Venezuela's problems; Caring community; No more taxes — Letters to the Editor 1-3-18

Real cause for Venezuela’s suffering

In the article Dave Robinson’s latest disaster preparedness article, “Listening to Venezuela” (Dec. 30), the author failed to correctly address the cause of the people of Venezuela’s suffering.

Venezuela is indeed having problems with supplying sufficient food and medicine to its people. However, this is not the result of neglect or malfeasance on the part of its government.

Last August, President Trump ordered a blockade against Venezuela. As a result, financial institutions like Citibank refused to pass payment on to suppliers. Shiploads of foods and medicine were held up and not delivered.

Meanwhile, Columbia refused to sell Venezuela anti-malaria medicine so it had to buy it from India; the country has entered into contracts with Mexico and Panama to supply it with food; and it is doing all it can to counter the shortages imposed by the crippling blockade.

—James Sherwood



Community response, caring is amazing

The generosity of the Florence community continues to amaze me. The Salvation Army “Red Kettle” campaign has been a huge success this year with over $27,000 donated during the four-week effort.

Over 110 citizens volunteered to “Ring the Bell” during the holidays. I’d like to give a special acknowledgement to Paul Rumpca, who manned a kettle at least two hours, every day of the campaign.

Wayne Sharpe and George Henry did an excellent job of “talking up the campaign” on the radio and they actually rang the bell for over 12 hours.

A special thanks is due to Lisa Hall at U.S. Bank, who cheerfully “counted the loot” every day to ensure we had accurate totals.

The managers at all the kettle locations are to be thanked and their employees were helpful and courteous in securing the kettles.

But the “true soldiers” who “manned the kettles” for over 500 hours were the caring, generous, loving people of our wonderful town. Without them coming forward, we could never have reached — and exceeded— our goal.

To each and everyone of you, I would like to publicly express my personal thank you for your generosity and commitment to making this, our town, the wonderful place it is.

—Sam Spayd

“Red Kettle” coordinator, 2017


Say ‘No’ to no more taxes

Many of us pay for health insurance on our own. It is one of the biggest issues facing young families. My daughter and her husband, along with their new baby, live on one full-time and one part-time salary while paying $750/month for health insurance with a $20,000 deductible.

That means they can’t afford to have special procedures or care because it all would come out of their own pocket.

I know there are lots of folks who can’t afford health insurance at all, but the concept of taxing health insurance is not smart.

There are other ways to pay rather than putting the burden on local school insurance plans (Oregon districts will total $25 million), charge college student plans, community colleges, small businesses and even Medicaid providers.

Few states in the country impose a tax on premiums, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. And most states that have expanded the population eligible for Medicaid, including California and Washington, have covered increasing costs with General Fund dollars.

This way, everyone pays for Medicaid, rather than singling out those who pay for healthcare.

I believe in a healthcare safety net for the state’s most vulnerable residents. Oregon is among the fastest growing states in the U.S. and the economy continues to generate record revenue. There are alternate funding proposals to fill the Medicaid gap.

The question of how to fairly pay for such an essential program is exactly what the Oregon legislature and governor should have figured out — and can if we send the issue back.

A “No” vote is the only way to hold the Oregon Legislature and our governor accountable for their failure to budget responsibly. Until you start holding the people you voted for in Salem accountable, you can expect more and more taxes.

—Sherry Harvey



Government is poor at picking winners  

Of late, there have been letters decrying the Tax Plan, income and wealth. Here’s a short list of American companies that employ millions, all started by people willing to risk it all: Amazon, Apple, Bell Labs, Compaq, Dell, Exxon, Federal Express, Google...

These companies have enriched the lives of billions worldwide.

By comparison, here’s a similar list from government controlled Worker’s Paradises: USSR, Cuba, China, North Korea and Venezuela. Each of the following green energy companies backed by the federal government since 2008 had failed outright by the end of 2012:

Evergreen Solar ($25 million), SpectraWatt ($500,000), Solyndra ($535 million), Beacon Power ($43 million), EnerDel’s subsidiary Ener1 ($118.5 million), Abound Solar ($400 million), A123 Systems ($279 million), Willard and Kelsey Solar Group ($700,981), Raser Technologies ($33 million), Energy Conversion Devices ($13.3 million), Mountain Plaza, Inc. ($2 million), Olsen’s Crop Service and Olsen’s Mills Acquisition Company ($10 million), Range Fuels ($80 million), Thompson River Power ($6.5 million), Stirling Energy Systems ($7 million), Azure Dynamics ($5.4 million), Nordic Windpower ($16 million), Satcon ($3 million), Konarka Technologies Inc. ($20 million)

Governments have a very poor record of picking winners.

Without capital to invest in new ideas and technologies, stagnation occurs.

 —Ian Eales


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