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LETTERS: Politics of fear, public option and public employees

The politics of fear

Twice now Newsday's editorial board has endorsed a radical transformation of our economy for reasons of fear. But the fears are contradictory; what is in common is an illogical confidence in the unknown. In "Time for a leap of faith" [Editorial, Dec. 6], you endorsed an enormous but undefined government regulation of about one-sixth of our economy - the unstudied health care legislation. In "Congress or the EPA?" [Editorial, Dec. 16] you decry the frightening prospect of powerful government regulators commandeering a large aspect of our economy: "Legislators must act, or leave it to unelected bureaucrats. That choice should scare them into motion."

The editorial board is clearly of two minds: On health care reform, you endorse massive regulation yet undefined; on "climate change" you recoil from massive regulation and pine for massive legislation, yet unwritten. You are trying out the politics of fear - as is the administration - which is arguing very much along the same lines.

Wielding such fears of convenience is poor leadership, and a sure recipe for disaster in the long run.

Corodon Fuller

East NorthportThe public wants

a public option

It is ironic that certain members of Congress would propose allowing Medicare for additional folks and then yank it out. The positive response to this idea demonstrates two things: First, Americans want real reform; second, Americans trust a government-run health program. I want Medicare for everyone.

Deborah Little

CentereachTaxpayers are tapped out

I was glad to see you put responsibility for our financial mess where it belongs ["Crisis management," Editorial, Dec. 15]: at the feet of legislators, politicians, school boards, school administrators and public functionaries.

Newsday has done a commendable job in exposing a public employee compensation system that is out of control. The people who have held the above positions have caved in to demands from public employees and their representatives.

In decades past it was understood that public employees would forgo large paychecks in exchange for security, benefits and generous retirements. Today, however, public employee salaries have pushed far beyond what is available in the private sector for similar positions.

The goose that laid this golden egg is now very ill, and unless some significant changes are made to these "agreements," it may well collapse. And by changes I do not mean higher taxes, I mean cutbacks in six-figure salaries, cutbacks in benefits and pensions, and a minimum retirement age of 62. It's time for economic realism in the public sector - the Long Island taxpayer is tapped out.

Louis Stans