Oval Office: Betty Ford chats with husband Gerald on their last day in the…
Betty Ford's legacy
Re "First lady inspired others with her personal battles," Obituary, July 9
In one of the most tumultuous times our nation had faced since the Civil War, First Lady Betty Ford and her husband helped this nation heal.
Like them, my parents were "liberal Republicans," a now oxymoronic term. Then as now, the measure of greatness is enduring courage under great pressure. Surely, we must all agree that Ford will not only remain a first lady but that her example is one of true compassion.
All our hearts and condolences must go out to her very important "first" family.
Richard N. Meyer
Employment picture in full
Re "Dismal job figures jolt confidence," July 8
The Times fails to mention that the private sector actually created 57,000 jobs in June. But once you subtract the 39,000 government jobs lost in June, the aggregate of jobs gained is only 18,000.
The additional 57,000 private-sector jobs aren't great. But it is the regressive policies of governors such as Wisconsin's Scott Walker, New Jersey's Chris Christie and Ohio's John Kasich that put a real drag on the U.S. economy in June.
Reading your front-page article gives the impression that the private sector is much weaker than it is. Shame on The Times for leaving out an important detail.
Yolanda Macias McKay
As the GOP hurls accusations at the president, it overlooks the fact that the Bush tax cuts have been in place for 10 years. It doesn't appear that they've been the jobs-creating juggernaut they were advertised to be.
But not all news is dour. I did notice an article announcing that homes worth more than $20 million are starting to sell again.
On the road to the poor house
Re "Deficit hopes scaled back as Boehner pulls support," July 10, and "No program is sacred in deficit talks," July 8
As an ordinary citizen, I don't know how to describe the ongoing debt-ceiling "negotiations" other than "appalling." I can't influence what is going on, but my family, friends, neighbors and I will be the victims of the outcome.
Most damning is the emerging reality that our current "leaders" are concerned not about ruining the country but only about which party gets the blame.
Is this leadership, or is it simply a group of people pandering to their respective interest groups so they can raise campaign money?
Polls show that most Americans want to abolish the Bush tax cuts for the rich and for corporations, want Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid preserved, and think that jobs and the economy are far more important than our deficit right now. Yet Republicans keep claiming that our No. 1 concern is our debt and that taking our taxes back to what they were during the Clinton administration is "off the table."
We have become a more mean-spirited society. Conservatives believe that if you can't keep up, too bad for you. Christians, which conservatives claim to be, believe that the least of us deserve not to be cast aside.
If I were starting my life today, I don't think I would choose to live in a society in which money and power are the only things that are important.
Debt-ceiling discussions are not a game. It's not the World Series or the Super Bowl.
The winner is not supposed to be the Democrats, Republicans or the president. The only winner should be the United States.
As Social Security and Medicare are, or will be, a large part of the problem, they need to be fixed. The least painful approach for Social Security would be to increase taxable wages from about $107,000 to $250,000 or more. My wife and I would pay more, but I don't believe that people with incomes greater than $100,000 would be hurt.
I haven't heard a peep about this for months, certainly not from Republicans but also not from Democrats.
Re "Keeping pupils' skills sharp," July 7
With 2 1/2 months off, of course students lose a lot over the summer. The assertion that drop-in-the-bucket, feel-good grants by some corporations to school districts to "close the achievement gap" make a significant difference obscures the central issue.
Why does any state embrace the antiquated agrarian calendar for education that caps learning at 180 school days? Increasing the school year to 216 days and mandating that there are no breaks of greater than three consecutive weeks would have a significant impact on reducing student retrenchment.
To do so would require increasing education funding, which the U.S. Department of Education can do in the form of a per capita block grant. It's time to make education a federal priority to provide equal opportunities for all.
Re "Patt Morrison Asks: Kenny Kingston," Opinion, July 9
As a Times subscriber and a science educator, I object to a nearly full-page interview with a psychic.