Union Democrat staff

Freedoms not free

To the editor:

We are a country of immigrants, and should continue to extend

ourselves to others as long as we are able. However, we should never

reward those who break the law, whether they be those who enter our

country illegally, or employers who knowingly hire them.

When we talk of national security, the estimated 20 million

illegal aliens is frightening. I'm now wondering if our government

really cares. Where is the fence that was signed into law in 2006?

When we talk about our Social Security, my most recent statement

indicated that in 2017 we will begin paying more in benefits than we

collect in taxes, and without changes, by 2041, the Social Security

Trust Fund will be exhausted.

Again, I'm wondering if our government really cares. In spite of

those sobering statistics, I've heard that we are again considering

rewarding those who break the law, by a plan to award Social Security

earnings credits for work done illegally in the U.S.

I have always felt that we live in the greatest country in the

world, and am proud to be an American, but keep in mind that our

freedoms were not free.

Scott Richards

Long Barn

Progressive taxation

To the editor:

Our nation, over the past 30 years, followed the Republicans

down a path which allowed corporations to consolidate power to control

the marketplace. They enriched themselves massively as a consequence.

And, when these monster-sized corporations began to show signs of

collapse, we had really no choice but to prevent their complete failure

with massive public investments lest we see our entire economy go down

with these diseased corporate behemoths.

Today Goldman Sachs, one of the rescued financial institutions,

announced that it will hand out $18 billion in employee bonuses,

averaging $600,000 per employee. This is not behavior unique to Goldman

Sachs. This is standard operating procedure for the corporate big boys.

And this kind of obscene corporate greed has been robbing the rest of

us far more than the government has with its taxation.

In fact the only way, and the most morally and appropriate way

for the rest of us to repair this country and its economy is for us to

return to the kind of progressive taxation that was in effect under

Eisenhauer and Kennedy. In other words, it's time to raise taxes on the

rich - a lot. Remember that when these people find themselves in

control of lots of money they take a lot for themselves. That's a lot

more like stealing than earning.

We do indeed need to take most of it back from them in the form

of very high tax rates for earnings in excess of ... oh, I don't know,

maybe what we pay our president. Let your legislators know that we need

to tax the heck out of the filthy rich.

Bob Wetzel


Forest management

To the editor:

The June 9 letter "Stewards of the forests" (Gilbert Fryer)

speaks of God's request of man to be stewards of his creation, but

represents the antithesis of what most Christians mean by "Creation


The errors of fact in the author's diatribe against

"environmental groups" which "continue to litigate and stall sales and

harvests" require a response. During the past decade, not a single

environmental group has litigated against any timber sale or attempted

to block any fuel reduction project on the Stanislaus National Forest.

In response to the rant against environmental regulations,

readers should know that Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI) is presently

logging thousands of acres in the Sierra Nevada by clear-cutting.

Clear-cutting is about as far from Creation Care as one can imagine.

What form regulation should take is open to legitimate debate, but the

need for some government regulation to curb destructive practices is


The letter's claim that "environmental groups and government

regulations ... are attempting to destroy the health of our resources"

insults readers' intelligence. Private industry has its profit motive,

but what conceivable motivation to destroy "our forests and our lands"

could possibly drive citizen groups or democratically-elected


Forest management is complex and site specific, and reasonable

persons can honorably disagree on the details. But responsible care for

God's creation is not furthered by demonizing those with whom one


Rob Schaeffer, M.D.


Go Sarah!

To the editor:

This is a day to celebrate! Learning that Sarah Palin quit her

day-job is the best news - ever! I know she is feeling our pain, and

she can and will do something about it. She hasn't announced it yet,

but she will run for President in 2012.

I can feel it. I voted for "hope and change" in the last

election, but I didn't expect the kind of change we are now getting. I

don't want to live under socialism or communism. I finally woke up,

changed the channel and began listening to real news and getting real

facts, and I am truly disturbed at what is happening to our great


Please people, you need to wake up also, before it is too late. Go Sarah!

Lyndi Anderson