In response to “Mel Watt the beneficiary of politics over good governance” (Dec. 11 Forum):
Can’t pin blame for gerrymandering on Mel Watt
It seems Forum writer John Petrie knows little about Rep. Mel Watt, and less about gerrymandering in North Carolina.
In my opinion Congressman Watt would have a good chance of winning in many of the congressional districts in North Carolina. He is a man of integrity, hard working and genuinely cares about people.
The majority of gerrymandering in North Carolina is done by white politicians. Currently, they are mostly Republicans. You left that out of your comments, Mr. Petrie.
In response to “Obama’s starting to get government – but not really” (Dec. 12 Viewpoint):
George Will too generous in his assessment of Obama
If a government agency does not spend its entire budget for the year – being efficient with taxpayer money – the budget gets cut.
Needless to say all monies budgeted get spent, one way or another.
Another critical point: No budgets in government actually get cut. At worst, their 10 percent increase may be lowered a tad.
But I have to disagree with my hero George Will about the president’s erudition concerning big government. I think President Obama is totally aware – and that is exactly how he wants it.
In response to “Honor Mandela’s legacy by fighting to end poverty” (Dec. 11 Viewpoint):
Poverty is natural, but more complicated than some allow
Becky Conover quotes Nelson Mandela as saying “Poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome...” I submit that poverty is natural.
All of God’s creatures struggle for food and shelter, but a combination of man’s intelligence, effort, physical location, freedom, and luck enabled breakthroughs that brought benefits to many – not equally, but to millions.
Contrary to what the Buzzer on the same page says, it’s a lot more complicated than blaming simple greed for the disparity between the rich and the poor.
That’s like saying a man’s decency or lack thereof is defined by his possessions.
In response to “Bipartisan negotiators reach modest budget pact” (Dec. 11):
Budget compromise a Band-Aid; GOP should not have caved
Republicans in office are accepting an agreement that is far from conservative beliefs.
The goal should be to set in motion a plan that will solve long-term financial challenges, rather than caving when deadlines near, principles are challenged, and leaders get scared.
The compromised budget is a Band-Aid that voids conservative accomplishments and highlights the weakness of our leaders.
Traci Cherry Cockerham
In response to “File form before taxes cut” (Dec. 8):
Tax changes will mean smaller paychecks for many in N.C.
The writer is director of the N.C. Budget and Tax Center.
The loss of certain tax deductions and credits, including the state Earned Income Tax Credit, means many in North Carolina will pay more income taxes than they did before this so-called tax cut.
The tax changes shift the burden to middle- and low-income taxpayers in other ways too. Those with income less than $84,000 will pay more on average in total state and local taxes when you take into account sales tax changes too.
If ever there was a lose-lose-lose for the average North Carolinian, this tax plan is it.
Average North Carolinians will pay more as a share of their income than wealthy taxpayers, there will be less dollars for public services like educating our children, and it won’t boost our economy.
Alexandra F. Sirota
In response to “Why honor slave owners at cathedral?” (Dec. 12 Viewpoint):
There’s good reason to honor Lee, Jackson at D.C. cathedral
Columnist John Kelly asks why honor slave owners Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson at National Cathedral.
Over 150 years neither man’s reputation has been diminished.
Lee turned down the offer of command of the Union Army to retire to his state and accepted a position in the Confederate Army, thereby sacrificing his considerable wealth and estates.
At war’s end, he resisted pleas to send his army into the hills to continue a guerrilla war. Instead he became a model of reconciliation. We would all do well to model our lives after either man.
In response to “The saddest Christmas wish lists I’ve seen” (Dec. 12 Viewpoint):
Three cheers for Wagman’s wise words on Christmas
In 1897 The (New York) Sun famously published Francis Church’s column “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus,” a fine dollop of treacle that has become a staple of the holiday season.
Maybe it’s time for that chestnut to be supplanted by Diana Wagman’s infinitely more moving piece about poor children for whom Santa is a distant figure, indeed. Her column is at once the most poignant of commentaries and a compelling call to action. It deserves enduring attention.