Shutdown would have harmed the US economy

I am not sure who came out on top in the budget negotiations. The Democrats blamed the Republicans for threatening to shut down the government, but the Democrats should have passed a budget before the fiscal year began Oct. 1 when they had a majority in both houses of Congress.

Republicans said they were trying to cut government spending and help the economy, but if they had indeed shut down the government it would have damaged our economy. The shutdowns in late 1995 and early 1996 cost the government more than $1.4 billion in lost national park and museum fees, plus repaying salaries of employees on furlough. As Will Rogers said, “This country has come to feel the same when Congress is in session as when the baby gets hold of a hammer.”

Ralph E. Stone
San Francisco

Obama’s empty ideas

President Barack Obama’s April 13 speech was an extreme attack on the GOP’s budget deficit plan and was filled with distortions.

Obama did not propose a budget alternative, but rather rejected all of the GOP’s reform ideas. He repeated his rhetorical device of offering “false choices” while claiming he could preserve all the government we have without any plan for financing it. Obama’s promise of $4 trillion in deficit reduction over the next 12 years came without details.

To rally his political base, Obama called for taxing “the rich,” which fails the test of elementary math. If the entire taxable income of everyone earning over $100,000 were taxed at 100 percent, the money raised still wouldn’t cover the current $1.65 trillion federal deficit.

Jim Hartman
Berkeley

OPEC holding us hostage

It is considered to be a criminal act to hold even one person hostage, and yet the world seems impotent to break free from the clutches of OPEC. The entire globe is being held at bay by those who use much of the wealth they extract from us to finance the monsters killing innocent victims worldwide.

In this time of economic distress that plagues every corner of the planet, the OPEC nations continue to gouge motorists with ever-increasing oil prices. Next to air, water and food, oil at this time is still the most vital resource on Earth. Why should 12 countries be allowed to ruthlessly control the price of this much needed commodity that more than 190 other nations need?

Barry Bradley
San Francisco

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