Readers Write 12/27

Response to “Here’s why Obama won Nobel,” Opinion, Dec. 13

I think Cynthia Tucker missed the point regarding President Barack Obama deserving the Nobel Peace Prize.

According to the requirements, the award is to be given for accomplishments “during the preceding year.” In 2008, Sen. Obama didn’t do anything that would merit such an award. His biggest action so far in regards to world peace is deciding to send 30,000 more troops into a war zone. Have the requirements and rules for the award been changed to simply reward someone for making a good speech?

Perhaps someday the world will look back and note that indeed Obama did change the world, and indeed did deserve the award, but at the moment, all we have is talk — not results.

Gary Senesac, Cumming TAXES

Good series, but some clarifications required

“Property tax meltdown” (News) has been informative and raised awareness among residents regarding property tax billing.

It was particularly helpful in advising residents about filing property tax returns.

However, there are several points in your article on Fulton County that we wish to clarify.

The comparison of values performed by the Board of Assessors is carried out at the neighborhood level, rather than the ZIP code level, as was the case in your analysis.

Since there are nearly 2,400 separate neighborhoods in Fulton County, and only 45 ZIP codes, the neighborhood level analysis allows us to make more accurate comparisons of “apples to apples” in home sales.

Also, state law allows for consideration of distress sales in the valuation of assessments. The Board of Assessors is still required to appraise property at market value, which is often not the same as the individual purchase price.

Most importantly, Fulton County’s property assessments have declined with the market as a whole. Two-thirds of properties in Fulton County have seen a decline in appraised value over the past two years.

Burt Manning, Chief Appraiser of the Fulton County Board of Assessors

HEALTH CARE

Tort reform would make health bill palatable

In the spirit of true compromise, and in the interest of passing health care reform this year, why don’t the Democrats throw the Republicans a bone in the form of some meaningful, yet not overreaching tort reform? It’s on the top of every Republican list of how they would fix the health care system. A modest proposal would set limits on noneconomic damages, ensure that injured parties are compensated fully and fairly, and hold responsible parties accountable. If the Democrats can craft an amendment like this, it puts the Republicans in the untenable position of either having to vote for health care reform or against tort reform.

If adding a dash of tort reform in the interest of compromise and the greater good will help get us there, the Democratic leadership should do it.

Bill Ayscue, Cumming

Government option will make matters worse

I understand that many members of Congress advocate a government-run insurance option to give private insurers competition. But if private insurers are making huge profits, why a proposed government-run plan that will cost more than $1 trillion, instead of making a profit?

By adding more people on Medicare and Medicaid, the problem will become worse. Insurance companies and medical professionals will make more profits, and push more people into bankruptcy and poverty.

Is this the best our government can do for its citizens? If ours is a representative-style government, why are members of Congress playing tug-of-war along party lines?

Members of Congress should cast their votes according to the wishes of their constituents, and not along party lines. If they don’t, we should kick them out of office.

Girish Modi, Decatur

POLITICS

Obama, Reid, Pelosi together ‘don’t get it’

The political rhetoric has reached the “now or never” stage, according to reports on recent meetings between the president and Senate Democrats.

The assertion that it is “now or never” is based on what the “reform” is. If the goal really was to lower the amount spent by public and private sectors on health care, there would be willingness to achieve that goal, and bipartisan support as well. If the goal was to provide access to those truly in need, there would be willingness to achieve that goal, with bipartisan support.

The problem along this path to “reform” is, it has always been about exerting government control over a very individual need. The problem with gaining support has always been because of the fact that there was only one agenda allowed to be discussed.

When people realize what we’re headed for, they are understandably resistant.

The president, Sen. Harry Reid and Speaker Nancy Pelosi are the ones in this case who “don’t get it,” to use a phrase from President Obama.

Gary O’Neill, Marietta

Time to regulate the regulators in Congress

The AJC has reported that Congress now wants to regulate the financial institutions. This is in addition to regulating health care, carbon emissions, the motor industry, banks, bonuses, executive pay, the environment and, it appears, our personal lives. Nothing is safe from these blowhards in Congress. What we need is for Congress to be regulated to stop them from spending money that is nonexistent, creating debt out of thin air, and imposing many different forms of new taxation to support their extravagance. The only possible way to regulate them is to vote them out of office, so that we can wipe the slate clean, and start with a fresh perspective on how government should be run — not ruined.

Fred Hahn, Roswell

A political landscape out of Wonderland

After scathing accusations that they caused the economic meltdown by making imprudent loans, President Barack Obama is now chastising bankers for not being more lenient in lending to small businesses. Who in his right mind would borrow money to expand his business in this time of constant threats of higher taxes, forced unionization and more government regulation?

Anti-capitalism, fantasy-based programs regarding health care and climate control, the casual leap from billions to trillions of dollars in debt, and total unconcern as to whether a proposed law is constitutional have created a political situation akin to insanity.

More and more, I feel like I’ve walked through a looking-glass into the world of the Mad Hatter.

John Stanfield, Peachtree City

ENVIRONMENT

‘Climate-gate’ defender’s comments are absurd

Alan Leshner seems more interested in dumping on Sarah Palin than in making a case for global warming (“Does ‘Climate-gate’ cast doubt on global warming claims?” Opinion, Dec. 15). I’m not quite sure just what the mission of the American Association for the Advancement of Science is, but Leshner would have us believe that only they have the truth. How absurd!

Gene Rhodes, Roswell

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