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The Public Pulse, September 25

The Public Pulse, September 25

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Shutdown would hurt people’s savings

How can Congressman Lee Terry keep a straight face when he tells his constituents that the effort to shut down the government on Sept. 30 is done only to protect the self-employed and individual policyholders from Obamacare? What about the Nebraskans with investments in stocks, bonds, mutual funds and 401(k)s?

The vast majority of responsible economists predict a shutdown would have devastating effects on 401(k)s and all investment markets. How about protecting citizens from the loss of millions of dollars of value in their portfolios?

Also, don’t forget the effect of a government shutdown on our national security and slowly recovering economy. Get off this Tea Party-inspired collision course, which gambles with the future welfare of thousands of Nebraskans.

Terry’s prediction is that a shutdown of government would last only a day or two because a compromise would be reached. Why not reach a compromise before helping destroy the financial lives of tens of thousands of Nebraskans?

Frank J. Barrett, Omaha

Don’t just max out another credit card

President Obama recently made a remark that caught my attention as quite possibly the quintessential example of the utter failure of anyone in the mainstream media to hold him accountable for his frequent ridiculous assertions.

Addressing the debate over the raising of the debt ceiling, the president said, “This is not a deadbeat nation. We don’t run out on our tab.” The obvious absurdity lies in the fact that he equates paying the nation’s tab with simply borrowing more money.

So in President Obama’s view, paying a tab means you simply max out another credit card or fire up the presses at the Treasury Department and print more money. Too bad normal Americans do not have those options when trying to pay their bills.

Watch the media as they blame Republicans in the House for creating this problem. What they will never remind anyone of, and what people with a functioning brain know, is that President Obama and the Democrats control the White House and Senate, two-thirds of the government branches involved.

Mike McLaughlin, Papillion

Use responsibility, not video game bans

Rodger Duvall (Sept. 20 Pulse) needs to really step back and think about what he’s saying when he demands our government ban violent video games. In essence, he is asking for the government to decide what we read and watch. He is basically asking for our government to turn into a tyrannical police state that would dictate what we view, read and even drink and eat.

With liberty comes responsibility, and it’s not the federal government’s job to regulate video games. That’s the problem these days: Too many scream for government as a solution instead of taking personal responsibility to solve the problem. What Duvall should have demanded is that parents take control of what their kids are playing.

Scott Bray, La Vista

Some video games are constructive

Many video games involve continuous shooting. This, however, does not mean that the game is violent. Many violent video games do not involve shooting. One example is a game for the Wii called Mad World, in which you can impale people on spikes or stab them with street signs.

The idea that video games are the cause of recent mass shootings is comparable to the notion that television is why many children can’t read. There are many games that are not all about “killing, sex and bad language.” For example, the Ace Attorney Phoenix Wright games require advanced reading and deductive skills. The Professor Layton series requires advanced problem-solving skills.

Grand Theft Auto is a violent series with foul language, but many parents will still buy it for their kids. The reason is different for each parent. For some, it is to keep their kids out of trouble. Other parents just don’t care. And others buy it because they, too, want to play it.

Brandon Hall, Bellevue

Grouse only about what you pay taxes for

Regarding Rob Bligh’s complaint about the cost increase for the proposed UNO arena (Sept. 22 Pulse): As an Omaha taxpayer, he has every right to his comments regarding projects that have been taken on by the City of Omaha, such as the CenturyLink Center and TD Ameritrade Park.

However, Bligh went on to berate projects such as Ralston Arena, Werner Park and Pinnacle Bank Arena. These endeavors were taken on by Ralston, Sarpy County and Lincoln. They concern the taxpayers of those entities and are, frankly, none of his business.

Joe Shulo, Ralston

Way too soon to award credit for Syria

David W. McCord (Sept. 22 Pulse) surmises that President Obama was instrumental in Syria’s apparent willingness to surrender its chemical weapons. Does he credit Obama’s telegraphed plan, his disjointed televised speech or his promise of no more than three days’ worth of “punishment” missiles? Or does he credit Secretary of State John Kerry’s promise of an “unbelievably small” military strike?

Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad has countered Obama’s bluff by mocking his ability to actually destroy the weapons, as neither the United States nor any other country capable of their destruction, including Russia, has committed to the expense or the task of doing so. Russian President Vladimir Putin is less than certain that Assad will actually turn over any chemical weapons.

Folks such as McCord are so eager to sing the praises of Obama that they all too often get far ahead of his ability to actually accomplish anything he proposes — reduce poverty, improve life for the middle class, rein in Wall Street greed, create 5 million green jobs, cut the deficit in half, create a post-partisan Washington, etc.

If Obama’s attack threats turn out to have been the cause of Assad’s backing down, we need only wait for the speech from Obama claiming credit, followed by the books, the movie and a Nobel Peace Prize that he might have actually earned.

Curt Feyerherm, Olathe, Kan.

Medal of Honor is received, not ‘won’

Like Mike O’Hanlon (Sept. 21 Pulse), many people err in saying former Sen. Bob Kerrey “won the Medal of Honor.”

You do not win the Medal of Honor. You are a recipient of the medal. This is not a contest. When the medal was established during the Civil War, it was awarded as the nation’s highest medal for valor in combat.

I am a Vietnam combat veteran. Believe me, combat troops do not say to themselves, “I want to go out and win the medal.” Those who receive it generally were put in life-and-death situations and, with no regard for themselves, saved their fellow service members. Sadly, most of these medals are awarded to families, as the recipient has sacrificed his life.

Mike Covolo, Omaha

E-cig bans are at request of customers

Neena Kraemer-Solberg (Sept. 22 Pulse) wants to know why establishments are banning so-called e-cigs.

Smokers may be shocked to learn that smoking is not, nor has it ever been, a protected right. Conversely, the courts have long ago determined that businesses are free to restrict or prohibit any activities that are not protected rights. In this case the right of the business owners to ban electronic cigarettes trumps the nonexistent right of the nicotine addict.

Second, and probably more telling, is that the establishments are responding to loyal customers who have voiced concern with the spread of e-cigs on their premises.

There are plenty of businesses I no longer give my patronage to because they allow the use of these visually offensive devices. I suggest e-smokers likewise patronize only businesses that align with their values.

John R. Larsen, Omaha

Paying for ‘essential’ benefits I can’t use

According to the “Obamacare & You” special section (Sept. 22 World-Herald), since I am part of a group policy I will have to pay for added “ ‘essential health benefits’ including maternity and pediatric dental and vision coverage.”

As a 55-year-old male who cannot have children, maternity and pediatric dental and vision coverage are not essential to me. What’s next? The federal government requiring this middle-of-America Omahan to pay for hurricane insurance so those who decide to live in coastal areas can be covered?

Scott Darden, Omaha

Obamacare to drive costs down, not up

Jim Vokal (“Obamacare will prove costly,” Sept. 22 Midlands Voices) got it exactly wrong on nearly every count.

Because people who used to be excluded for pre-existing conditions will now have coverage, more money will go into the pool and hospitals won’t be absorbing the costs of their uninsured care. This will drive costs down, not up. “Healthy” people always pay the same rate for insurance as “sick people.” That’s the point of insurance.

Increasing the number of items covered by insurance, again, prevents hospitals from absorbing uncovered costs, thereby driving costs down, not up. Consumer choice will be improved by the marketplaces, not removed, so insurers will be forced to be more competitive, driving costs down, not up. Forcing more people to cover more items (substance abuse, maternity) will lower the cost of those items for everybody.

We have the most expensive and poorest quality health care in the industrialized world. “Obamacare” — which really should be called “Romneycare,” since he’s the governor who initiated the successful pilot program — was the brainchild of the conservative Heritage Foundation and is exactly the kind of “public-private” venture Newt Gingrich supported throughout his career. Because Republicans dominate our politics today, a single-payer plan was out.

“Romneycare” is the only thing we could hope to pass. Now that it has, Republicans want to get rid of it and go back to the bad old days.

Andrew R. White, Kearney, Neb.

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