Republicans failed

to articulate a vision

The Republican ticket lost the presidential election because it failed to articulate a comprehensive vision for America's future. Rather than campaign on the promise of conservative principles, they chose to focus almost solely on the president's record of failure.

Democrats capitalized on the Republican ticket's vagueness and used unfortunate remarks from the most extreme among us to scare voters into believing that Republicans want to take from the poor to give to the rich and stuff women in binders.

In the end, most Americans decided, as the old adage goes, that they were better off with the devil they knew than the one they didn't. Hopefully the Republican Party be able to look back at this one as a big learning experience.

MIKE ASSAD

Absecon

Mike Assad unsuccessfully challenged incumbent U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-2nd, in the Republican primary in June.

Cape jazz festival

a treat after storms

The new Exit Zero International Jazz Festival had quite a dramatic debut Nov. 9-11 in Cape May.

After the battering New Jerseyans and other East Coast folks took from Hurricane Sandy and the snowy northeast storm, it was uplifting for music lovers to spend a weekend in this beautiful town listening to Ramsey Lewis, Christian McBride, Mark Murphy and many others, and basking in the almost-short-sleeve weather.

Bravo to the people who pulled this festival together.

ALEXANDER INGHAM

Morganville

Congress should adopt

this grand bargain

Here is a proposal for a "grand bargain" between Democrats and Republicans to address tax reform and to put Social Security and Medicare on sound footing.

Individuals should be taxed at a flat rate of 15 percent on all sources of income except dividends and capital gains, which should be taxed at 20 percent. All deductions, exemptions, tax credits, and allowances (including the Earned Income Tax Credit) would be eliminated. For businesses, earnings before taxes would be taxed at a flat rate of 20 percent. All deductions (except operating expenses) and allowances would be eliminated.

For Social Security, the ceiling on wages would be eliminated. The tax rate would rise 1/20 of 1 percent per year for the next 40 years, raising the tax rate from 6.2 percent to 8.2 percent. Early retirement at age 62 would be eliminated, retroactively if necessary to prevent a rush to retirement. There would be an increase of one year in the retirement age for individuals ages 40 to 54; two years for those 25 to 39; three years for those younger than 25. There would be no change in the retirement age for those 55 or older. Benefits would be reduced by 5 percent for those ages 45 to 54; 10 percent for those 34 to 44, and 15 percent for those younger than 35. Supplemental Security income, survivor benefits and disability benefits would be funded out of general tax revenue.

For Medicare, qualification on the basis of age would be the same as for Social Security. The Medicare tax rate would increase 1/20 of 1 percent for the next 40 years, raising the tax rate from 1.45 percent to 3.45 percent. Annual increases in Medicare spending would be capped at the rate of inflation plus 2 percent, plus population growth, possibly requiring some limits on extraordinary treatment measures.

Is there any politician with the guts to take this proposal and run with it?

JOHN ROBERTS JR.

Linwood

Share with your family

end-of-life decisions

As a nurse, I see time and again what happens when families come together at the bedside of a seriously ill parent without ever having planned - or even discussed - end-of-life decisions.

These decisions are wrenching enough. But when the dying parent has given children no guidance, the situation can be far worse.

The conflict can tear a family apart when it needs to come together. I tell everyone I know the best gift you can give your children is knowledge of your end-of-life wishes. Tell your loved ones want you want. Then put it in writing.

Our nursing home, Royal Suites Healthcare and Rehabilitation, is part of the Atlantic-Cape Community Coalition. During this Thanksgiving season, the coalition is coming together for a program called, "Let's Talk Turkey," to educate people about advanced health care directives and encourage families to start the conversation.

Drafting a health care directive is not complicated. Forms are available online. They specify, for instance, if a person does or does not want to live with a ventilator or feeding tube if physicians believe there is no chance for meaningful recovery.

As you gather with family, bring up the conversation. It may not be as much fun as chatting about the football game. But avoiding the discussion will not eliminate the need for answers in the future.

DIANE CONOVER

Royal Suites Healthcare & Rehabilitation

Galloway Township