November 5, 2013 

Debt-ceiling drama

Congress needs to get over the debt ceiling. The first debt ceiling law was passed in 1917. Woodrow Wilson was president. The whole thing was to advise the treasury regarding borrowing money to pay for World War I. There are only two industrialized nations that have debt ceilings. The other is Denmark. All the other countries get along fine without a ceiling. Someone will point out that these include Greece and Spain, and they are bankrupt. However, lack of a debt ceiling didn't have much to do with that. Germany, which is prosperous, doesn't have one either. Also, Congress can control debt because it has the power of the purse.

Also, since the stimulus, quantitative easing 1 and quantitative easing 2, the Federal Reserve has purchased $2 trillion in debt. It did this by bookkeeping entries. It can forgive the debt by bookkeeping entries as well. After all, you know those dollars you have in your wallet. At the top they say Federal Reserve note. Yeah, they create money. Someone will say that will cause inflation. Well, it hasn't yet. The point I am trying to make is that the debt ceiling thing is all political theater.

LEN SHURE

Pasco

Circus elephants

I was saddened and disgusted by the photo of the Asian elephants in the parking lot of the Toyota Center in the Oct. 13 Sunday Extra photo page of the Tri-City Herald. There is nothing less natural than an elephant splayed out on asphalt with soap suds running down its body.

Also, I think the Tri-City Herald is complicit in expressing faux concern over the elephants' well-being. The caption stated that the elephants feasted on 150 pounds of fruit and vegetables and all the hay they can consume. That statement suggests there is something extraordinarily good about the treatment Ringling Bros. provides these animals. In my opinion, nothing could be further from the truth.

KATHY STALY

Kennewick

Ted Cruz' citizenship

It's unclear what Article II of the Constitution means precisely in its requirement that only a "natural born Citizen" of the United States is eligible to become president. The consensus view, never tested in the Supreme Court, is that anyone who did not need to be naturalized to become a U.S. citizen meets that standard. What is absolutely certain, however, is that the objective of that statement is that only citizens with unquestioned loyalty to the United States should hold the office of president.

Does Ted Cruz meet that test? He is a Harvard-trained lawyer, whom we therefore can safely assume is familiar with the Constitution, born with dual citizenship, who waited more than 15 years after completing his legal training to renounce his Canadian citizenship. That sounds like someone who chose to keep his options open until he decided whether Canada or America best suited his megalomaniacal ambitions.

Does he really love America? His demagogic rants sound like someone who might approve of the plutocratic America of the late 19th century but hates the social progress that has been made since then. Personally, I'd be more comfortable if he'd renounce his renunciation and move up to Canada and do his mischief there.

MARTIN BENSKY

Richland

Wise up Tri-Cities

A Sept. 25 headline caught my eye: "Hoteliers aim to raise advertising assessment." A 50-cents-per-room increase would allow the Tri-City Visitors & Convention Bureau to hire two new employees to focus on sports marketing and wine tourism.

Marketing should be about what is unique to the Tri-Cities not what is available throughout the United States: wineries and sports. We have a huge tourist destination: the Manhattan Project -- Hanford Engineering Works! Where is the marketing person for this tourist attraction?

We have our theme in Richland: B Reactor and the Hanford Manhattan Project, which in case you don't know, made the plutonium for the Fat Man bomb that ended WWII on Aug. 9, 1945.

Until the Tri-Cities wises up and gets proud of the Manhattan Project and spreads around the Northwest our pride in this huge engineering accomplishment that happened 70 years ago, this place will be for many a scary place to visit, where the tumbleweeds still are considered radioactive. Face it Tri-Cities, you have only become what you are because of Hanford.

Furthermore, this legacy is about to become part of the Manhattan Project National Historic Park. Tourism officials would be well advised to include a strategy for maximizing the value of that development. The payoff may well exceed that of sports marketing and wine tourism.

JOAN S. SHERWOOD

Richland

Frightened by tea party

Congress recently passed an 11th-hour compromise funding the government and extending the debt ceiling. The entire U.S. economy and our standing in the world were threatened by the antics of a few fanatics, the tea party.

What is really frightening is that know-nothings who don't realize the consequences of their actions are putting those politicians in a position to threaten all Republican members of Congress. They say they will oust incumbents who don't support their ideas.

I hope Americans will come to understand what nearly happened to us. I have been a Republican since Dwight Eisenhower ran for president. I will have to reconsider that position if the party succumbs to tea party fanatics.

PETER JACKSON

Pasco

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