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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; deficit reduction suggestions; and new warning labels for cigarettes.

November 16, 2010

Speaking of Pelosi

Re "Speaker or not, she's a keeper," Editorial, Nov. 11

Thank you for your timely defense of Nancy Pelosi's performance as speaker of the House. As you aptly mentioned, her job is to pass legislation, not to win popularity awards. Part of the reason Democrats often fail, even with sizable majorities, is they forget this fact.

Whether or not you agree with healthcare reform or tighter controls on Wall Street, passing these historic bills despite a solidly entrenched GOP was a huge accomplishment.

President Obama needs to do a better job explaining his policies. Our difficult economic climate had a predictable effect in the midterm elections. But unless he hones his message, the changes so dearly won by Pelosi and others might be at risk in 2012.

Nora Hazi

Pacific Palisades

"Pelosi deserves to stay on as her party's leader."

Really? Do we want a leader instrumental in lawmaking who said about the healthcare bill, "We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it"? I think not.

Eugene Strull

Los Angeles

Pelosi has been effective as a legislative leader. She has been loyal to the ideals of the Democratic Party to improve the lives of middle-class Americans.

Do women, minorities, the jobless, the uninsured and young people who are in school or starting families really think they're going to get a better deal from John Boehner?

Alba Farfaglia

San Clemente

The politics of deficit-cutting

Re "U.S. panel weighs deep budget cuts," Nov. 11

The hasty release of information by the chairmen of the president's deficit reduction commission was either a stroke of genius by the right or political suicide by the Obama administration.

The White House is now in the unenviable position of having been the one to articulate the need for drastic economic measures that appear to benefit the wealthy, letting conservatives off the hook. The right knows that if it had to propose decreasing benefits to Social Security recipients and to begin eviscerating Medicare, to name a few of the suggestions by the commission's co-chairs, it would galvanize the electorate against any GOP candidate in 2012.

Anthony Balderrama

Eagle Rock

In its proposal to wipe out trillions in projected national deficits, the commission takes aim at the usual suspects: the poor and what's left of the middle class.

Why not start slashing from the top instead of the bottom? Stupid question, I know.

Too bad average citizens can't organize like the big corporations do. Just imagine what a better world there would be if the huddled masses had an army of lobbyists.

Mark O'Connell

Irvine

Re "Facing reality on budgets," Editorial, Nov. 12

You say: "The federal government can print money and borrow from China so it doesn't have to balance its budget. Unfortunately for California's Legislature, the state doesn't have that luxury."

Change "unfortunately" to "fortunately."

Why would it be a good thing for California's Legislature to have unlimited spending power? Look at what it has done to the budget when supposedly balancing it.

Robert B. Kelly

Indio

Not buying big banks

Re "Banks should respect our troops," Business, Nov. 12

Of course, with bad publicity, Bank of America magnanimously agreed to remove the delinquent payments. Brian Roach should feel honored. But the problem goes way beyond the banks.

The credit bureaus' rating system needs to be revamped. I have seen credit scores drop 100 points because of an

$8 collection account from a doctor bill that should have been paid by the insurer.

This is just another way for lenders to charge higher interest rates on credit cards, car loans and mortgages.

Chuck Rinaldi

Huntington Beach

This is one more reason that I no longer do business with such a large institution. I only deal with locally owned community banks.

Bruce Savage

Palm Desert

Too scared to smoke?

Re "Cigarettes to carry grim warnings," Nov. 11

The Food and Drug Administration's new cigarette packaging proves that government officials believe Americans are stupid. Though there may be a sliver of people who don't believe smoking has negative health effects, no label exists that is going to change some people's decision to smoke.

Every day there are people who know full well the dangers of their actions, and yet they still partake in them.

We already have seen government's increasing support of the nanny state. From banning Happy Meals in San Francisco to taxing Snickers bars in Illinois, there appears to be no end to what steps governments will take to control our decisions.

John Nothdurft

Chicago

The writer is the budget and tax legislative specialist for the Heartland Institute.

I have never smoked. I totally dislike the smell and am very concerned about the serious health dangers of smoking.

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