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Issue Home November 4, 2009 Site Home

Letters to the Editor Policy

Freedom, Really?

Seniors - do you think that your vote and support is worth more than $250? That is the amount that “The One” has decided to send you to cover the non cost to you of no increase in the cost of living (COL). For more than 30 years you have realized an increase in your Social Security check due to an increase in the cost of living. This increase is referred to as a COLA. Our president thinks that, even though there has been no cost of living increase but rather a reduction in your cost of living, you “deserve” a cost of living increase, deemed to be $250. This is an unfunded liability in the Federal budget, added to the deficit to be paid by your grandchildren one way or another in the future. In other words, it is a veiled feel good bribe, paid by you (tax dollars), for your support for the current legislation working through Congress, like Universal Health Care (which will cost you dearly). Since there is no point in refusing it (it would just make more money available to bribe others), take the check, as I will, cash it and give it to your grandchildren (with an explanation if they are old enough to understand). Then next November vote in a real representative. You and your grandchildren will both feel better.

Juniors - have you noticed that the one thing that is stated over and over in Congress is that everyone must participate in the proposed Universal Health Care in order for the funding to remotely work out? That means that you, even though young and healthy, with no predisposition to genetic or workplace illnesses, will be required to purchase health insurance or be heavily fined for refusing to do so. In case you didn’t notice, this is sort of the same thing as FICA (noticed that deduction on your paycheck?), which is used to fund my Social Security checks. You must also know by now, unless you are living in a cave, that the Social Security Trust Fund (which exists only on paper) will be totally broke (even on paper) by the time you are old enough to collect it. Doesn’t it sort of tick you off that you are going to be ripped off again? There is an old saying “Screw me once, shame on you. Screw me twice, shame on me.” Your current representatives will be gone but you can bet higher taxes will not.

This country needs change you will want to believe in, that will be responsive to your rights as spelled out in the Constitution and Bill of Rights and supportive of the free market system which has made this country great. We have just over 12 months before the next election. Since Republicans and Democrats seem to be cut out of the same cloth, a straight talking, honest, non-lawyer (we already have way too many of them) independent candidate must be found and supported to represent the 10th Congressional District of Pennsylvania in the House of Representatives. It is not too early to start looking, hard.


Joe McCann

Elk Lake, PA

Hats Off

Hats off to the Barnes Kasson Hospital and their administrators for allowing the areas’ high risk public to get their H1N1 vaccine at the health center last week. With all the nationwide shortages, I was thrilled to discover that our hospital had the vaccine and was distributing it. Many thanks to BK for, once again, serving the community.


Norma Chacona

Susquehanna, PA

To Elk Lake Taxpayers

I’ve sat through Elk Lake school board meetings month after month, for more than a dozen years, many more than some of the current board members. None have been more interesting than those the last couple of months. In September it was the threat of no bonfire for the students during their homecoming weekend and in October it’s the possibility of an $8,605,000.00 expansion to the Elk Lake Vo Tech (SCCTC). I say possibility because this is the United States of America, a country of Democracy, a country where elected school board directors are supposed to be representing the taxpayers that put them in office. A country where those elected officials are expected to listen to those same taxpayers that voted them in office.

Last Tuesday the Elk Lake School board was asked by a visitor from the audience his or her position on the proposed expansion. One school board director, Chuck Place, didn’t see why it wouldn’t become a reality unless there was some unforeseen catastrophe. Only 1 out of the 9 directors on the school board stated that he would listen to the people that voted him to office. That one was Kevin Pierson. He said he may like the idea of an expansion but ultimately he would have to listen to how his voters felt. That impressed me. Whether or not he will follow through is yet to be seen. But isn’t that the way it is supposed to be? Aren’t elected officials supposed to hear and listen to our voices, the taxpayers of their Districts, the same people that elected them? Those directors will say that taxpayers have not approached them about school business but I wonder just how many taxpayers they have approached. How many opinions have they asked for?

Elk Lake school board directors certainly don’t go out of their way to let the taxpayers know what is going on within their district. This expansion has been visited by the Elk Lake school board a handful of times during the last 5, 6, 7 or 8 years, I‘ve lost count. Last Tuesday a member of the audience also asked if the board had discussed this possible expansion. Mr. Curley (Middletown) adamantly stated that it most certainly has been discussed by the school board. That may be so, but if it was, it was done in private (so called executive sessions?) not during open board meetings. At least not that I’d noticed, not in enough detail that the taxpayers would become aware of it. I’ve attended more board meetings than Mr. Curley and I can say that there has NOT been any PUBLIC discussion about the expansion. (Until that is the Act 34 meeting, and wasn’t that advertised where everyone could read about it). If it were discussed at any length during an open board meeting it would have appeared in the reporters notes in the newspapers following the meetings. I’ve read the reports in the newspapers after the school board meetings. I have never seen more than a line or two about this possible expansion a few times in the last several years. I also read the minutes provided at the school board meetings month after month and there is only mention of the expansion a few times in the last several years. Whenever questioned about a status update or when the public might be informed of said expansion I was told that it was too early in the process to have anything for the public. That was as late as this past spring.

