better than never, even if Thomas Sowell doesn't want it.

John Doggett

Danville

Taxing wealthy won't put dent in the deficit

The politicians of both persuasions (right and left) are once again bamboozling the American people. They have successfully turned the fiscal cliff debate into a sideshow over whether or not to raise the income tax rates on the wealthy. The real issue is much, much larger than that.

In reality, the proposed tax hike Makes No Meaningful Difference. We overspend by about $1,200 billion each year. Even according to the left-wing Economic Policy Institute (Issue Brief #338), raising the tax on the wealthy will only generate an additional $52 billion each year. That only covers a measly 4 percent of our overspending!

The only way to address the looming bankruptcy of America is to responsibly rein in big government spending. To the politicians, it's all a grand blame-game of political maneuvering. Both sides want the voters to squabble about the totally irrelevant issue of cutting or raising taxes on the wealthy. Raise them or don't raise them, but let's get past this inconsequential issue. When will we start electing adults to high political office?

Dick Flasck

San Ramon