Pay-to-play laws waste taxes, breach 1st Amendment rights

(Regarding article “President opposes law that snared Blagojevich,” May 27.) President Obama is smart to reject the so-called pay-to-play ethics laws that prevent companies from bidding on public works projects funded by the stimulus package.

Craig Holman of Public Citizen wrongly claims that such laws don’t inhibit competitive contracting. In fact, a recent lawsuit in New Jersey involved a contractor who submitted the lowest bid for a paving job, only to be rejected because he had given relatively modest contributions to a local political party.

These laws don’t only reduce the number of companies eligible to bid on contracts; they limit the First Amendment rights of citizens by telling them they must choose between their jobs and their desire to support their political beliefs. As long as contracts are competitively bid in a fair and open process, there is absolutely no danger of campaign contributions improperly influencing who gets government contracts. The Obama administration should be praised for recognizing this obvious truth.

Alexandria, Va.

Self-employed need healthcare pool option

From Virginia Daley

Self-employed people who are the least able to pay are being charged unaffordable prices for healthcare. I had to drop my HMO, Kaiser, because it hiked my monthly premium to $967 — plus co-pays!

Even if you can afford insurance, you cannot use it because showing up as sick — even with minor or borderline problems — causes rates to soar, so small things untreated develop into serious conditions that are even more expensive to treat later on.

There is no group you can join in D.C. — only employment-based groups — to get into a pool, so there is no hope if you have a preexisting condition of getting affordable coverage that is any good.

Please establish a national ban on penalizing for preexisting conditions and give us all the lower group rate! Have a national plan at least as a choice.

Those able to get a group rate through a pool have no idea how we are discriminated against. The smugly subsidized don’t care about those less fortunate and parrot fears of government bureaucrats rationing care, but seem oblivious that insurance bureaucrats are doing that now!



Regarding “The Incredible Shrinking Clintons,” Dick Morris, May 27

Must have missed that

From Edward Stern

Dick Morris wrote: “Even though Obama appointed Hillary, he clearly has not been willing to make her a co-president and confines her to the diminished role of her department.” For this, I thank you for allowing Morris to show himself as silly.

Did Dick complain that other presidents did not make their secretaries of state their co-presidents? I must have missed that.  Did Dick complain, when other presidents designated special envoys to the Middle East or Ireland or elsewhere, that they diminished the role of the State Department? I must have missed that, too.

Dick Morris demeans Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton by suggesting she did not know that State works with Defense, the National Security Council, the CIA and others. That is just silly.

Bethesda, Md.

Forever envious

From Rich Ungar

Dick Morris writes about the Clintons being “marginalized,” yet the former senator is now secretary of state and with the help of George Mitchell and Richard Holbrooke, she can address the North Korea issue and Iran’s threat.

Morris then attacks former President Clinton for accepting the challenge of helping aid Haiti. What has Mr. Morris ever done in his life with regard to helping the poor and the suffering?

Mr. Morris has had a nonstop infatuation with the Clintons ever since he was discharged from the Clinton administration. Mr. Morris has a lot of baggage that is not worth going into, but it is important to note that he is forever envious in his relentless attacks on whatever the Clintons do.

Why The Hill would waste valuable space on such bathroom-tissue content defies logic. Every time I read Dick Morris I think of a guy who could stand naked in front of the White House and nobody would notice.

Sarasota, Fla.