The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Editorials

May 9, 2013

Readers' Forum 5-9 | Can’t we at least be kind to one another?

— “Compassion” is a biblical word too often lacking in our lives today.

Why is it sometimes confined to only our loved ones going through difficult times?

There are those who were critical of welfare recipients until one of their family had to rely on welfare, or who were against abortion in all cases until their young daughters became pregnant due to rape or incest. Even former Vice President Dick Cheney changed his anti-homosexual views when his daughter revealed her sexual orientation.

And why did Congress overlook the hardships of others due to the sequester when members made changes to accommodate their own travel plans?

The message of the gospel is to love one another. We may never reach that goal, but a good place to start is to be kind to one another.

Doris M. Todorich

Johnstown

Norquist ‘reformers’ violating their oaths

As head of the Americans for Tax Reform, Grover Norquist has transformed a single issue, preventing tax hikes, into one of the key platforms of the Republican Party. His tax pledge is hindering a solution to our debt crisis.

Norquist has never held elected office. He’s not a political appointee or a congressional staffer. Yet his power over the GOP allows them to give tax breaks for the rich and billions in subsidies to America’s wealthiest corporations.

In 1985, President Ronald Reagan asked him to head Americans for Tax Reform to push a tax package through Congress. Norquist challenged GOP candidates to take a two-part pledge:

1. That they would never raise taxes.

2. That they would only close tax loopholes if the additional revenue was used to pay for further tax cuts.

At that time, he had 112 representatives and 16 senators. Now he has 235 representatives and 41 senators.

The requirement for members of Congress to swear an oath to our country is in the Constitution’s Article VI. The senators and representatives shall be bound by oath or affirmation to support this Constitution.

Article VIII says one of Congress’ jobs is to have the power to collect duties, taxes, imposts and excises to apply the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States.

So how could a member of Congress swear an oath to a multimillionaire and refuse to perform one of the constitutional duties? If you are elected by the people and for the people and swear allegiance to our country and Constitution, do you then sign a pledge that supercedes all that?

U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus, D-12th, is a member of Norquist’s tax-pledge team.

Mike Chalich

Johnstown

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