Letters, Nov. 30
Fiscal cliff solution
The fiscal cliff is looming. And finally, leaders from both parties are hinting a desire to work together toward a sound fiscal trajectory. “Everything should be put on the table,” they exclaim in unison. Well, not everything. No mention of downsizing their inflated salaries or limiting their lifetime benefits package. And with an army of lobbyists looking over their shoulders, they dare not suggest the mother of all fixes: Medicare-for-All.
Currently, our beloved Medicare is unsustainable. No problem: Bring in the young and healthy to offset the impending deluge of baby boomer retirees seeking to live forever. Obamacare is going to break the bank. No problem: substitute the streamlined efficiency of single payer for the red tape-jamming corporate welfare vacuum.
The business community is freaking out and tightening up over the hassle and uncertainty of Obamacare. No problem: relieve them of the burden. Our economy is stuck in a ditch (and so are tax revenues). No problem: slash health care costs approaching 20 percent of GDP to around 8 percent so we can afford homes, cars, college tuition, vacations and going out to eat occasionally (or even actually going to a doctor when we get sick or injured) without having to sit around watching perpetual health insurance commercials burn through our savings.
President Obama and bipartisan Congressional leadership claim they are determined to get us through this crisis and are intent on a successful hand-over to the next generation of leaders. The question is -- what’s it going to be? A set of keys or an eviction notice?
Once again, we read of a Durham elected official protesting that the comprehensive plan “is not written in stone.” That’s true, but some of our politicians act as if it is written in water. Our comprehensive plan has been amended far too frequently upon the request of developers, almost always in the direction of more intense development. This drip-by-drip erosion guts the plan. How can the council fairly implement the plan next time, when they have just made an exception up the street?
It took thousands of man-and-woman-hours and a small fortune to give birth to our comprehensive plan, a finely balanced series of compromises generated through stakeholder consensus and public meetings. That balance is upended every time that the City Council or County Commission puts its thumb on the scales. Much is made of the economic investment that developers have made in a project. But what of the millions of dollars that ordinary Durhamites have invested in their homes, relying on the future of their neighborhoods detailed in the comprehensive plan?