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Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Mitt Romney has asked that his business record and tax returns be taken off the table, in terms of serious campaign discussion. Just focus on the issues.

If I was applying for a job at Bain Capital, I wonder if I could get away with not submitting a resume, or answering any questions at the interview?

When questioned, Gov. Romney has instructed questioners to go to his website and read his platform. So I did, and read all 23 of the issues Mr. Romney feels are important for our future. From A-Z, Afghanistan to Values. Here is a brief overview, from an admittedly progressive perspective.



(Begin segment with saber rattling) Iran, China and Russia watch out. Mr. Romney feels that we need a much bigger military presence in the world. He calls for dramatically increasing the number of ships, planes, armament and missiles (for the defense shield). He will no longer be pushed around by China or Russia. He will have an expanded presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, until when? He will back up Israel when it attacks Iran. (Notice I did not say “if,” as I believe this to be a done deal if Romney is elected president.)

Say goodbye to the EPA, NPR, Planned Parenthood, women’s rights and Roe v. Wade.



Clean air? Mr. Romney believes that enforcing carbon regulations stifles the economy. Climate-change deniers rejoice. Mr. Romney is your man. If polluting saves money, feel free to pollute.

The Romney platform would also roll back financial regulations on banks. Repeal Dodd-Frank and amend the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, because hey, Enron, Tyco, Adelphia and World Com couldn’t happen again, and housing will come back someday.

Of course Romneycare, oops, I mean the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) is repealed on day one. We can’t have women getting free screenings and exams. What are we, Europe?

Education will be defunded and privatized. School aid such as Pell Grants will be eliminated, as will school lunch programs.

And just when you thought Mr. Romney couldn’t get any more extreme, he picks Paul Ryan for a sidekick. But that’s another letter.

Craig S. Chisesi

Rifle

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet is once again pandering to special interests and demonstrating his lack of interest in forging a workable energy policy. His recent initiative on the Thompson Divide, the proposed Thompson Divide Withdrawal and Protection Act of 2012, would place roughly 200,000 acres permanently off limits from energy development.

Sen. Bennet says that this is a “starting point for discussions on how to address concerns” in the region. It would seem putting this land permanently off limits would indicate the discussion is over.

He once again demonstrates that he is not interested at all in discussion; his single issue seems to be to drive up the energy cost for that which we have in abundance in order to make green energy viable by contrast.

This proposal would ensure that hundreds of thousands of resource-rich acres of Colorado’s Western Slope will never be available for economic development. The senator proposes that owners “voluntarily relinquish their rights to the property via donation and the land permanently be removed from gas and oil development.”

The senator’s website indicated he is “focused on finding a way to move forward that works for everyone involved” – except, of course, those who develop, use or purchase energy.

Kenneth Brownlee

Grand Junction

It is no secret that I find the three Republican Garfield County commissioners, Mike Samson, John Martin and Tom Jankovsky, to be unfit to serve in their present capacity and power.

But what is the Democratic Party’s alternative to Samson and Martin in the November 2012 election? Can readers even name one of the two Democrats who will be on the Garfield County BOCC ballot? Furthermore, what new and innovative policies will the Democratic Party alternatives implement at the county level to address real kitchen table issues such as underwater mortgages and on-going home foreclosures?

Local governments in California and Illinois are enacting a very aggressive program to wipe out the underwater mortgages of their constituents and give these homeowners a fresh start. This hard-hitting program requires real courage by the local county commissioners and is authorized in the U.S. Constitution under the Fifth Amendment.

The county commissioners exercise their constitutional powers of eminent domain and acquire the underwater mortgages (not the real property) at today’s market value; thus wiping out the difference between the underwater mortgage amount and the actual value of the home in today’s real estate market. To fund the buyout of the underwater mortgages, a strategy presently being considered is that the local county issues limited obligation, taxable mortgage revenue bonds that are FHA insured.

This underwater mortgage rescue program begins with:

1. The acknowledgment by the county commissioners that federal relief for these underwater homeowners is heavily weighted in favor of the lenders, and the local homeowners do not have a level playing field.

2. The clear realization that until these underwater mortgages are wiped out, real local economic recovery will not begin. (Think Detroit suburbs.)

3. This eminent domain program will not be easily accomplished, requires significant legal sophistication and political courage and stamina.

That said, Garfield County Manager Andrew Gorgey has the necessary talents to implement and complete a local economic recovery program such as this. Should the unknown Democratic candidates defeat Samson and Martin in November, Gorgey should be retained as county manager.

Carl Mc Williams

Silt

I was pleased to see two responses to my Aug. 8 letter concerning Mitt Romney’s refusal to release tax returns from earlier than 2010. I was amused to see that both were written by apparent hard-core birthers who cannot accept the irrefutable fact of President Obama’s American citizenship.

They seem to have missed the point I was making, which is: Mitt Romney is a very wealthy man, having a net financial worth of hundreds of millions of dollars. He enjoys the benefits of an American income tax system skewed in the favor of the richest Americans. How he does this is probably legal.

Romney takes advantage of loopholes and has large investments held in multiple tax havens, including Luxembourg, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. These tax havens, according to an offshore lawyer quoted in the “Vanity Fair” article I referenced in my initial letter, are “jurisdictions where there is virtually no tax and virtually no compliance.”

The article further states that Romney paid $6.2 million on $42.5 million income, a rate of about 14.5 percent. This is because the income Romney receives from Bain is classified as “carried interest,” which is taxed at a 15 percent rate rather than the 35 percent rate that would be levied if it were the “ordinary interest” received by ordinary Americans.

So does the Romney tax plan address taxation inequities? According to a non-partisan analysis done on the plan, which is lacking in detail, the wealthy would get a tax decrease while the average American would find about a $2,000 increase annually.

Would a Romney administration pursue the Obama administration policy of closing sketchy offshore tax shelters? The reader may draw his or her own conclusions.

David Schroeder

New Castle


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