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LETTERS: Veterans take hit while waste continues

To the editor:

Nevada Sen. Harry Reid and Reps. Mark Amodei, Steven Horsford and Dina Titus voted for a federal budget that cut the cost-of-living increases for veterans who retire under the age of 62. This move will reduce the federal budget of approximately $3.7 trillion by $6 billion per year.

Instead of taking the easy route and hitting a group that has little political influence or juice, those in Congress should have picked up a copy of an annual oversight report, “Wastebook 2013,” by Sen. Tom Coburn, highlighting 100 examples of wasteful and low-priority spending totaling nearly $30 billion. This represents a fraction of the estimated $200 billion we lose every year through fraud, waste and mismanagement of our tax dollars.

Some examples uncovered by Sen. Coburn: the National Endowment of Humanities spent $914,000 exploring romance as told in novels, films and books; the Defense Department destroyed usable vehicles and military equipment (initially costing $7 billion) in the Middle East that could have been sold or returned to the U.S.; the National Institutes of Health spent $325,000 on a research project that concluded wives would find marriage more satisfying if they could calm down faster during arguments with their husbands; NASA spent $390,000 on a YouTube TV show and cartoon series called “Green Ninja,” teaching children about global warming; the federal government paid salaries to hundreds of thousands of tax cheats ($3.6 billion), and also paid $11 billion in earned income tax credits to prisoners, dead people and illegal immigrants; and NASA spent $3 million to study one of the mysteries of the universe, “How Congress Works.”

Nevada senators and representatives should make a New Year’s resolution to cut wasteful spending and the mismanagement of tax dollars. Stop using veterans as a means to make budget cuts. Veterans have earned the right to be treated with dignity, and they deserve our highest respect.



Christmas deliveries

To the editor:

I find it hard to feel sorry for those people whose Christmas was ruined because they didn’t get their packages delivered before Dec. 25. Just what do people expect? The media is full of news about “Cyber Monday” and all the extra online shopping now being done. Do they expect FedEx to buy more planes for the extra packages? Should UPS buy more trucks for the occasion and hire inexperienced delivery personnel?

Wise up, folks. If you insist on sending your money away to online retailers so that fewer people can work around Las Vegas, please don’t moan about the unemployment rate here. Even if you must shop online, why would you wait until the last minute and expect everything to arrive just in time for the big day? Oh, wait, I forgot. Blaming someone else for your own failings is the American way.



Rodeo needs Las Vegas

To the editor:

I was pleased to read that the World Series of Team Roping is going to stay in Las Vegas, even if the National Finals Rodeo leaves for Central Florida (“Team roping reigns in LV,” Friday Review-Journal). I am very skeptical of the offer made to the NFR by Osceola County, Fla. I wouldn’t be surprised if it is just trumped up to start a bidding war, so that Las Vegas ups its offer to keep the NFR here.

From what I have observed inside the casinos when the NFR is in town, those cowboys and cowgirls love to drink and gamble, too. I really believe the NFR crowd is not interested in Mickey Mouse entertainment, but rather desires more adult options.

I understand the NFR really benefits our city, especially in early December when tourism is slower, but I sincerely hope our negotiators don’t give away the store just to keep the event here. If the NFR does move to Florida, I think the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association will realize after the first year there that it made a really bad decision.



Minimum wage debate

To the editor:

Regarding Steve Chapman’s commentary (“Minimum wage hike fails test of logic,” Friday Review-Journal), as usual, conservative logic is based on the premise that benefiting the poor is bad and benefiting the rich is good. If you increase a poor person’s wages 40 percent as proposed by the president, that person will spend it on life-improving goods. Better food, better car, needed shelter and clothing. Increased spending increases demand for products.

When you benefit the rich, they don’t spend the money, as they already have all those things. The income gap is stifling the economy.

Conservative Ron Unz has proposed raising California’s minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2016, stating the $15 billion in increased spending would stimulate the economy and would be privately funded. That is logic based on the real world, not the economic fantasy of most conservatives.

Australia has a graduated minimum wage of $15.96 and an unemployment rate of 5.7 percent. The teenagers’ minimum wage is lower and goes up until they max at age 20. It’s time for a hike in minimum wages, just to keep up with productivity, if nothing else.

The percentage of fast-food workers, retail workers and farm laborers collecting government subsidies such as food stamps should be an embarrassment and a wake-up call. Pay them a livable wage.



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