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from [Virginian - Pilot]

We require people to use real, verified names in order to comment at the Opinion channel at Here is a sampling of recent conversations, edited for publication.

When a degree isn't enough

Re "Overlooked job program," letters, Oct. 5: Even those going to college should have vocational skills to fall back on, because in a bad economy, all the degrees in the world may not help. A practical skill, on the other hand, is always applicable.

Al Markowitz


The bill is in

Re "Democrats AWOL on jobs bill," letters, Oct. 4: The writer needs to look again. The American Jobs Act was introduced by Sen. Harry Reid as S. 1549 and by Rep. John Larson as HR 12. The president doesn't need co-sponsors; he is the president, after all. Under the parliamentary rules of both the Senate and House, bills that originate from the president are introduced on the floor by the Senate leader and House speaker, respectively. Because Speaker John Boehner didn't want his fingerprints on the AJA, HR 12 was introduced by Larson, the leading Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, where the heavy lifting on revenue bills is done.

Paul R. Smith

Virginia Beach

P.O. is in the black

Re "Post Office falls behind," letters, Oct. 3: If you check your facts, you will find that the Post Office is actually making money and running a profit. The reason for the current debt is the law passed by Congress in 2006 saying the Post Office must, in the next 10 years, pre-fund the next 75 years of its retirees' health benefits.

How would you be doing financially if your health insurance company said you had to pay the premium for the next 50 years of your insurance in the next 10 years? Could you afford that?

Gary D. Maher

Virginia Beach

What is a fair share?

Re "The fog of war," letters, Oct. 3: Many of us could support higher taxes if we felt the government spent the money it currently receives wisely. But to state that the wealthy don't pay their fair share is ridiculous.

Let's make dreams come true.

Those with higher incomes pay a higher tax rate, i.e., percentage, as well as a higher overall dollar amount on federal income tax. Those who earn income from capital gains pay the same percentage as anyone else does on a capital gain. So how are they not paying their fair share?

We already have a progressive tax system in place, and you want to make it more progressive. A fair share would indicate some kind of equal sacrifice, and that is not currently the case. Nearly 50 percent of people don't pay any federal taxes, and some even get credits back. Until fundamental reforms are made to the way this government spends money, it makes no sense to ask the successful segment of our population to pay even higher percentages than they currently pay.

Now, if true and significant reforms are made and extra money is still needed to balance out this enormous deficit that both parties have created, then it may be time for all of us to pay more. At that time, the wealthy will continue to pay more than their fair share. It is class warfare to covet what others have and continue to demand that they pay progressively more than they already do.

Craig A. Zuidema

Virginia Beach


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