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Letters to the editor

The European Union, united; healthcare reform; pay cuts for state officials

November 24, 2009

The EU gets it together

Re “Cracks in EU effort to speak with one voice,” Nov. 19

The derisive tone of your article on the European Union reminds me of similar commentary when the euro was introduced in 1999. It was largely lampooned by the American press, and some predicted its early demise. Initially introduced at $1.18 per euro, it now trades at about $1.50 and is threatening the dollar's supremacy as the reserve currency of the world.

Yes, the European Union is proceeding in baby steps toward further integration, and the first president of the EU may not match the charisma of a Barack Obama or Tony Blair, but that is precisely what is needed at this point in time.

I find it an incredible accomplishment that 27 nations of such disparate backgrounds and with centuries-old histories of conflict found a way to work together at all. We might reflect on the difficulties we have achieving consensus among our states, which were formed under an existing Constitution and a tradition of democracy that is lacking in many of the EU countries.

Paul Rosenberger
Manhattan Beach

Healthcare reform shots

Re “Senate health bill clears key hurdle,” Nov. 22

United in their opposition to healthcare reform, many of the 39 Republican senators held up copies of the weighty 2,074-page bill while speaking on the Senate floor last week and attempting to hold up even consideration of the bill by the full Senate, citing, among their objections, its $848-billion, 10-year cost.

Lost in the obfuscation is the fact that this cost is approximately equal to the cost so far of our military ventures in Iraq and Afghanistan.

If one had to make a choice, would it be for 31 million formerly uninsured healthy Americans or for an unknown number of young American servicemen dead in the sands of western Asia?

Marvin Lewis
Palm Desert

It's really very simple: Republicans have decided that the money they get from health insurance companies is more important than the reported 47,000 Americans who die each year because they do not have the ability to pay for healthcare.

Ellis J. Biderson
Huntington Beach

Re “Legislating healthcare the old-fashioned way,” Opinion, Nov. 22

President Obama promised us it would not be politics as usual when he ran for office. Of course he also promised us transparency. So what do we have?

A healthcare reform bill worked on behind closed doors, and now Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid bragging about his historic bill.

He has done something historic, that's for sure: He has openly bribed the senator from Louisiana by adding to the bill a gift of $100 million in Medicaid subsidies for her state so that she would vote for this bill!

It's obvious that politics as usual continues -- although now there is no shame. If this is in the open, what deals are being made that we don't know about? Are you disgusted enough yet?

Stop this bill, stop this madness, stop these corrupt politicians!

Rosemary Hagerott
Sierra Madre

Doyle McManus has gone to the heart of the matter. The disproportionate influence of Big Pharma as well as the insurance cartel monopoly has created a half-baked piece of legislation that at the end of the day will continue to enrich the two aforementioned industry behemoths to the detriment of millions of Americans.

The best example of this is the watered-down public option. Ultimately the only real measure to bring down healthcare costs would be a public option available to all U.S. citizens. But of course that would jeopardize the hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign contributions from the insurance lobby that has effectively bought off the Republican Party, and several Democrats as well.

Unlike most Western social democracies, ours is a capitalist republic. And that, in the final analysis, is our problem. Everything goes to the highest bidder.

Bob Teigan
Santa Susana

Stimulus stumbles

Re “Stimulus results are under scrutiny,” Nov. 20

The Times recently reported that the stimulus package created 500 new teaching jobs in a Chicago school district that only employs 290 teachers, that the 4th Congressional District in Utah received $1.2 million when there are only three congressional districts in Utah, and that 3,978 recipients of scheduled stimulus funds had reported an increase of 50,000 jobs but had not received any stimulus money.

I am sure there are many, many more "misleading" claims.

In light of the above and our current unemployment rate of 10.2%, I would suggest that this administration is not equipped to handle a healthcare program.

Jerry Vogler
Los Angeles

Paying the price in Sacramento?

Re “State’s elected officials face 18% pay cut in December,” Nov. 20

Congratulations to California Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown for allowing a large pay cut for elected officials, and to the Citizens Compensation Commission for moving forward with it.

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