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‘What if there was real oversight?’


The Department of Defense has now announced that furlough hours for about 700,000 federal employees will be reduced from 22 days to 14. The furloughs will result in cost savings of $2.5 billion, down from an earlier estimate of about $4 billion. Just to put that into perspective, that is about the price of one B-2 Spirit bomber, which is about $2.4 billion. Yes, that’s right — one airplane. …

Of course, defense funding and budgeting is a complicated issue and many will say it cannot be compared that way, as that is just too simplistic. But perhaps that is the problem. Perhaps the defense budgeting system of funding allocations and comptroller spreadsheets is the real culprit. Anyone who has ever worked for the federal government is probably aware of the spending frenzy that occurs at the end of each of the military agencies’ fiscal years. This annual September event is a period where the comptroller spreadsheets show excess funding on the books that either must be spent or lost. This results in military bases looking for government acquisitions they can make in a reasonably justified manner in order for the base not to “lose” the funds.

Just think how much savings could actually be achieved if the budgeting and funding practices were changed. What if there was real oversight? What if the congressional appropriations and oversight committees actually did their jobs, instead of listening to primed statements from military leaders? If the bases and all of defense had to really budget for items and actually stick to the budget, with realized excesses returned to the Treasury, I imagine the return would be considerably more than the price of one B-2 bomber. JAMES JOHNSON, BEAVERCREEK

‘Dilemma for business owners’ is a choice

Re the injunction to prevent the application of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ federal contraception mandate: I don’t understand the dilemma for business owners. If they don’t wish to use contraception, sterilization, abortion or abortion-inducing drugs, then they may certainly refrain from using them.

As for their Catholic employees, they are undoubtedly aware of their church’s teachings on the matter, just as they are of their church’s (other) teachings, and can act upon them as their consciences see fit. As for non-Catholic employees, I see no reason for them to be deprived of the plan’s offerings because of their employer’s religious views. No employee will make use of all their health plan’s offerings anyway. …

It is the employer’s personal decision as to whether to close the business and put employees out of work, should the decision go against their wishes. Would Jesus do this? CLAUDETTE SARVER, CENTERVILLE

GOP knows ‘how to game the system’

Man-made climate change producing Arctic ice melting before our eyes and weather more deadly and frequent. An acceleration in mass murders and proliferation of weapons meant for combat. Election outcomes that mean nothing. Mindless decreases in spending that undermine the health of us all. The list goes on and on. Madness.

Right-wing Republicans have learned how to game the system. Determined to do away with government and give us a social Darwinian world, they have gerrymandered and filibustered their way to permanent veto power over legislation. …

This is the America of 2013. A corporate state sustained by anti-intellectualism run amok. GERALD E. KERNS, LOVELAND

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