Letters to the editor
Published: February 2, 2012
Published: February 2, 2012
Last August, Time magazine reported that the entire top management of the Treasury Department is virtually vacant. Over a dozen important positions remain vacant because the Senate has not confirmed President Obama's appointees. This does not mean that the whole Senate voted to reject these appointees. It means that Senate Republicans have been able to abuse Senate rules to bottle these nominations up in committee.
The treasury isn't the only department affected. There are hundreds of officially vacant posts in the executive branch for the same reason.
The founding fathers took no account of legislative committees when they wrote the Constitution. Committees were supposed to be workshops, not blocked arteries lending to a legislative stroke. I believe that the Senate has a responsibility to act on a presidential appointment within a reasonable time — perhaps three months. An extraordinary controversy over a nomination might justify longer debate, but partisan bickering does not.
Treasury vacancies do matter. In the last several years, the treasury has had to administer bailouts for auto and insurance industries. The treasury has had to deal with reorganizing insolvent banks with the European financial crisis and the mortgage meltdown. In addition, the treasury is the department charged with juggling the national debt.
Where did this debt come from? Under a Republican president, Congress voted the U.S. into the Iraq War and the Afghan War. Republican Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Eric Cantor will not raise taxes to pay for either of these wars, although they voted for military action.
In the past few years, Republicans have run up an enormous debt, refused to raise taxes and ignored their constitutional responsibility to confirm presidential appointees. Bogged down in debt, they have essentially fired the professionals who manage that debt.
Dale L. Gillis
The Keystone XL pipeline "is not" in the interest of the American taxpayers or of American security, nor will it make America self-dependent on oil.
The American taxpayers are again being fleeced by global powers. As for the jobs it will produce, most of the jobs will be outsourced to foreign companies. Canada has made a deal with Russia, India and China on the 1,700 miles of steel pipe, ignoring the American steel companies. Most of the American steel mills are now silent due to the outsourcing of all American industry. This caused widespread hardship on all Americans.
My own relationship with the steel industry was cut short. I had over 28 years in the industry when my plant was shut down. It was a top-of-the line plant. It nearly destroyed my hometown. It also destroyed the pensions and health insurance of thousands of steel workers. It cost the American taxpayers millions of dollars.
As for the oil that Keystone would produce — global powers control America's oil. It would be put on the market going to the highest bidder. The Republican Party and globe, in harmony together, are for outsourcing the work on Keystone XL pipeline and the oil would be exported and not used in these United States. Therefore, there will be "no taxes paid on this oil."
This brings to mind another very serious oil problem — America's emergency oil supply. Is it being put in danger by the high price of oil? Where is the transparency or accounting of all transactions of the emergency oil supply being bought with American tax dollars?
The reason I question the security of this emergency oil supply is that several years back, oil companies slant-drilled into the emergency oil supply, stealing millions of barrels of the taxpayers' oil. In today's world, that theft could all be just on paper transactions where the oil was never delivered. I would ask for a complete investigation on this matter of our emergency reserves of oil.
Our Alaska pipeline diverts most of our oil to foreign markets. America is competing with the world market for its own oil. American taxpayers must demand that companies that outsource our jobs get no tax breaks and aren't allowed to dump their products on the American market. Our tax laws should not be controlled by global power.
Billie E. Jewett