Risk-taking with taxpayer money opposed

I object.

Many people take undue risks and we taxpayers get the bill. If you live below sea level (New Orleans), the federal government foots the bill for both flood protection and recovery. If you live on a low island that gets storm damage (Florida Keys and Puerto Rico) and are uninsured, the federal government foots the bill for flood recovery. If you live on the Mississippi flood plain the federal government foots the bill for flood recovery. If you live in the Western mountains and a fire starts, the federal government foots the bill for rescue and fire suppression.

Today, the Santa Maria Times reports that the President signed a bill from our inept Congress that provides $36.5 billion for emergency aid and flood insurance. Each of these cases has a history of disasters. Let’s stop calling it disaster aid or humanitarian aid and call it dumb. We need to change the system so our aid does not encourage risk taking with our money.

Robert L. Patrick

Santa Maria

Air quality should trump off-road vehicles

The county of San Luis Obispo and the state of California should be outraged at the snow-job the "Special Masters" and Off Highway Vehicle Division of California State Parks and Recreation have dumped on our health-threatened citizens on the Nipomo Mesa and Oceano Beach.

If you believe that air you can breathe is more important than riding off-highway-vehicles on our beach and dunes, get informed and fight back. Speak out and support the Air Pollution Control Board at the upcoming Hearing Board Actions at the County Government Center in San Luis Obispo on Monday, Nov. 13 at 9 a.m.

Nell Langford

Pismo Beach

Children, monkeys have sense of 'fairness'

Recently a leading primatologist, Frans de Waal, completed a study with Capuchin monkeys showing that they possessed a sense of fairness. Back in the day, one would hear kids playing games holler out, "no fair, no fair!" So children, in the past at least, had a sense of fairness, and now there's evidence that monkeys also do.

So it seems that when they pursue their central goal of reducing taxes on the wealthy, the Republican party doesn't possess the morality of either kids or monkeys. When in power, they regularly lower taxes on the rich by cutting benefits for the poor or simply adding the cost of tax relief to the deficit.

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Logically and morally - and certainly in terms of an old sense of fairness - in this richest country in the world, the very wealthy should be taxed at a "fair" rate, i.e. significantly higher than 39 percent for excessively high incomes.

In fact, they were taxed fairly for decades in the past until Reagan and then Bush widened the gap between the haves and have nots by cutting taxes on the rich. There are 300 passages in the Bible where Christ directs his followers to care for the poor. So whether in terms purely of fairness or of doing what we know to be the right thing, or to fulfill Christ's directives, when some incomes are in the billions, no American should go hungry, sleep in a cold rain, or do without medical care.

And yet, right out of the box, the initial Republican health care proposal, celebrated so gaily and disgustingly by Republican congressmen and the President, lowered taxes on the rich and drastically cut Medicaid, that is, health care for the poor.

It would be interesting to see just what the moral argument is by the party that makes so much of its religiosity that justifies lowering taxes on the wealthy while cutting support for safety net programs.

Jack Miles

Santa Maria