New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - November 8, 2011, New Braunfels, Texas
41 Tuesday, November s, 2011 I HERALD-ZEiTUNGX
HERALD-ZEITUNG EDITORIAL BOARD
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This editorial was originally published in the Oct. 29 Amarillo Globe-News
State's water needs place at top of the list
' he recent snowfall that blanketed much of the Panhandle notwithstanding, water — or the lack of It — remains a critical need And It's not just in this part of the state All of Texas is parched
It becomes imperative for the next Texas legislature to take water planning and wildfire preparation seriously.
To that end. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst who presides over the Texas Senate — has issued an appropriate call for senators to focus on drought conditions and tfie Wildfires that have destroyed many thousands of pnme land across the state
" Texas ts currently facing an unprecedented wildfire season compounded by one of the worst droughts m our state s history." Dewhurst said in a statement recently "The drougfit has had a devastating and far reaching impact across the entire state and the Legislature must use all the resources at our disposal to prepare and respond m the event tfiese severe drought conditions persist Um. Lt Gov Dewhurst. projections are for the drought to continue well into the coming year - and maybe beyond that
Dewhurst has given several standing Senate committees instructions to begin researching how to prepare legislation m time for the 2013 Legislature All the panels have been charged with ta^ks dealing with drought relief Of course it is understood that the Legislature cannot make it ratn It cannot change Mother Nature s course ft cannot order the Almighty to end the drougfit But it can provide assurances to Texans who are suffer ing through this drought that the state is placing their concerns first and foremost the issues it must ponder when It meets a little more than a year from now Money or tfie lack of it, of course fiaunts legislators If they must cut funds they should put drougfit relief at the back of that line.
The drought fias brought a lot of economic damage to the state, both in terms of tfie lack of moisture that keeps dryland farmers from bringing in crops and because of the fires that have raged across the Panhandle, the‘Hill Country and tfie Piney Woods Meanwhile let us all hope and pray for more moisture
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I he Assi i'.iaied P'pss
Today is Tuesday, Nov. 8, the 312th day of 2011 There are 53 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On Nov. 8,1861, during the Civil War, the USS San Jacinto intercepted a British mail steamer, the Trent, and detained a pair of Confederate diplomats who were enroute to Europe to seek support for the Southern cause (Although the Trent Affair strained relations between the United States and Britain, the matter was quietly resolved with the release of the diplomats the following January )
On this date;
In 1889, Montana became the 41st state.
In 1923, Adolf Hitler launched his first attempt at seizing power in Germany with a failed coup in Munich that came to be known as the "Beer-Hall Putsch "
In 1932, New York Gov. Franklin D. Roosevelt defeated incumbent Herbert Hoover for the presidency In 1942, Operation Torch, resulting in an Allied victory, began during World War II as U.S. and British forces landed m French North Africa In 1960, Massachusetts Sen. John F Kennedy defeated Vice President Richard M, Nixon for the presidency
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Reader pans police chief's idea about using outfitters
New Braunfels Police Chief Wibert has suggested all tubers rent tubes next year (Hcrald-Zeitung. Nov 3) to recap ture monies spent on cleaning and polic mg the river While tiiat solution might be a moneymaker for the outfitters and the city It ts a slap in the face to tfie res idents
How many local families can afford to pay outfitters’ rates for their children to enjoy the nver all summer^ 1'rn tired of seeing the population as a whole be punished for the misdeeds of some especially when the problems are irre sponsible out of towners
Cfiief Wibert said his proposal would nd the river of a lot of trouble makers I propose he show some con sideration for those wfio are not troubir makers, whether visitor or local
Bette Gilbert Canyon Lake
Fertilized human egg not same as a legal person
When asked by fox News whetfier he would have supported a peisonhood ' constitutional amendaient. Mitt Romney replied, Absolutely
Now I realize many leaders are pro life, but this is by far the most radical stand of any of the Republican con tenders Personhood amendments are now being considered in states like Mis sissippi, Florida, and Ohio, and if passed
LirrrHKs T(nTiK KDi roH
would elevate a fertilized human egg to the status of a legal person That means no more lUDs or the morning after pill, and if a woman used them, she could be charged with rnur der In-vitro fertilization would be illegal because it creates fertilized eggs that would have to be disposed of at some point Abortions would be considered murder and there would be no excep tions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest, and if a woman's pregnancy endangers her life, doctors would have to just let her die Would a class action suit be filed on behalf of all those eggs in refrigeration at fertility clinics around the country to force their mothers to cany them to term^ Would anyone disposing of those fertilized eggs be prosecuted for murder?
So we now have a leading contender for tfie Republican Party's presidential nommation on the record in favor of radically cfranging that status quo regarding fertility clinics and classifying some forms of birth control as murder Is Mitt Romney really the man you want to be next president of the United States'*
Melissa Dufresne Cibolo
Fix mess before lOUs rob their customers blind
I am wnting to express displeasure with the manner in which water rate increases by investor-owned utilities (lOU) in Texas are regulated by the state Since the 1990s, the Texas Environ
mental Quality Commission (TCEQ) has not only regulated water quality, which reasonably should be regulated, but water rates as well (-Jnfortunately. for anyone who is a customer of one of these iO(Js. the TCiQ IS not well equipped to regulate water rates or adequacy of supply. Our lOU water company. Monarch Utilities, fails to provide adequate water supply, and still has requested a 77 percent water rate increase on 10,000 gallons of water usage per month Texas law allows Monarch and other lOUs to charge anything they want for water The TCEQ, because it is under staffed, and has no effective regulatory authority to ensure rate increases are fair or justified, is unable to protect we customers from monopolies that seek only greater profits to return to their shareholders I m all for capitalism, but tfiis is ridicu lous
iexas has a Public Utility Commission, which regulates other utilities in Texas, and rightly so Isn't it time for the Legislature to return control of water utility rate making to the Public Utility Commission and provide it with ade quate funding to ensure fair ratemak-ing, so all lexans get a fair deal from tfie water company that is supposed to service them?
