Explaining debt crisis isn’t as difficult as GOP makes it

I am amazed at the incompetence of Republicans in Washington when it comes to explaining the simplest issues. They go way into the weeds explaining our spending and debt, when all they have to say is: “Last year, the government took in $2.7 trillion, spent $3.8 trillion and our national debt is $16.6 trillion. That is like a family of four making $27,000 a year but spending $38,000, with $166,000 in credit card debt. That is a recipe for disaster: At that rate, this family will just continue to add to that debt and never pay off the credit card. President Obama’s spending policies will make your children pay for the debts he is running up. Republicans want to reduce the debt and save your children from the burden of paying off an impossible debt, run up by Obama’s policies.” How hard is that for them to say? 

About the debt: All they have to do is quote Obama, when, as a presidential candidate in 2008, he criticized then-President George W. Bush for adding $4 trillion to the national debt, saying; “The problem is, is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt from $5 trillion dollars for the first 42 presidents — number 43 added $4 trillion dollars by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion dollars of debt that we are going to have to pay back — $30,000 for every man, woman and child,” he said at a campaign event in Fargo, N.D. “That’s irresponsible. It’s unpatriotic.” 

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On sequestration, Obama claims it was a Republican idea that will cause the economy to fail. First, the GOP should quote Robert Woodward, who reported that the idea came from the White House. Second, they need to explain that while the president claims these cuts are so drastic, school teachers and police will lose their jobs and White House tours must be canceled, teachers and police are not paid by the federal government and the price of his three-day golf trip with Tiger Woods would have kept the White House tours going for six months or more. They could also explain that the $85 billion only amounts to 2.5 percent of the annual budget. With all the waste and fraud in the government, surely it can cut 2.5 percent. Especially because on Jan. 1 of this year, the FICA tax that comes out of worker’s pay checks went up by 2 percent, thereby forcing all working Americans to learn to live with a 2 percent pay cut.

These are just three of hundreds of examples where the ball has been teed up for the Republican Party leadership in Washington, yet they can’t take advantage of it. Is it any wonder they lose elections and President Obama is making them look like bumbling idiots?

From Conrad Quagliaroli, Woodstock, Ga.

Stop using tax dollars to support animal testing

World Week for Animals in Laboratories (April 20-28) spotlights the millions of animals who suffer and die each year in research and testing. This is an important time to address the myth that animal experiments are a “necessary evil” essential for medical progress.

In February, the National Academy of Sciences published an extensive study that revealed how decades of research and billions of dollars spent on mice experiments to study burns, trauma and sepsis were effectively useless and misdirected treatments in people because the mice responded in ways that are completely different from people.

This is not the first study to demonstrate that a significant area of animal research has been a costly waste, but if society is paying attention, it should be the last.

A new era in biomedical science has emerged without the use of animals, using human cell cultures, genomics and digital imaging, to name a few of the many available methods. Increasingly, scientists are acknowledging that animal research is not producing the results attributed to it, or deserving of billions of taxpayer dollars. Nor does it justify the incredible suffering involved.

From Rocio Luparello, Frederick, Md.

Defeat of gun control measure heartbreaking

The path from Newtown, Conn., to Capitol Hill has taken a terrible turn for the worse (“Senate rejects background checks on gun purchases in 54-46 vote,” April 17). 

The only conclusion I can draw from the Senate’s rejection of the bipartisan Toomey-Manchin amendment is this: those 20 children and six adults who were slaughtered at Sandy Hook Elementary School last December died in vain. 

So what went wrong? Two things. First, raw politics trumped common sense. Several senators up for reelection in 2014 decided the negative blowback for voting against gun-rights legislation was far greater than voting against gun control. 

Second, the heat went out of the public fire. The NRA and its supporters are a smaller, but far more vocal, group than the 90 percent of Americans who want more restrictions on guns.

Wednesday’s vote wasn’t just disappointing, it was heartbreaking. I urge Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to try again soon.

From Denny Freidenrich, Laguna Beach, Calif.