Right-wing politicians again standing up for Big Business

Congress has effectively killed the president’s plan to create nearly 2 million new jobs and jump-start the economy, in part because it would have required millionaires and big corporations to pay their fair share. Now Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.) and his right-wing colleagues are once again standing up for Big Business at the expense of middle-class Americans (“Lawmakers clash over union election bill,” Oct. 12). 

Currently, workers face delays of months and sometimes years before they get to vote on whether to have a union, if they get to vote at all. And the longer the delay, the more likely employers are to engage in unlawful intimidation of their employees. Rather than correct that problem, as a recently proposed National Labor Relations Board rule aims to do, Kline’s new legislation would mandate a delay — during which time unscrupulous employers could engage in threats, coercion and even firing of voters.

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The ongoing efforts of corporate-backed politicians like Kline to hold back progress for the middle class make it increasingly clear how out of touch many lawmakers are. The growing “Occupy Wall Street” protests serve as a critical reminder of the need for standards that hold big corporations accountable so that the rest of us have a fair shake. It’s time for our elected officials to get the message and begin to do the job they were elected to do. And a bill intended to prevent workers from getting a fair vote is definitely not what we elected them to do.

From Kimberly Freeman Brown, executive director of American Rights at Work, Washington, D.C.

Cain’s 9-9-9 plan would hurt the poor and elderly

There must be something I’m missing: It seems to me Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan would put the elderly, the sick and the down-trodden in an even deeper hole.

I have no problem with a 9 percent tax on corporate income, but I do have a problem with a 9 percent tax on personal income, and a 9 percent tax on sales receipts.

Let me explain: There are many people in America that pay no income tax simply because they are at the poverty level. But according to Herman Cain’s 999 plan they would have to pay 9 percent they don’t have.

What about those that have no job? Will they have to pay 9 percent on their unemployment check?

Then there is the matter of 9 percent tax on sales receipts. I would invite Mr. Cain to go grocery shopping, or go with some of the elderly when they go buy their medicine. Nine percent would have a crippling effect on those who are having to make the decision each month as to whether to buy food or groceries.

I’m hoping there is something I don’t understand about Mr. Cain’s 999 plan, but the way I understand it now, it will harm those that need our help the most.

From George T. Weir, Jacksboro, Texas.

How can GOP claim to be fiscally responsible?

Republicans will pay for their obstructionism and efforts to block President Obama’s jobs bill in the Senate in 2012 election, and I imagine in the streets (“Obama’s jobs plan blocked in Senate,” Oct. 11). They have become so hostile and argumentative, and seem unfit to serve “we the people” in my book — they have been very uncaring as public servants. Why some of them aren’t jumping ship and saying “enough is enough” I can’t understand.

Plus, they haven’t done a thing for struggling Americans since this economic downturn — except protest and condemn Obama’s agenda. How they can claim to be fiscally responsible is beyond me when they rubber-stamped all George Bush’s requests for a full eight years of his presidency, to the tune of nearly$11 trillion. And that doesn’t include the almost $1 trillion dollars in surplus Clinton left behind in the Treasury. 

How about trying to be good and cooperate, and help the country and those out of work and struggling in their homes or on the street, for a change?

From Doris Cadigan, Natick, Mass.

Keystone XL pipeline poses too many dangers

On Oct. 7, thousands of concerned citizens came to Washington, D.C., from across the country to speak out against TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline at a final public meeting held by the U.S. State Department.

There are many good reasons for the unprecedented showing of public opposition to this project. Tar sands pipelines are dangerous, and the Keystone XL poses an unacceptable risk to our nation’s most important water resources and to wildlife. Transporting corrosive and abrasive tar sands crude through a pipeline will lead to spills and leaks, such as the 12 spills experienced by the first Keystone pipeline in its first year of operation the United States. If the Keystone XL spills into the Ogallala aquifer — which provides essential water supply to two million people — it would be devastating.

The U.S. State Department’s Environmental Impact Statement fails to adequately address the environmental impacts and safety risks posed by the pipeline. I’m counting on President Obama to reject this unacceptable project.

From Ruth Kastner, Greenbelt, Md.