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Letters to the editor 09-02-2011

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About school buses
Thank you for covering public education in Marion County and sharing the latest information with your readers on a regular basis. Community publications serve a vital role in our society.
The first week of school has been busy but very successful thanks to students, parents, teachers, support workers, and countless others in our community, including bus drivers.
Can you imagine the responsibility placed on you, as a bus driver, to personally and safely transport dozens of students to and from school every day? And on the very first day, which was the target of your recent editorial, picking up thousands of students for the very first time? How daunting must it be for the kindergarten youngster who steps aboard yet is comforted by a bus driver who greets him or her with a smile, friendly comment, and then places a colored wristband on each student to ensure they get on the right bus in the afternoon?
Yes, this critical step stops traffic briefly. But this inconvenience ensures students make it home safely by getting to the right bus and stepping off at the right bus stop. It is a small sacrifice to pay when car drivers have already stopped thanks to the flashing red lights on the bus.
Imagine how our community would come to a halt if thousands of kids ended up scattered across the county each afternoon on the wrong bus, at the wrong bus stop, because they had no wristband to remind them of their destination? We’re sorry the morning drive time is inconvenienced at the start of each school year, but we won’t apologize for taking every step necessary to protect our children, the most precious resource we have. Surely two minutes is worth children making it home safely.
Kevin Christian
Public Relations Officer / Coordinator of Television Media Productions
Marion County Public Schools

Postal Service
Regarding the editorial printed on Aug. 12, 2011 pertaining to the Postal Service. It contains a few incorrect and misleading statements.
The first incorrect statement is “asking Congress to pay the cost of future health care for its employees.” This is completely wrong. What the United States Postal Service (USPS), its unions, and large mailers are asking Congress to do is return overpayments into the federal pension system. The Inspector General has determined that the USPS has overpaid the pension system $75 billion, all this money coming from the payment of postage. No, I repeat, no tax money is involved. This money would then be added to the $42 billion that has already been set aside for future retiree health benefits. What this means is that USPS would then have banked 75 years’ worth of benefit payments. Employees not even born yet are paid for. There is no entity private or public that has been forced by law to do this. In fact I have no knowledge of anyone who has even 3 years’ worth of payments set aside.
The second misleading statement is “unable to finance its current obligations.” For the last four years USPS has set aside $20.9 billion in health benefit payments, total losses for the four years — $20.3 billion. Operationally USPS had a profit of $600 million. This profit was earned during the worst recession since the thirties.
Third misstatement “federal bailout,” since no tax money is involved, only money paid by the mailing public, and none will be needed in the near future how can this be a bailout? I do realize that USPS has to change to stay relevant in today’s society. This is what the Postal Service has done for over 220 years, it has adapted to the railroad, telegraph, telephone, airplane, radio, fax, and now the Internet.
The founding fathers knew that it was important to have a postal system, that is why they put it in the constitution. Let us keep it that way by returning its own money to it and relieve the pressure to make a $5.5 billion profit to make payments on top of payments that have already been made.
Fred Hassen
Ocala

Handling of economy?
Should we really change the leadership of our country and turn the whole government over to the Republicans? History has shown that when it comes down to making decisions to improve conditions for the average American, the Republicans have come up missing in action.
They were not only willing to allow our country to default on our obligations they refused to negotiate with the president to prevent this disaster from happening. They disrupted important meetings concerning saving our country from default on its obligations by refusing to talk and even walked out of these meetings concerning the national financial obligations.
With nothing good coming out of these meetings their leader in the House, John Boehner, bragged that he got 98 percent of what he wanted by not negotiating for the American people. We have heard from our president that when congress reconvenes in September after their summer recess he is going to propose a bill to create jobs and put our unemployed to work.
I would bet a week’s pay that the Republicans will not allow anything to pass that would help unemployed or underemployed Americans. Any takers?
Jerry Segovis
Ocala

FairTax is the answer
Where are we going? Is this what the founding fathers envisioned? What are our elected officials doing to alleviate the situation?
The answers to these questions are: No where, No way, and Not much.
It seems that no matter what the politicians say they will do, nobody does anything. Are they even working on the right problems?
Our country goes into a recession with millions of our citizens out of work and the government decides to spend all their time working on a “health care” policy that the vast majority of the citizens do not want.
Instead of working on ways to get the economy moving, they decide to implement moratoriums and massive amounts of regulations that are forcing companies to close and jobs to be lost.
Instead of facing the coming demise of Social Security and Medicare if reform is not implemented, they avoid any topic that may be controversial in hope of getting re-elected on their rhetoric rather than on their leadership.
It doesn’t make sense.
If the members of Congress and the administration had the courage and the leadership to enact the FairTax (HR 25), many of our economic problems would disappear.
The United States would go from the highest corporate tax rate in the world to the lowest which would encourage massive growth.
With growth comes jobs and with jobs come increased revenue to the U.S. coffers to pay down our debt.
Since everyone will be paying taxes and a percentage of those taxes must go to Social Security and Medicare, the FairTax will keep these programs solvent for many more years.
These are just two points of the benefits of the FairTax over the current income tax system.
If you want to know more, I suggest you go to FairTax.org or FLFairTax.org and read about it for yourself. I did.
Elaine Maiellaro
Ocala

What Democrats?
When someone says they are a member of the Democrat Party, my retort is: What Democrat Party?
There is no Democrat Party.
The Democrat Party was hijacked a long time ago by Socialists, and Marxists. Factions too cowardly to run out in the open. They co-opted the Democrat Party, by stealth.
Anyone calling themselves a Democrat is fooling no one but themselves.
Our founding fathers went through hell (literally, read the sacrifices they made) to give us freedom.
Yeah, there are those who are willing to sell that freedom for a couple of bucks not even 40 pieces of silver}. Freedom comes cheap to some people.
They do not have a clue of the worth of freedom. Freedom is the rarest commodity in the history of mankind. More precious than gold.
Real Democrats have been hood-winked.
If there were a true Democrat Party I might be tempted to join (Rhino’s are no bargain), but a Socialist-Marxist Party is not my cup of tea.
D.I. Larson
Ocala