support middle class
Regarding the Sept. 12 letter, "What's the matter with the middle class?":
My reply would be, "nothing." The writer asserts that folks in the middle class oppose policies that would help them and favor policies that hurt them. I believe he has it exactly backward.
As an example, he gives opposition to labor unions. While, historically, unions improved wages and conditions for workers, and were at one time essential, they have become part of the problem. Wages and benefits that were too generous drove employers out of business or to nonunion labor markets.
The writer praises Obamacare. But Obamacare will take away a person's right to choose what he or she wants in health insurance. It is going to be financially disastrous and it will take health care decisions away from doctors and patients and put them in the hands of bureaucrats.
The writer says people turn to public employees when in need, but support the "demonizing" of these same people. I don't believe anyone is demonizing firefighters and police officers. People are concerned that a benefit plan that allows such employees to retire after 25 years on a pension that can approach 80 percent of their pay is simply unsustainable.
Lastly, he beats the old dead horse of "tax cuts for the rich." Confiscating all the wealth of the top 1 percent of earners would not solve our financial problems. What is needed is a complete overhaul of our tax system that reduces rates, cuts out most, if not all, loopholes and requires nearly everyone to pay something, however small. We are approaching the point where nearly half of U.S. citizens are paying no income taxes.
The middle class understands that policies that are too expensive and too intrusive have got to go. More individual freedom and less government will best benefit the middle class.
JAMES M. SHIPPEN
contribute to economy
Regarding the Aug. 27 letter, "How can so many still support Obama?":
The letter addresses two very important issues: the effect of unions on our economy and the effect of union contributions on our political process.
The writer cites the book, "Shadowbosses: Government Unions Control America and Rob Taxpayers Blind," by Mallory Factor. Here is a quote from the book: "Corporations hire lobbyists to present their interests - at least the corporations actually contribute to the growth of our economy by making products and providing services that make the pie bigger and make America more competitive." Really? Do public-service union members not contribute to our society? Provide for our safety? Educate our children? How is educating our future leaders not contributing to our economy?
On the second point, the effect of union contributions pales in comparison to the money unleashed on our political process as a result of the Supreme Court's Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission decision. The decision gave free-speech rights to corporations. Corporations are not people, yet they can now make unlimited political contributions.
Citizens United must be overturned.
We must restore our democracy and restore the idea of one person, one vote. Call your New Jersey representatives and urge them to vote yes for Assembly resolution 86 and Senate resolution 47, which ask Congress to propose an amendment to the Constitution.
by EZ-Pass mistakes
How many people have paid a fine for an EZ-Pass violation based on erroneous information alleged by employees of the Atlantic City Expressway or the Garden State Parkway?
I recently received a rather official looking "notice of enforcement action" in the mail. The notice stated that my vehicle was photographed on Aug. 9 at 7:05 p.m. driving through a toll gate without paying the 75-cent charge on the expressway. In the upper right corner of the notice was a very obscure image of a vehicle. The license plate was not legible. The notice demands payment of 75 cents plus a $25 administrative fee and warns that if action is not taken within15 calendar days a civil penalty up to $500 per violation could be added.
I knew there was a mistake. I called the office and after several attempts I reached an employee, who checked the image again. One of the numbers on the license plate did not match mine. She said there had been a mistake made. The absence of an apology was noted.
Fortunately, I was able to reconstruct my travels on that day, and fortunately the image was sufficiently clear to see that one of the numbers on the plate did not match mine.
EZ-Pass is a monopoly with a less-than-acceptable history. And I'll bet it only gets worse.
Egg Harbor Township
take election seriously
In a few weeks, we will be asked to cast our votes for president of the United States, choosing between President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
Before casting your vote, do your homework. This many be the most important day of your life. Consider all the elements. What has Obama accomplished during his term in office, and what would Romney do to keep America strong, economically and strategically, and No. 1 in the world?
Rain or shine, get out and vote. It could be your vote that decides who our next president will be in.
deserve a debate
Regarding the Sept. 13 story, "LoBiondo won't debate Democratic challenger":
Republican Rep. Frank LoBiondo has refused to debate his 2nd District opponent, Democrat Cassandra Shober.
LoBiondo has "represented" the largest congressional district in the state of New Jersey for more than 17 years. Despite the fact that the 2nd District has among the highest unemployment and poverty rates in the state, he has signed the Grover Norquist pledge, promising that he will never vote to raise taxes and ask for a fair share from those who can better afford it.
And, instead of helping out his constituents, LoBiondo voted to repeal funding for state health benefit exchanges, which would offer people a choice of health plans and encourage competitive premiums. And he wants to replace Medicare with a voucher system.
We, the people, deserve to hear both candidates debate the issues before casting our votes.