Letters 04-09-09

Hospital

Dear Editor:

I appreciate Chuck McGuire’s recent articles about the hospital, and I hope Pagosa Mountain continues to progress.

I am particularly glad that they are beginning to correctly submit Medicare billings. I just paid a bill for my stay in the hospital last summer. The cost to me for one night in a semi-private room in Pagosa Springs was nearly four times the cost of a similar room at Mercy Hospital in Durango.

Obviously, my family will be going to Durango if we need hospitalization again.

Bill Bechtold

Poor visuals

Dear Editor:

The other day I happened to catch a few minutes of Senator Gregg’s speech on C-Span. Senator Gregg presented two visuals. One was a visual of all the presidents from Washington to the last Bush, and stated that they had indebted the country by 5.8 trillion dollars. First, he got this wrong; the number is closer to 10 trillion dollars, 5 trillion during the last eight years. (See TreasuryDirect.com for the actual numbers.) Presumably, the point he was trying to make is that our past presidents were tightwads. If Senator Gregg had a schoolboy’s knowledge of history, he would know this is not true. It was Congress that starved the troops at Valley Forge, not Washington. Jefferson coughed up 15 million for the Louisiana Purchase, which Congress opposed, and Jefferson had to hoodwink. Honest Abe financed the Civil War by borrowing and printing money. Andrew Johnson spent 7.2 million dollars, less than two cents per acre, on the purchase of Alaska, the transaction known as Johnson’s Polar Bear garden. The media, especially Horace Greeley of the New York Tribune, was against the deal, and it took over a year for the House to appropriate the money by a vote of 113 to 48 in July 1868. (I threw that little tidbit in to show that the media and Congress were no smarter than they are now.)

Teddy Roosevelt borrowed the money to build the Panama Canal. Woodrow Wilson sold Liberty Bonds to finance the First World War. And, of course, Franklin Roosevelt borrowed heavily to get us out of the depression and devoted roughly half of the nation’s gross domestic product to defeat Germany and Japan. Senator Gregg’s first visual was both misleading and factually incorrect.

His second visual was a chart showing the increase of the federal debt to something like 20 trillion in the next eight years. Of course, he was wringing his hands over this increase in the national debt. But what he failed to mention was what the national debt would be if Bush or a Republican clone were still in power. Under the last Bush the national debt doubled, there is no reason to think it wouldn’t double in the next eight years as ever more seniors are eligible for Medicare and Social Security. And we know, judging from the past eight years, nothing would be done on healthcare, energy independence, education, global warming, infrastructure improvement, etc.

If Senator Gregg and his fellow Republicans were in power, our national debt would be roughly the same in eight years as it will be under Obama, except we would have nothing to show for our money except a few more billionaires.

Bob Dungan

Arboles

Raise a pinkie

Dear Editor:

I won’t be able to attend the “tea party” on April 15, but here’s what I will be thinking about.

 First, instead of just price, let’s focus on value. What do we get for our taxes? Roads, schools, vaccinations, clean air, national forests, law enforcement, colleges and universities, support for the elderly and infirm, reliable labeling of drugs and food, drinkable water, national defense, parks, confidence in training of pilots and mechanics, fire protection, etc., etc., etc.

 Second, I guess I missed the last eight tea parties while the Bush Administration added $5 trillion to the national debt, nearly doubling it in just eight short years (debt is just a deferred tax). We might consider that 57 percent of the budget is still eaten up by the military; we might even ponder the additional $75 billion Obama has requested for military spending in FY2009.

 Third, Hooverites now propose cutting federal spending: the wrong course in 1932 and the wrong course now. When a downtown like we are facing throws people out of work, they spend less, causing still others to be thrown out of work. This is the vicious downward spiral we now face. Using short term deficits to stimulate spending reverses this spiral, avoiding further layoffs, financial failures, and deepening debt.

 Fourth, the size of the deficit may mean less than how we use the borrowed money. That’s true for you and me as well as our government. We all borrow money at some point; sometimes it is an investment that enables us to get a better job or be more efficient or effective, and sometimes it is just foolish consumption. Controlling health care costs and covering all our neighbors, insuring full top-notch education for all our children, and developing new energy habits that reduce or eliminate our reliance on foreign oil all seem like solid long-term investments to me. And if we can put people back to work at the same time, then short-term deficits are worth it as well.

 So, while I can’t make the party, raise a pinkie and have a cup on me. Cheers!

 Terry Pickett

College funding

Dear Editor:

You can predict that every time the business cycle takes a downturn, Colorado’s colleges and universities will take a hit. This time the proposed cut is huge, with approximately $403 million being chopped from an initial $708 million budget. Adams State College’s share of this proposed cut is over $8 million dollars — somewhat more than an AIG CEO bonus, but a drop in the bucket that used to be Colorado’s Higher Education’s budget, now three-quarters empty.

I know there is a proposed fix that between some federal stimulus funds and raiding the Pinnacol reserve may keep us afloat for another year. However, if legislation designed to raid this fund isn’t successful, Colorado will not qualify for the stimulus funds, as support for higher education will drop below the legal requirement.

Adams State will be in a hell of a fix. Some will say we can raise our tuition to make up the difference. It’s ironic that some of the very folks proposing to foist a huge tuition increase on Colorado college and university students are those who oppose tax increases for any reason.

But our college students will not get an opportunity to vote on these increases and — whatever happens with the state budget — many will be faced with double-digit tuition and fee increases. Many students will vote with their feet and find they cannot afford college at exactly the time they need to be preparing to help clean up the mess previous generations have made of the national economy and the nation.

We are seeing the beginning of the end of state-supported higher education in Colorado. The larger institutions with diverse streams of revenue will survive, and in doing so will become an even more expensive proposition for Coloradans. Smaller, rural institutions like Adams State may not make it, and the regions we serve will become even more economically depressed. The results will be loss of population and loss of state tax revenue. Even worse, we will severely limit the opportunity for poor and first-generation college students to earn a college education.

Someone at the capitol needs to stand up and provide long-term thinking and leadership. The one year fix, if successful, will only postpone a substantial funding cut. Who is thinking beyond the next election to safeguard Colorado’s future? What happened to the Colorado Promise? It seems hollow at the moment.

Dr. David Svaldi

President, Adams State College

Revolting

Dear Editor:

Thanks for the right to write this letter and believe that it will be published.

Our freedom of speech is coming under attack. It soon may well be that we will be told what we can say, when we can say it, to whom we can say it, and as the newspaper industry goes out of business, that is a quick way to accomplish this. It is very effective, too.

All over this nation there will be tea parties held on 15 April to protest the actions of our elected officials.

I would like for anyone interested to join me in my front yard here at 921 CR 501. I’m having a tea party, too.

I’m a Mormon and don’t drink tea, but neither did those who dumped the tea into Boston Harbor.

No taxation without representation.

Our demand will be: stop taxing us to oblivion. We are revolting.

If anyone cares to join me … don’t bring a tea bag, just bring the strings.

May the good Lord continue to bless this nation.

Sincerely,

Anna Lois (Nan) Wilmer

Bayfield