Who Is Grandstanding Now?
In the aftermath of the Sarah Foxwell tragedy, there has been much talk about how government can better protect children from sexual predators. Indeed, this horrific incident should mandate an exhaustive review of the current statutes regarding sexual predation, and public leaders must strive to identify any gaps or shortcomings in the laws that currently exist, making every effort to at the very least mitigate them.
Last week, Michael James penned a letter to this newspaper stating his opinions on how state legislators should proceed with regard to tightening up child predator laws and monitoring/tracking procedures. In this letter, he refers to the victim familiarly as “young Sarah,” and suggests implicitly—and incorrectly—that legislative delays that occurred during the crafting of Maryland’s version of Jessica’s Law in 2006 were somehow related to this tragedy. He further decried those delays as being the result of legislators “grandstanding for political points.”
The underlying motives of Mr. James’s letter though are suspect at best. Moreover, questions can be raised about the originality of his recommendations. Consider the following:
Michael James point #1: “For child sexual predators, there must be no good time credits, no parole and no early release. Mandatory 25 years must mean 25 years served.” On December 28th, Maryland Senator Nancy Jacobs was quoted as saying, “They’re not staying in jail for 25 years, and they should be. No probation needs to mean no probation. What happens is they give them good time credits for their good behavior while in jail.”
Michael James point #2: “Classification and communication between states must be precise and uniform. A high-risk predator in Delaware is high-risk everywhere, and it needs to be known to the world.” Maryland Senate President Mike Miller had been quoted days earlier saying that, “Maryland should have known that this person was a major sex offender in Delaware. We have to have a better way of communicating with other states and federal agencies about people with serious records who are crossing our borders.”
The striking similarities in both content and structure that these statements share could perhaps be written off as being coincidental. But in his pursuit of being elected to public office, Mr. James should understand that just as paraphrasing the work of others is a no-no in school, it is recognized as such in the political arena as well.
The citizens of Delmarva demand that their leaders be capable of producing the critical thought and analysis necessary to identify solutions to problems. Those who feel that it is sufficient to recycle the positions of others for the sole purpose of personal gain simply will not do. Unless Mr. James demonstrates an understanding that the constituency that he aspires to represent expects hard work and sincerity from its leadership, his prospects for being elected to public office will suffer.
Mr. James is absolutely correct in his assertion that grandstanding for political points should not be tolerated. With this in mind, the next time he composes a letter recommending a certain course of action for government, Mr. James should at minimum address it to those elected officials that he attempts to direct, as opposed to simply sending it to a newspaper for public exposure. This way, no suspicions might arise that he engages in the very sort of political grandstanding that he professes to disdain.
Joseph L. Kroart III
West Ocean City
Need To Be Addressed
Your Dec. 24, 2009 issue included a long-winded letter from Richard H. Beatty, which, while at times admittedly sarcastic, was as negative and defeatist a characterization of some of our federal government’s most successful social programs as any I have seen. Although Mr. Beatty is correct in pointing out that there have been serious problems in the specific programs on which he focuses – Social Security, Medicare, and the VA Health-care Program – his evaluation of the past efforts and future capability of the government to manage such large social programs is grossly unfair.
As sad as Mr. Beatty’s ridicule of the government is, however, his sins of omission are even worse. While grossly magnifying the flaws and shortcomings of those selected government programs, he neglects to mention that they are both more effective and more efficient than the bulk of our existing health-care system run almost exclusively by private-sector profit-driven corporations. He simply ignores the following established facts:
— The United States is the wealthiest country in the world, yet it is the only major industrialized country which does not guarantee health coverage to all its citizens. We spend twice as much per person for health care, yet we have some 46 million people who have no health insurance and approximately 40,000 of our citizens die each year simply because they cannot afford health care.
— The government programs Mr. Beatty disparages spend 95% or more of their funds on the programs for which they exist, whereas the private health-care corporations, on average, devote about 25% of their income to “overhead – including such things as advertising, lobbying Congress, exorbitant executive salaries and bonuses, ever-increasing returns to stockholders, and paying bonuses to claims examiners based on how many claims they are able to deny. Our health care costs have continued to grow at about four times the rate of our overall economy, while many of our basic health care outcomes – life expectancy, infant mortality, deaths from preventable diseases – rank us somewhere around 37th among the industrialized nations.
— Both bills now pending in the Congress have flaws, but both have worthwhile provisions which would cut out some of the worst abuses of the current system. Over ten years, the Senate version would provide health insurance to another 31 million people and the House version to 36 million. While cost is still a concern, the Congressional Budget Office has said that both bills are paid for over the next ten years and would reduce future deficits.
— The overwhelming majority of beneficiaries of the three government programs Mr. Beatty targets consider them essential to their security and basic well-being. How many more millions of our most vulnerable senior citizens would go without adequate food, shelter and clothing without Social Security, or without life-saving medical care and drugs without Medicare? How many of our disabled veterans would receive no care at all without the VA Health-care System?
Perhaps most disturbing is the fact that, while recognizing that the purpose of the current health-care bills – “to provide affordable health care coverage for all Americans” – is “a noble objective”, Mr. Beatty offers not a single idea for how we might achieve that goal. His message is the same as that of every Republican in both houses of Congress – “Just say no”.
Our current health care system is an economic nightmare and a moral outrage. The basic reason for this is that we have allowed it to be taken over by corporate predators whose fundamental goal is always to maximize profit. To correct this situation, we do not need to – and no bill now proposes to – put in place a system totally insured, managed, and operated by the government. We do need to assert the government’s right and duty to “promote the general welfare” by regulating rampant profiteering on the part of those best described by progressive Republican President Teddy Roosevelt a century ago as “malefactors of great wealth”. We can best begin by heeding the words of progressive Democrat Franklin Roosevelt a half-century later:
“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”
So, come on Mr. Beatty, take a less-jaundiced look at how the facts really are, get back in sync with the national character we like to praise so highly, urge our representatives in Congress to recognize the moral imperative and pass the most progressive health-care reform bill they can, and then push them and help them to squeeze as much real waste, fraud, and abuse out of the system as possible.
Fight Health Care Bill
Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago, and our nation was the most prosperous in the world. We had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and mom stayed home to raise the kids. Taxes will be greatly added to this list if this horrible “unhealthy care bill” passes. Please remember, Obama said on Oct. 5, 2008, “We are 5 days away from fundamentally transforming America.” If the health care bill passes, it will fulfill his statement. Fight this by joining Americans for Prosperity on Jan. 28 at 6:30 p.m. at the Ocean Pines Community Center.
Accounts Receivable Tax, Building Permit Tax, CDL license Tax, Cigarette Tax, Corporate Income Tax, Dog License Tax, Excise Taxes, Federal Income Tax, Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA), Fishing License Tax, Food License Tax, Fuel Permit Tax, Gasoline Tax (currently 44.75 cents per gallon), Gross Receipts Tax, Hunting License Tax, Inheritance Tax, Inventory Tax, IRS Interest Charges, IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax), Liquor Tax, Luxury Taxes, Marriage License Tax, Medicare Tax, Personal Property Tax, Property Tax, Real Estate Tax, Service Charge Tax, Social Security Tax, Road Usage Tax, Sales Tax, Recreational Vehicle Tax, State Income Tax, State Unemployment Tax (SUTA), Telephone Federal Excise Tax, Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax, Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Taxes, Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax, Telephone Recurring and Non-recurring Charges Tax, Telephone State and Local Tax, Telephone Usage Charge Tax, Vehicle License Registration Tax, Vehicle Sales Tax, Watercraft Registration Tax, Well Permit Tax and Workers Compensation Tax.
Dennis W Evans