Letterwerks Sign City
 
"Where Fillmore County News Comes First"
Online Edition
Friday, August 26th, 2016
Volume ∞ Issue ∞
 
<< | < | 84 | 85 | 86 | 87 | 88 | > | >>

The roots of congress' unpopularity


Mon, Apr 11th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

I suppose it's possible that Congress could enjoy even less popularity than it does at the moment, but it's difficult to imagine. Recent public opinion polls show it plumbing depths that have rarely been seen before.

Certainly that's true of a survey just conducted by the Center on Congress at Indiana University, which I direct. Every year, we measure national public opinion about Congress in an effort to gauge how relevant it is to Americans' lives and whether they feel it's living up to the Framers' expectation that it serve as "the people's branch" of the federal government. This year, a jaw-dropping 84 percent of those we surveyed said they disapprove of the job Congress is doing.

If this were all the survey had found, it would be bad enough. But Americans consistently grade Congress at a D or worse on such fundamental measures as whether it is dealing with key issues facing the country, keeping excessive partisanship in check, holding its members to high ethical standards, and controlling the influence of special interests.

Even worse, when asked, "What do you think is the main thing that influences what members of Congress do in office," an abysmal 84 percent believe that either "personal interest" or "special interests" drive congressional action. Very few people, in other words, believe that members of Congress have the best interests of the country, or even of their constituents, at heart.

This may be why proposals like the "Congressional Reform Act of 2011," a set of suggestions for stripping members of Congress of alleged perquisites, have enjoyed such popularity in online forums. Parts of the proposal are based on misleading or outdated information - contrary to the text circulating on the Web, members of Congress do pay Social Security taxes, for instance; and their pensions are generous but not outlandish, averaging $36,732 a year for those who pay into the federal retirement fund that has existed since 1984.

Nonetheless, the perception that members enjoy benefits unavailable to ordinary Americans is widespread, and occasionally right. For instance, while members of Congress participate in a health-insurance program similar to other federal employees mainly for their families, they also have free or very modest cost access to care in the Capitol, including annual physical exams, and to superb outpatient care and other services at military hospitals like Bethesda Naval Hospital.

So congressional .....
[Read the Rest]

Jottings from Japan

Mon, Apr 4th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

Some of you may remember that I wrote a weekly column called "Jottings from Japan" for approximately 15 years. My first entries were hand written and sent in an aerogram. It seemed the best way to keep in touch with my Harmony friends and Grand Mead ..... 
[Read the Rest]

Congress needs to build a culture of fairness - 3/28/11

Fri, Apr 1st, 2011
Posted in Commentary

A few weeks ago, the U.S. Senate voted down a Republican attempt to repeal last year's health-care reform law. You may remember this, even though it rated only a mention on the evening news. What I'm virtually certain you don't remember is how the R ..... 
[Read the Rest]

The new new deal

Fri, Mar 18th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

In President Obama, conservatives face the most formidable liberal politician since FDR. In 2008, Obama won the presidency with a majority of the popular vote, something a Democrat has not done since Jimmy Carter won a squeaker in 1976. With Preside ..... 
[Read the Rest]

Why politicians overreach

Fri, Mar 18th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

Having dodged a government shutdown for the moment, Congress is now embroiled in a burning debate over cutting the federal budget. The House has passed a bill imposing far-reaching cuts of $61 billion - dramatically slashing everything from educatio ..... 
[Read the Rest]

Don't squander a buildable foundation

Mon, Mar 14th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

Just about a year ago on March 23, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) after months and months of political wrangling. It is not perfect, may not be complete and it certainly is complicated, b ..... 
[Read the Rest]

One moment, please... What was I thinking?

Mon, Mar 7th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

Last week's newspaper contained a letter to the editor from Bob Boyum of Peterson, Minn., which has been a point of contention for a few of our readers.

What's interesting to me is the wide range of perspectives on Mr. Boyum's letter and que ..... 
[Read the Rest]

How is wealth created?

Fri, Mar 4th, 2011
Posted in Commentary



There seem to be but three ways for a nation to acquire wealth:

The first by war, as the Romans did, in plundering their conquered neighbors -- this robbery;

The second by commerce, which is generally cheating;

The thi ..... 
[Read the Rest]

Guest Commentary: Teachers, unions and collective bargaining

Fri, Mar 4th, 2011
Posted in Commentary



As a retired Minnesota teacher and a former union member, I can sympathize with the teachers in Wisconsin and other states where Republican governors are attempting to weaken or destroy collective bargaining and public unions.

First ..... 
[Read the Rest]
<< | < | 84 | 85 | 86 | 87 | 88 | > | >>