Obama budget letter was wrong on crucial facts

In defending President Obama, Ronald Entwistle's letter (Sept. 3), claimed "Speaker John Boehner would never allow a tax increase." The fact is the top marginal tax rate was 35 percent for 2012 and prior, but is now 39.6 percent for 2013 and beyond.

Entwistle wondered about the debt during Bush's tenure. From January 2001 to January 2009, the debt increased from $5.6 trillion to $10.6 trillion at an average increase of $600 billion per year. The January 2013 debt was $16.4 trillion, so the average yearly increase during Obama's presidency is about $1.5 trillion per year. Despite efforts by the House, President Obama increased the debt more in one term than Bush did in two.

Entwistle accused the Obama critic of being dishonest and suggested he go back to school to study political science. I think we need fewer people studying political science, and more people who know the facts.

Andy Lutz

Alamo

Bombing Syria would produce nothing good

I am Chris Lapp, a 13 year old, writing about the proposed bombing of Syria and getting the United States involved in another war. I think we should just stay out of their civil war, as everyone stayed out of our civil war. If we got in Syria's civil war, it would just result in a different view of them, like the view of a smaller United States, not a view of Syria.

I also think that until we have solid proof that they used chemical warfare to kill the rebels, we should not even think about bombing them. Also, if we bombed them, we would be almost alone fighting the rest of the war on Syria, and then we would just have troops in three different places. Most everyone in my family believes that bombing Syria would be a very bad idea, as we would just kill many people who were not involved in the war.

My brother thinks we should just send a sniper to kill the leaders of Syria. I also think that, but then a new leader would just rise up to take the dead one's place. So what I think the United States should do is just lay off Syria, until they threaten something bigger, like, China, the United States, Europe or something of that size. On another topic, if we attacked Syria, we might have to fight the Russians, and no one wants to fight some of the most advanced people on earth.

Chris Lapp

Danville

Case for attack on Syria, at best, is very weak

How certain are we that chemical weapons are being used? Secretary Kerry seemed to cite evidence that could be anecdotal or manufactured. And are we being manipulated, perhaps by al-Qaida, to do their bidding?

Why, after years of Syrian civil war, are we now choosing the high road? We don't respond to 99.9 percent of the atrocities in the world, so why now to this? Why not to genocide in Africa, human rights violations in Asia and the drug war carnage in Central and South America?

What will happen to the collateral damage in Syria? What about all the women, children and other innocent civilians we kill during the strikes? And how will that be perceived in the world, especially the Arab world?

Secretary Kerry cited support from some Arab nations. How will they support us? Money to cover strike costs? Protection from or prevention of retaliatory strikes directed at U.S. citizens at home or abroad? I don't see a history of that help.

We don't need to begin this military action. I'm very sorry for the innocent Syrian people. But haven't we learned from wars from Vietnam onward that we don't always help those we fight to save? In considering all foreign military actions, we have to remind ourselves that we are there first to do no harm. If great harm to ourselves or Syrian nonperpetrators is a potential, we shouldn't engage in the fight.

Katherine Knabke

Danville

College sports about nothing but funding

I am writing in reaction to Jeff Faraudo's recent article regarding Cal Football and "tradition for sale." Outgoing UC Chancellor Bob Birgeneau recently expressed his concern about the escalating "arms race" in Division I college athletics. Birgeneau was justifiably concerned about the incredible amount of money needed to sustain intercollegiate athletic programs. It's hard to believe that it wasn't that many years ago that football and basketball coaches weren't making multimillion dollar salaries.

The fact is that college football and, to a lesser extent, men's basketball, finances all other intercollegiate sports. As a result, Division I schools are forced to do almost anything to generate and maintain the revenue from these two sports. I've wondered if someone offered Cal $1 million to play a football game at 2 a.m. if they wouldn't do it.

Division I college football is no longer about the students, the alumni, the fans, or even the so-called student athletes. It's about the money, and the athletic department will do almost anything to get it. Sadly, I say to my fellow Old Blues and traditionalists, this is your new reality. You better learn to deal with it.

John Hill

Danville

Obamacare sales pitch like Bay Bridge's

After 11 years and $6.4 billion (far above estimates) the new eastern half of the Bay Bridge is open. In 1936 the entire Bay bridge was completed in just three years and seven months for $78 million, or about $1.3 billion if adjusted to today's value.

Now we are embarking on Obamacare, and the government says it is going to save us money and provide better health care. Based upon public reaction thus far, it seems to me the American public has just been sold another bridge.

Joe Crosslin

Pleasanton

How to increase BART unions' cost of striking

Daniel Borenstein's Aug. 23 column "Strike ban for transit workers sounds like a good idea, but ..." makes many very good points. As a casual observer, there appears to be little incentive for compromise; binding arbitration would be a disaster for more reasons than I can state here; and the likelihood of banning unions from striking is slim to none.

There may be another way, though. In New York City, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority unions are subject to the Taylor law. It essentially says that if a union strikes, its members will be docked two days pay' for each day of the strike. In addition, I assume BART automatically deducts union dues through payroll deductions and passes those payments on to the unions. If that's true, create a law that relieves BART from that responsibility beginning the first day of a strike and continuing through the life of the next contract. The unions would still retain their right to strike but would have "skin in the game".

Jim Bono

Pleasanton former deputy inspector general, New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority