J. Harwood: Let women decide

Here we go, again, about abortion and women's rights.

It should not be up to any religion or state or federal government to tell women what they can and cannot do with their bodies. The controversy has been going on for years.

Give women what they want.

Jim Harwood, Lewiston

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MARK GRAVEL's picture

Jim, I agree, so we should

I agree, so we should not ask religion or the federal government (i.e. the taxpayer) to pay for women’s choice. You see, when you force someone else to pay for your activities, don’t they have a right to speak out? It is really that simple.

Sharon Dudley's picture

Would this mean that the

Would this mean that the government should not pay for children a woman (and a man) cannot afford to support/raise? I am all for that.

Betty Davies's picture

Clarification, please

Are you against any sort of assistance from the government, if a couple who have children and jobs then become unemployed?

Would you permit the government to provide food stamps and other benefits if the couple has gone bankrupt from medical costs that weren't covered by their insurance plan, but perhaps not if you felt they had simply made unqise investments?

What if a couple with children (who once had sufficient money to provide for them, but has fallen on hard times) is receiving government assistance, and discover that they are expecting another child? Would your preference for them be a) abortion or b) simply not to feed this new child, in order to punish the parents?

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Would I permit the government

Would I permit the government to provide food stamps? Yes, if and only if the government can afford to provide them. Presently our federal government is borrowing $0.40 of every dollar spend. This behavior has been going on for decades with no signs of abatement. The alternative to providing fewer benefits is to keep borrowing and take the entire country through an even deeper economic crisis.

That being said, there are alternatives such as local charities and each of us personally chipping in without government involvement. We have better insight at the local level as to who are the neediest.

Would your preference be a or b. Well, you are setting up a false dichotomy; there are alternatives. We should have a local safety net with family first, community second and federal government lastly.

In closing, you can contrive all kinds of scenarios, but that is what they are, scenarios. The cold hard fact is that this country living a lie. We are trying to maintain a standard of living that we cannot afford.
We simply cannot help everyone; we need to learn to adjust – the sooner the better.

Betty Davies's picture

Austerity = pain without gain

Nobel prize winning economist Paul Krugman has pointed out numerous times that the push toward fiscal austerity damages national economies.

He notes, for example, "America is doing exactly what both theory and history say it shouldn’t: slashing spending in the face of a depressed economy. In fact, if it weren’t for this destructive fiscal austerity, our unemployment rate would almost certainly be lower now than it was at a comparable stage of the “Morning in America” recovery during the Reagan era... These state and local cuts have led to a sharp fall in both government employment and government spending on goods and services, exerting a powerful drag on the economy as a whole." [http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/05/opinion/krugman-states-of-depression.html?_r=1&ref=opinion]

In regard to Europe's disastrous austerity--"Early 2010 austerity economics — the insistence that governments should slash spending even in the face of high unemployment — became all the rage in European capitals. The doctrine asserted that the direct negative effects of spending cuts on employment would be offset by changes in “confidence,” that savage spending cuts would lead to a surge in consumer and business spending, while nations failing to make such cuts would see capital flight and soaring interest rates. If this sounds to you like something Herbert Hoover might have said, you’re right: It does and he did. Now the results are in — and they’re exactly what three generations’ worth of economic analysis and all the lessons of history should have told you would happen. The confidence fairy has failed to show up: none of the countries slashing spending have seen the predicted private-sector surge. Instead, the depressing effects of fiscal austerity have been reinforced by falling private spending." [http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/20/opinion/krugman-pain-without-gain.html?_r=2&hp]

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Any child they produce is

Any child they produce is their responsibility. That said however, if the child is being neglected, he or she should be removed from the parents and put up for adoption.

It is time to demand personal responsibility; we are broke as a Nation, and we cannot afford it anymore.

Betty Davies's picture

Please clarify...

Let's imagine a couple, both of them employed. Both lose their jobs and cannot find new work for many months (perhaps years). They qualify for government assistance.

But government assistance might not exist, since it's being slashed. Thus, there would not be sufficient food in the home.

How soon after they lose their jobs would you insist that the government take away their child and put him or her up for adoption?

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Family planning goes beyond

Family planning goes beyond contraceptives. It is making sure that you have adequate resources and funds set aside for life’s contingencies. As a minimum, you should have saved enough to relocate for employment or sustain yourself for 6-12 months.

That being said, if you cannot or will not build a safety net prior to having children, then perhaps the government can provide “short-term” assistance then no more.

I provided you with a link to the national debt clock. Perhaps you can see how much the debt rises while you are contriving your next scenario.



Betty Davies's picture

Debt was a GOOD thing, when Republicans were increasing it.

In my view, this terror about the national debt is a phony debate. Republican presidents have increased the national debt far more than Democrats, yet complain about "debt" in an effort to discredit President Obama and to destroy the social safety net.

As Paul Krugman explains, "all four significant Republican presidential candidates still standing are fiscal phonies. They issue apocalyptic warnings about the dangers of government debt and, in the name of deficit reduction, demand savage cuts in programs that protect the middle class and the poor. But then they propose squandering all the money thereby saved — and much, much more — on tax cuts for the rich. And nobody should be surprised. It has been obvious all along, to anyone paying attention, that the politicians shouting loudest about deficits are actually using deficit hysteria as a cover story for their real agenda, which is top-down class warfare. To put it in Romneyesque terms, it’s all about finding an excuse to slash programs that help people who like to watch Nascar events, even while lavishing tax cuts on people who like to own Nascar teams."

He goes on to note, "the same people now telling us what great things tax cuts would do for growth assured us that Bill Clinton’s tax increase in 1993 would lead to economic disaster, while George W. Bush’s tax cuts in 2001 would create vast prosperity. Somehow, neither of those predictions worked out. So the Republicans screaming about the evils of deficits would not, in fact, reduce the deficit — and, in fact, would do the opposite. What, then, would their policies accomplish? The answer is that they would achieve a major redistribution of income away from working-class Americans toward the very, very rich.

"Another nonpartisan group, the Tax Policy Center, has analyzed Mr. Romney’s tax proposal. It found that, compared with current policy, the proposal would actually raise taxes on the poorest 20 percent of Americans, while imposing drastic cuts in programs like Medicaid that provide a safety net for the less fortunate. (Although right-wingers like to portray Medicaid as a giveaway to the lazy, the bulk of its money goes to children, disabled, and the elderly.)

"But the richest 1 percent would receive large tax cuts — and the richest 0.1 percent would do even better, with the average member of this elite group paying $1.1 million a year less in taxes than he or she would if the high-end Bush tax cuts are allowed to expire."



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