If you agree, please contact your state representative and senator, and tell them It's past time that they should fix this awful mess that allows these lOUs to rob us blind
Colin Michaud Spring BranchThe Post, wealthy waging all-out war on Social Security
Now and then. George W Busfi told the unvarnished truth
— most often in jest Consider the GOP presidential nominee s Oct 20, 2000 speech at a higft society, $800 a plate fundraiser at New York City's Waldorf Astoria Resplendent in a black tailcoat, waistcoat and white bovv^ie. Bush greeted tfie swells witfi evident satisfaction "Ihis IS an impressive crowd, he said "The haves and the have-mores Some peo pie call you tfie elites I call you my base "
Eight months later. President Bush delivered sweeping tax cuts to that patrician base Giv en current hysteria over what a recent Washington Post article called "the runaway national debt.' it requires an act of his torical memory to recall that the Bush administration ration alized reducing taxes on inher ited wealth because paying down the debt too soon might roil financial markets Eleven years later the Post warns in a ballyhooed article
reading like something out of fosepii Heller s (.'atch 22, that Social Security the /S-year old bedrock of millions of Americans retirement hopes
— fias passed a treacherous milestone." gone "cash nega tive,' and "is sucking money out of the Treasury"
Anybody wlio discerns a relationship between these events, that is. between a decade of keeping tfie yachts and I ear jets of the have mores running smoothly and a manufactured crisis supposedly threatening grandma s monthly Social Security check must be some kind of radical leftist That, or somebody skepticaf of the decades long propagan da war against America's most efficient, successful and popu far sociaf-msuranee program It s an effort that s falsely per
suaded millions of younger Americans tfiat Social Securi ty's in Its last days and made crying wolf a test of "serious ness among Beltway courtier pundits like the Post s Lon fvlontgomery, who concocted an imaginary front page emer gency out of a relatively mean ingless actuarial event.
All in service, alas, of a single unstated premise; that the "havemores" have made off with grandma's money fair and square They have no intention of paying it back That s tfie only possible interpretation of the Post's admonition that tfie $2 6 trillion Social Security trust fund will provide little relief The government has borrowed every cent and now must raise taxes, cut spending or borrow more fieaviiy from outside investors to keep benefit cfiecks flowing "
Little relief? In fact, the law’s working precisely as intended After 28 years of generating huge payroll tax surpluses to cover the baby boomers' retire-ment f)enefits, the system must
now begin to draw upon those funds to help pay current benefits the vast majority still covered f)y current payroll tax leceipts
"Rattier than posing any sort of cnsis, explains Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, "this is exactly what fiad been planned when Congress last made major cfianges to the program in 1983 baseci on the recommendations of tfie Greenspan commission,"
Again, this is the beneficiaries' money, invested by the Social Secunty trustees m U S. Treasury bonds drawn upon the full faith and credit of the United States " Far from being 'meaningless lOUs" as right-wing cant has it, they represent the same legally binding promise between the U S. government and Its people that it makes with Wall Street banks and the Chinese government, which also hold Treasury bonds
A promise not very different. The Daily Howler's Bob Sorrier-by points out, from the one
implicit in your bank statement or 401 (k) (if you're lucky enough to have one). Did you think the money was buried in earthen jars filled with gold bullion and precious stones?
Raise taxes, cut spending or borrow? What other options does the U S. government, or any government, have?
On his New York Times blog, Paul Krugman dissects the "Catch-22 " logic behind the Post's bogus crisis You can't simultaneously argue "that the trust fund is meaningless, because SS is just part of the budget, tfien claim that some crisis arises when receipts fall short of payments, because SS IS a standalone program" For practical purposes, it’s got to be one or the other
So IS Social Security a Ponzi " scheme? No. it's group insurance, not an investment. You die young, somebody else benefits. Its finances have been open public record since 1936 Do fewer workers support each beneficiary? Sure, but who cares? It's denominated in dol
lars. not a head count. The boomers were nearing 40 when the Reagan administration fixed the actuarial tables No surprises there
Are longer life expectancies screwing up the numbers? Not really
fvlost of the rise is explained by lower infant and child mortality. not by old-timers overstaying tfieir welcome, Kevin Drum points out that gradually raising the payroll tax I percentage point and doubling the earnings cap over 20 years would make Social Security sol vent forever.
But that's not good enough for the more hidebound members of the $800 a plate set. See. over 75 years Social Security has provided a measure of dignity, security and freedom to working Americans that just annoys the hell out of their betters
■ Arkansas Democrat-Gazette columhist Gene Lyons is a Nationat fVlagazine Award winner. Email Lyons at eugenelyons2i%ahoo.com.