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Letters to the editor for Aug. 24

Wyden right to oppose bill that increases costs

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, placed a hold on the proposed PROTECT IP Act (which stands for Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011, also known as United States Senate Bill S.968) due to concerns that it would violate free speech and due process rights. He has done the citizens of this state and all Americans a service by opposing this bill.

PROTECT IP aims to censor websites that illegally distribute goods. Among those targeted are sites that sell counterfeit handbags or allow illegal movie downloads. But the bill could also shut down all non-U.S. pharmacy websites because it fails to make a distinction between legitimate pharmacies that require a doctor's prescription and rogue pharmacies that sell fake medicines and narcotics without a prescription.

Over a million Americans find some financial relief by importing their prescription drugs from safe and legitimate international sources - saving an average of 50 percent on the cost of their needed medications. The PROTECT IP Act could take away access to trusted sources of safe, affordable prescriptions online.

With the high price of prescription drugs, many seniors and other Americans are already forced to choose between filling their prescriptions and buying groceries. Given these trying economic times, shutting off access to affordable medicine would be unconscionable.

Thanks to Sen. Wyden for temporarily blocking this bill. I urge everyone to visit RxRights.org to find out more about how it threatens our access to affordable medicine.

Beth Hamon

Portland

President needs to show leadership during crisis

I don't know about you, but with the financial problems facing this nation today directly affecting all of us, where is the leadership in Washington, D.C.? On vacation! Could it be?

I don't begrudge anyone taking a vacation, but doing so in the middle of financial turmoil sends the wrong message not only to the world but to Americans, who are really suffering with staggering 9.2 percent unemployment and home defaults still devastating lives. You begin to wonder, do these people we elect really relate to anything that is happening in this country?

We have a battle of two ideologies. One, give me a blank check, and I know how best to spend it on all types of mindless programs and do-good projects and pay for it later. The other, we need to take this $14 trillion deficit seriously and get a handle on it before time runs out by cutting waste, caping spending and balancing the budget. It is amazing that states have to balance their budgets, yet the president says we don't need a balanced-budget amendment, because the people in Washington know their job.

Spending is truly out of control. We seriously need a policy of no more blank checks with a federal balanced budget. Either continue on the current course of deficit spending (40 cents of every dollar is borrowed) or make the tough decisions needed to get our financial house in order.

So where is the leadership in Washington? The president spent a lot of time on television blasting the Congress, yet where were his proposals? Passing the buck to others for the problems we face certainly is not leadership.

In September, the president plans to address the nation again with more of the same … stimulus spending, which adds more to the debt. If he really wants to kick-start the economy, one thing he could do is cut the staggering business tax (around 30 percent), which would give incentive to businesses that have fled overseas to return home and put our people back to work.

With 71 percent of Americans disapproving of President Obama's handling of the economy, where is the leadership?

Louis H. Bowerman

Portland

Government needs to get out of the way

Earth to Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, where were you when your party controlled both the Executive and Legislative branches of government and couldn't even pass a budget? (In regard to Merkley's guest comment 'Debt deal will undermine prosperity' in the Saturday, Aug. 20, edition of The Outlook.) Now I remember, it was imperative to pass Obama care, a bill in which we were told by the liberals that we would have to pass it before it could be vetted and is one of the main reasons for our fiscal uncertainty.

So listen up! It's getting old to have to help your side face the facts. Now when the grownups are facing the reality of our unsustainable debt/deficit, the only solution you have is raise taxes. Good idea! When 51 percent of the citizens don't pay federal taxes and even if we tax the rich at 100 percent, it doesn't put a real dent in the debt or deficit?

Instead, why don't you grow the economic pie by getting rid of uncertainty in the market.

Now, I'm personally opposed to this bill (the debt ceiling agreement) also, but for different reasons. Until spending is curtailed, any revenue enhancement (tax increases) should be off the table. To get the economy moving again, stop your crony capitalism. Stop it with this green jobs fiasco. How well did it work out for Spain? Allow the marketplace to sort out the ideas that work, not big government (try reading Friederich von Hayek's 'Road to Serfdom'). Adhere to that outdated, and in your eyes ever evolving, contract called the Constitution.

Free up the entrepreneurship of the American experience by getting out of the way. Now I know there will be those who believe only government can save us from ourselves. Are my ideas perfect? Hell no. But I have more faith in everyday people and their wisdom to choose what's best for them than some bureaucrat. To paraphrase that radical Ben Franklin, those who would give up liberty to purchase a little safety are worthy of neither.

Frank Grande

Troutdale