Editor: It's federal budget time again, and I am fed up by it. The working people who make this country run are once again told to pay, pay and pay, while getting little or nothing in return.
We are asked to pay more Social Security so our government can use it to lower the nation's deficit. We are asked to pay to defend our supposed allies who undermine or put down much of what we are trying to accomplish. We are asked to pay to help the economies of poor countries so they can build up industry, take away our jobs and refuse to trade fairly with the United States, like Japan. Our unions, in striking for higher wages, have forced our manufacturers to seek lower wages in foreign countries. If this is done, the government should put a high duty import tax on incoming merchandise so that it would force manufacturers to bring manufacturing of goods back to this country.
The working class in the country cannot afford to live anymore. They cannot afford a house. They cannot afford a new car. They cannot afford to get sick. Their budgets are so tight that they cannot afford to pay medical bills. If sickness forces them to be out of work, they lose everything they have.
Now is the time for President Bush to do the right thing. Set up a socialized health plan. Raise the minimum wage. Set up a system in which corporate gains must filter down to the employee. Make corporations pay to clean up oil spills and toxic waste dumps, or freeze their assets until the job is done. Make the owners of the savings and loans pay for the bailout.
Stop being "Uncle Sap," giving away money to foreign countries. They can fend for themselves if they are forced to. Bring all our armed forces home to protect our own country. Use them to fight a real war against drugs.
I know the president and other politicians try to make people like me look as if we don't know what we are talking about. We do know!
I know that our working class of America is dying. I know that this country is being taken advantage of by foreign countries. I know that working-class Americans are being used as slaves to make more money for the rich. I know about government waste. Most of all, we know what Americans want, and the president isn't listening. I hope that the president and other politicians start listening, because the American people do have a voice.
I was born and raised a proud American. Now it's sad to see America with its head up high as the greatest country in the world while its feet walk all over its working class. "God bless America," and return her to the people, to whom she belongs.
Diana L. Thornton
Common sense in cars
can save many children
Editor: This is National Child Passenger Safety Awareness Week. Last year, 53 children younger than 9 lost their lives in car accidents; 43 of those were unrestrained by car seats or seat belts. This is a senseless lose of life. This is in Florida alone.
As a paramedic, I've seen some senseless injury and death because of stupidity, ignorance and impatience. With the rain and fog we have so often in Florida, drivers need to remember to drive with their headlights on. This is not necessarily so you can see, but so others can see you. Remember, wet pavement takes longer to stop on. Leave a safety-cushion area for stopping and following.
The biggest pet peeves of my partner and me are unrestrained children in vehicles, and drunken drivers. Until you have to handle an accident involving both, you can't possibly imagine the flood of emotions. First, sadness of seeing an injured or dead child. Second, the frustration of being unable to do more. Third, anger at the driver for not enforcing rules with his or her children. Fourth, the disappointment with law enforcement and politicians for not making the arrests and punishments more substantial. And fifth, the incredibly strong urge to strike out at the offenders.
Guess who the offenders are? You ignorant, thickheaded people who refuse, despite the law, to buckle your children up in car seats or seat belts. A child is a projectile in a crash. Children aren't as big as adults, who stay in place to take the crash. Seeing an imprint of your gear-shift lever or a dash emblem on a child's head is a sight you'll never forget.
Oh, and just try to tune out the cries of pain and fear from an injured child. They haunt you in your sleep.
You adults are old enough and supposedly wise enough and intelligent enough to make your own decisions, but your children rely on your guidance. Set an example and it is hoped, God willing, that something like this will never happen to you.
A personal note to my new little friend from a recent accident: "Someday, all mommies, daddies and grandparents will learn that their little ones are precious. You're a lucky little girl and now I know your parents have learned a lesson the hard way."
Parents, pay attention _ start early. If you don't have children, write or talk to your legislative representatives about stiffening penalties for offenders.
Everyone can help get drunken drivers off the road. If you've been drinking, don't drive. If you see a drunken driver, report it to law enforcement before he or she has the chance to kill someone.
Children may fuss at car seats, but they will cry for only a while. If they are killed or injured, you may cry for a lifetime.
New Port Richey
makes a memorable day
Editor: My wife and I are volunteers at Bayonet Point Medical Center (BPMC). Just before Christmas I met "Grandma" and "Heather." While little Heather was awaiting medical treatment, I learned, because of extenuating circumstances, there were not going to be the usual Christmas gifts for her. The hospital gift shop happened to have a lovable musical dog waiting to be hugged by a child, and I knew the moment I saw it that I wanted Heather to be that child. Her smiling, happy face and big hug highlighted my Christmas memories.
I wasn't able to be at the hospital yesterday, so I missed seeing Grandma and Heather. They had come looking for me! Later in the afternoon, my neighbors, the Valentes, who also volunteer at BPMC, delivered a red heart-shaped box of chocolates and a note from Grandma and Heather to me.
I hope Grandma and Heather read this. I have no other way to reach them, not knowing their names and address. Words cannot convey to them how happy they have made me by their thoughtfulness.
Grandma and Heather, thank you and happy St. Valentine's Day. You are both in my prayers. Right now, my heart feels even larger than the box of chocolates and I wanted them to know!
Joseph A. Amato
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