Letters to the editor

Jan. 18, 2013 @ 05:46 PM

Better comparison

In response to Keith Eudy's letter in The Herald-Sun (1/16/13), he suggests that restricting modern assault weapons from the Second Amendment because they were unknown to our forefathers would be similar to restricting speech because they could not have conceived of the internet.

However, our freedom of speech is already restricted by law in a much more fundamental way -- we are forbidden by law from shouting "fire!" in a crowded theater – unless there really is a fire. This restriction was placed on our freedom of speech because it is completely malicious and destructive to do such a thing, sure to result in panic and death. A more perfect comparison to the limitation of weapons to exclude those which are only malicious and destructive – especially when fired in a crowded theater, resulting in panic and death – could not be made.

Jennie Simpson

Durham

Kitchen table budget

Thanks to Noelle Granger for introducing us to the ‘kitchen table’ reckoning of the federal budget. She says last year we took in $21,000, spent $38,000, owe $142,000 from previous years and have determined to cut spending by a mere $385.00 -- an apparently unsustainable situation.
Before we rush to simplistic conclusions, let’s ask a few questions about our hypothetical family:

-- Do we own a house? How much is it worth? The main flaw in comparing the federal budget with the average person’s is the federal government pretends the country’s infrastructure -- the Interstate highway system, the White House, etc. -- have a value of zero for reckoning net worth. What would your family budget look like if, not only could you not count equity in your house as an asset, you had to count what you owe on the mortgage as a liability?

-- Where’s the most obvious place to “belt-tighten?” Looking at our “credit card” statement, nearly half the $16,000 we borrowed is spent on defense. This is more money for weaponry than is spent by the next 17 or so of our neighbors combined. So in our analogy, do we cut food, schooling and health care, or having the latest assault rifle?

-- How did we get here? In 2000, we had three years of surpluses and shrinking debt. Sure, the 9/11 attacks and the economy’s cyclical nature gave us budget issues, but does anyone believe we spent our money wisely over the next eight years?

Terri Toohil

Durham