Here is a smackeral of letters that got overrun by other issues before they could see print:
Lew Ebert claims in his May 31 Point of View article that 450,000 unemployed North Carolinians are counting on the N.C. Chamber to remake the state’s unemployment insurance system. Yet if the chamber’s proposals are adopted, unemployed North Carolinians will experience a significant decrease in their benefits.
Unemployment insurance already fails to cover families basic needs; further cuts will only increase suffering and result in diminished consumer spending, hampering our state’s already fragile economic recovery.
Ebert implies that many recipients of unemployment insurance are not actively seeking jobs and could leave the system if they tried harder to find employment.
This flies in the face of North Carolina’s current economic reality. With our current job deficit at more than 525,000, there are simply not enough jobs to go around.
Any solution to our current problems must include an honest accounting of how we arrived at the budgetary shortfalls we face today. Rather than reckless spending or outrageously high benefits, the current debt reflects a combination of employer tax cuts enacted in the 1990s and the Great Recession.
Let’s hope that our legislators aren’t counting on the chamber’s proposals to solve problems with unemployment insurance that are much more nuanced than the chamber would like us to believe,
Educators and state employees get laid off or receive no or only token pay raises and vital programs get emasculated while House Speaker Tom Tillis’ minions and security detail feed at the public trough (news story, June 12).
It defies imagination why Tillis believes he needs so much security when other legislators do not feel the need for any. The bill “crafted and pushed” by his chief of staff to enhance the powers of the legislative police officers was just another means to spend money that could have been better used elsewhere, and probably could not have been formulated without Tillis’ knowledge and approval.
I would say that all of this should be remembered at election time, but the public has a short memory so it will be business as usual.
Stanley W. Sokolove
Columns and letters to the editor continue to heap blame for our current economic problems on mortgage and investment firms. The real culprits are the politicians who adopted policies to intimidate banks into lowering their home mortgage loan qualification standards. This program led to a flood of new buyers into the home purchase market with an attendant upward spiral in home prices.
This situation could not have happened unless investors were willing to purchase the mortgages granted by the lenders. The banks were not about to commit financial suicide by granting loans to individuals who previously would not meet their loan standards unless they could readily sell those loans to those investors. Thus the politicians had little motivation to rein in the cascading trade in securities backed by mortgage loans.
The actions of the investment firms that contributed so much to our current economic situation were by-products of the process, not the cause. Until we are willing to properly analyze our political and economic problems, without bias, we are not going to learn how to avoid such problems in the future.
In April, in the first hearing under the N.C. Racial Justice Act, Superior Court Judge Gregory Weeks found significant racial bias in a N.C. death penalty case and resentenced the defendant to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
Judge Weeks concluded that the defendant “introduced a wealth of evidence showing the persistent, pervasive and distorting role of race in jury selection throughout North Carolina. The evidence, largely unrebutted by the State, requires relief in this case and should serve as a clear signal of the need for reform in capital jury selection proceedings in the future.”
In the face of documented racial bias, we must not sweep it under the rug by repealing the RJA as SB 416 will. SB 416 prohibits a judge from ruling in favor of the defendant on the basis of statistics. This provision alone guts the RJA because the key provision of the RJA was to allow defendants to show discrimination beyond reasonable doubt through statistical evidence, as the U.S. Supreme Court invited states to do under McCleskey v. Kemp, and as is done routinely in housing and employment discrimination cases.
In global warming or death penalty, inconvenient science is the Republican target.
As Congress continues to debate whether to end the tax cuts to those making $250,000-plus or just those making $1 million-plus, we are losing the war for the nation’s financial solvency. No one likes taxes, they hurt – just as no one likes wars that kill and maim. However, a giant lethal wolf called the national debt gets stronger every year. We are feeding it over $1.3 trillion in 2012. Everyone needs to sacrifice to win this war: all taxpayers, all rich, all poor, yes even the Pentagon.
OMB says that in 2012 we will spend $3.796 trillion and take in only $2.469 trillion. We have just grown the debt by $1.327 trillion to $16.334 trillion. The GDP is $15.602 trillion, smaller than the debt wolf. This hasn’t been the case since 1947 after the national emergency of WW II. Washington says we need to avoid raising taxes to get out of the recession. This avoidance justification is true, but only in the short term. A day of reckoning is coming. Total federal non-entitlement spending of $1.319 trillion is all borrowed. What will happen when interest rates inevitably rise again?
Out of many, E Pluribus Unum, must come one mighty effort to win this war. Our survival depends on it.