Action on climate needed at both state, national level

In September, the world’s leading climate scientists spoke with one voice, concluding that global warming is underway and that humans are almost certainly the cause. Of course it is, but climate deniers and, according to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Republicans, want Americans to distrust the science, ignore the impacts and absorb the costs of climate change (“Sen. Sanders: Global warming ‘far more serious problem than al Qaeda,’ ” Oct. 18). At the same time, the big polluters want to continue to dump unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into the air instead of adopting sensible limits that protect public health and slow climate change. That is wrong. We have an ethical obligation to protect our children and future generations from the effects of climate change.

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That is why it is so important that Vermont is strengthening the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a program to limit global warming emissions from power plants, so that it will lower pollution by an additional 20 percent within the decade. Sanders should be commended for his work in speaking out about climate change and acknowledging that it is a real issue and pushing his state forward in an action plan. Moving forward, state leaders should also support action in other states and at the federal level to reduce carbon pollution from power plants.

Roxbury Crossing, Mass.


Fannie, Freddie should go

From Matthew Glans, senior policy analyst, The Heartland Institute:

Could it be that finally legislators in Washington are open to making substantive efforts to shrink the footprint of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and improve the role of private companies in mortgage financing? The financial condition of both Freddie and Fannie has continued to deteriorate over the past few years. Years of mismanagement and poor decisions have taken their toll on the beleaguered government-sponsored enterprises, bleeding out billions in losses (“FHA’s Galante urges speedy overhaul of housing finance system,” Oct. 24).

While some supporters of Freddie and Fannie have pointed to supposed profits, these numbers are artificially inflated due to the companies delaying the inclusion of billions of dollars in potential losses.

The risk of yet another bailout for Freddie and Fannie always exists, as few limits on how much Fannie and Freddie are allowed to request fromthe Treasury Department or how often they’re allowed to go hat-in-hand. Ideally Freddie and Fannie should be abolished altogether.

Chicago


Take active role in UN

From William Johnson:

A new poll out this week has found that nearly 9 in 10 voters believe it’s important for the U.S. to maintain an active role in the United Nations.

I’m one of them.

This new poll shows that Americans overwhelmingly support the U.N.’s work, from overseeing the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons to building peace in countries emerging from conflict to improving access to vaccines globally. The findings were released by the Better WorldCampaign, an organization that works to strengthen the U.S.-U.N. relationship.

The U.N. serves our own national security and foreign policy interests in a big way. By taking an active role in the U.N., U.S. leaders can ensure that American priorities are heard on the world’s stage, including advancing democracy, human rights and emergency humanitarian aid in times of need. These findings should resonate with all of us on U.N. Day 2013, Oct. 24 — especially our elected officials.

Temple Hills, Md.


Keep guns from abusers

From Michael Lowery

Gun violence is a tragedy that could be prevented, if only ALL gun purchases required Brady background checks.

In recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we call upon Congress to pass pending legislation to expand Brady background checks on gun purchases, like H.R. 1565. It’s far too easy for dangerous domestic abusers to get their hands on guns and harm innocent victims. Current gun laws narrowly defining spousal relationships and a lack of a federal ban on stalkers subject to a restraining order continue to put women at risk and should be strengthened to protect them.

We simply must do more to limit the access domestic abusers have to firearms.

South Riding, Va.


Big gov’t, big problems 

From Michael McCarthy

The computer problems the administration is having with ObamaCare’s individual mandate will be multiplied next year when the employer mandate kicks in. Instead of producing products, providing services and making a profit, businesses will be coping with 2,900 pages of convoluted legislation, 20,000 pages of regulations and 10,000 contentious IRS auditors. These insurance exchanges, computer technologies and health services will not and cannot be fixed even if they go to single-payer healthcare. Like all other government programs, consumer choice is replaced by the bureaucratic discretion of the Secretary of the Department of Health.

ObamaCare epitomizes everything that is wrong with a government that is too big, too costly and too powerful. We don’t need minions of federal bureaucrats imposing new mandates, regulations and requirements on state and local bureaucrats who, in turn, impose these burdens on insurers, employers and individuals. We need to change the game. Don’t let the president threaten default again. Require federal officers to automatically pay the debt owed to federal bond holders, Social Security and pensioners. This will turn these debt-ceiling crises into deficit-
reduction debates.