In closing, if this project is approved by your school board I view it this way. Shame on you the taxpayer for not paying attention to how your school district really runs, on who really makes the decisions about your school and where your tax dollars go. Shame on you the Elk Lake board of directors for not making sure the people that voted you in office are represented, are not kept informed about their school, and for not sharing with them your visions for their school. You can tell me you pay the administration a great deal of money to oversee our school, (and I know we do) but we had put our confidence in you when you were elected to office. I’ve always believed that the administration should answer to the board of directors and the board of directors should answer to us, the taxpayers.

Taxpayer’s ultimately pay the bill and I say the buck stops here. Now is not the time to spend 8 million dollars for an expansion that might educate an extra 40 Elk Lake students a year. What about the other 1000 to 1200 Elk Lake students? Why do we have to concern ourselves with students from other districts at this time? If I were asked, I would say that Elk Lake’s K-12 deserved as much attention, if not more than an expansion for perhaps another 100 students from sending schools. We should be encouraging our students to pursue their dreams, letting them know that a post secondary education is within reach for each and every one of them.

Remember taxpayers and voters of the Elk Lake District, you have a voice concerning your school system. Vote on November 3. There are 4 districts up for reelection, Auburn, Meshoppen, Springville and Rush. Call your representatives now. There is power in numbers. Get out and vote. You have the opportunity to make a change now, and again in 2 years when the other 5 districts will have directors up for reelection.


Janet Saravitz

Auburn Township

Swaggering In LBJ's Slipstream

“History doesn't repeat itself,” wrote Mark Twain, “at best it sometimes rhymes.” What better example of a historical rhyme than LBJ's Great Society and BHO's Great Leap Backward. They make a charming couplet.

Starting in 1965, Johnson's Great Society was a massive package of legislation: civil rights, the war on poverty, education, Medicare, Medicaid, the arts, transportation, the environment - all infused with massive cash outlays. It was a societal makeover though it succeeded in ways not intended.

But something was festering along the way to utopia: Viet Nam.

Three years after launching his socialized society, Johnson, a broken man, concluded his final radio address: “I shall not seek... another term as your President.” He stood before the nation a man crushed by good intentions gone awry.

His tragic legacy of war and profligate spending have bequeathed to us not a Great Society but a Degraded Society.

Just as LBJ did FDR one better, so BHO is going to best LBJ. Obama's Great Leap Backwards starts with saving the earth from meltdown with a cap and trade for carbon emissions, universal health care, a college education for all, and fixing the foreclosure crisis.

But, again, something is festering along the way to socialism's promised land: Afghanistan.

A quick review of Obama's four big-ticket items starts with cap and trade. Companies with carbon emissions below the government's yearly limit would be able to sell their shortfall to companies that have exceeded their limit. Coal, which generates half of the nation's electricity, is the greenies whipping boy; he must be punished.

To use Obama's words, “it [cap and trade] will bankrupt them [the coal companies] because they're going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted.”

Obama continued: “Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket, “ Indeed they would. The average cost per household: $1,761. And the GDP is projected to take a $75 billion hit.

The President's health care program is equally ambitious. The Democratic plan would insure an additional 35 million people. The cost: $10 trillion over ten years.

Obama's largess will make a college education available to all by creating an American Opportunity Tax Credit. This refundable tax credit will cover two-thirds of the tuition and make community college completely free for most students. The cost? $75 billion.

Lastly, your home is in danger of foreclosing? Not to worry. The president has a foreclosure program. The cost: $75 billion. A popular number, that.

And all this while bailing out the banks and planning a $300 billion tax cut.

Blithely glossed over is the fact that the federal government is already $12 trillion in debt. This year the deficit is $1.8 trillion. And the budget is projected to run trillion dollar deficits for the next several years. Obama is not deterred. As Admiral Farragut might say, Damn the deficits, full speed ahead!

But remember that something else? That muddle in the Mideast?

In addition to the 124,000 troops deployed in Iraq, Obama plans to escalate the number of troops in Afghanistan from 36,000 to 68,000. But military leaders say that is not nearly enough.

According to the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, 500,000 troops will be required for a successful operation. Curious. That's just the number that LBJ had in Viet Nam.

And from where will the great majority of these troops come? The plan is for the Afghan army and police force to double in size to more than 400,000. In another time and in another war it was called “vietnamization.”

It rhymes, doesn't it?


Bob Scroggins

New Milford, PA


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