Readers Write 10/18


Driving around Atlanta recently, it occurred to me that one of the fastest ways to create temporary employment is to start a massive clean-up of our nation’s highways and roads. This doesn’t take a lot of lead time, it would put hundreds of thousands to work immediately (thereby forestalling foreclosures until the economy picks up), and it would be highly visible to the public. Our city streets are a disgrace, but local budgets are too tight to perform this basic function. One might also tie extended unemployment benefits past a certain point to required part-time public service work in this area.

Brian Wheeler, Chamblee


Sewer repairs? That is Atlanta’s problem

Re “Atlanta’s sewers need state and federal aid” (Opinion, Oct. 7): why is it the responsibility of a single mother from New Hampshire, a farmer in Montana or a college student in South Georgia to repair the sewers in Atlanta? That is what happens when the federal government “gives” the city money. First, the IRS has to take that money away from citizens who could probably use it to buy diapers, pay a mortgage or pay tuition for the next school semester.

Sally Bethea thinks that governments should help fund the infrastructure repairs that Atlanta needs. The fact is, local politicians have been negligent in maintaining the system for many years. Then, Bethea blames the federal government for not forcing the local government to make repairs and upgrades as necessary. Again — not the job of the federal or state government. If the sewer system had been maintained over the years, the total cost would have been much lower than the $4.1 billion that is now facing local citizens.

Al Spaulding, Acworth


Open Medicaid to everyone under 65

Imagine that you need to drive 100 miles to the city to take your daughter to see a medical specialist.

There’s an excellent interstate from your town to the city. It’s six lanes wide, with limited access, and smooth pavement. Government funds built this with your road taxes, but you’re not allowed to use it.

You have to take an old dirt road filled with ruts that is sometimes impassable, so you can’t get there. Why can’t you use another road? Because the government decrees that once you are 65 years old, you can use the interstate. Until then, you have to find your own way. Crazy, huh? Well, no crazier than our current debate over providing affordable health care to those under 65. Once Americans reach that age, they can ride the smooth road of Medicare, paid for by payroll taxes on wage earners — most of whom are under 65. Until then, they’ve got to find their own way— or perhaps not make the trip at all.

The obvious solution is to allow everyone under 65 to buy into Medicare — to pay a toll to use the service. Congress, are you listening? James Finkelstein, Albany

Health professional supports Obama plan

I am a registered nurse with 43 years of experience. I recently took my daughter to the emergency room because of anxiety due to the loss of her business, loss of the next job, and other concerns. I asked for admission to their psych unit for observation. She was denied because she didn’t have insurance. We stayed 12 hours in the emergency room, where she was medicated twice, then discharged. She now has this bill to pay.

President Obama’s plan calls for affordable health care for all. As a professional, I fully support his plan. Sharon Sleeper, Atlanta

Experience shows her that reform is needed

Having been a registered nurse in home nursing, I believe I can speak regarding a nightmare that could befall any one of you if you have not yet reached age 65.

In 1994, I had a 64-year-old patient who had lost his health insurance, depleted his savings, and lost his home because of physical disabilities. A few years before, he would never have dreamed of this situation. He had been a productive, educated worker. Medicaid wouldn’t touch his case because he was so close to his 65th birthday. Thanks to a local hospital, we carried him for awhile. This scenario could befall any one of us, and even if it doesn’t, we really should care that it could happen to our neighbor. We need reform now.

Margaret McManus, Roswell

Public option coverage good for the nation

A strong public option that reflects the same health care options that our president, Senate and congressmen enjoy now must be made available to the populace in an affordable manner, to keep our nation strong.

James Rucker, Austell


Spending not limited to Georgia senators

Regarding “Chambliss, Isakson are insulated from realities” (Readers write, Oct. 6), I noticed the writer only mentioned two conservative Republican politicians. I wonder if the writer is so naive as to believe these are the only politicians spending money for their personal enjoyment. I noticed the writer failed to mentioned the millions spent for Obama’s recent trips, as well as his failed trip to Copenhagen. Try checking out the spending of all politicians — not only in Georgia, but the nation. You might just find out Saxby Chambliss’ and Johnny Isakson’s spending is minimal, compared to others.

Ed Sitten, Cartersville

Barnes not the savior of the Democrats

Regarding “Political memo for Georgia Democrats” (Opinion, Oct. 7), this is nothing more than a “front” piece to promote Roy Barnes. There are many Georgians who would disagree with H. Franklin’s statements, “Barnes’ candidacy is giving Democrats the best shot they’ve had in years,” or, “It’s been 11 years since a non-incumbent Georgia Democrat won a statewide election.” Barnes put the Georgia Democrats in the position they are in right now. Now he wants another opportunity to win the governorship.

As Franklin says, stay away from narrow interest group demands, appeal to the white, male voter (among others) and follow a policy that appeals to moderate, independent voters. Barnes deviated from that formula, and now Franklin tells Democrats Barnes is the way, the truth and the light. I don’t think so.

Steve Anthony, former director of the Georgia Democratic Party