Reader finds attack ads filled with misinformation

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce ads attacking Rep. Baron Hill are false. They misrepresent the cost of the bill with funny math, counting tax cuts and fines paid by companies that refuse to obey the law. The ads claim over $572 billion in new taxes. But the Associated Press finds that middle-class families will pay no new taxes. Small businesses will pay no new taxes either. The only people paying new taxes are the ones making over $500,000 a year.

If Washington lobbyists are attacking Rep Hill with lies, he must be doing something right.

Thank you Rep. Baron Hill for your vote in favor of the House Health Care Reform bill, expanding coverage to 96 percent of Americans, increasing choice with a public option available everywhere, and ending discrimination due to pre-existing conditions or gender, while helping to reduce the deficit.

— Michael Garrison, New Albany

Young: Hill misleading voters

Editor’s Note: Todd Young is a candidate for Indiana’s 9th Congressional District.

The CMMS report also warns that the bill’s forced cuts in Medicare spending would result in drastically reduced fees paid to hospitals and doctors, and that in turn could result in some Medicare providers refusing to serve Medicare patients.

Rep. Hill is doing a disservice to his constituents by making such misleading statements.

— Todd Young, Bloomington

Reader: Gun shop owner shouldn’t return to store

I was reading about Mr. Johnston, the owner of 111 Gun Shop Inc. in Clarksville. How can a man who pleads guilty to residential entry and gets a class D felony still be able to run his gun shop? What are we saying to others — that it’s OK if you do something wrong?

Sure, he’s going to serve six months on home incarceration, plus 80 hours of community service, plus a year of probation. It just does not make sense to me how he can sell his guns and not lose his license to sell guns.

Now, you may say I’m against guns — no, I have a gun and a permit to carry one, which I have had for years.

When you purchase a gun, you have to fill out paperwork, which shows your address. Maybe this does not bother some people, but I do not want someone who has been accused of breaking into a home to have my address.

— Debbie Eason, New Albany

Reader: 46M uninsured is a ‘gross overestimation’

John Wilcox’s Nov. 12, 2009, letter “Hill stands up for constituents in health care debate,” cites a figure of 46 million uninsured Americans. This oft-quoted statistic is actually a gross overestimation of the problem, as recent research suggests the number of Americans who cannot currently afford health insurance is much lower.

A new study by Dr. June O’Neill, who served as Director of the Congressional Budget Office from 1995-1999, shows that nearly half of those uninsured Americans could likely afford to purchase health coverage. The average “voluntarily uninsured” household makes $65,000 per year.

We should not rush into the creation of a new, expensive healthcare system without a better understanding of the uninsured population. As long as we continue basing our arguments on inaccurate numbers, it’s hard to see how we can make effective policy decisions.

— Kristen Lopez Eastlick, senior economic analyst, Employment Policies Institute, Washington, D.C.

Business unhappy with suppliers

Recently, liquor stores in Southern Indiana began paying as much as 12.2 percent more for a case of beer. Most liquor stores are passing this price increase on to their customers, but Sunset Spirits is saying “no.”

In a time when many people in our community are fighting to keep their jobs, make their car and mortgage payments and basically keep their heads above water, Miller/Coors and Anheuser Busch are raising prices again. In the past five years, these beer companies have raised the average price of a case of beer by approximately $2, a 3.5 percent raise each year for these breweries per year. Most people do not even receive this much as a cost-of-living raise. To make matters even worse, the cost of the value brands (Busch, Miller High Life, Natural Light and Ice, Milwaukee’s Best, and Keystone) are taking the largest percentage increase, having now increased by an average of 15 percent from the beginning of the recession in early 2008.

In our five-plus years in business, we have endured many price increases on beer. Normally we pass these increases on to our customers, but this time we thought we would stand up and say “enough is enough.” Many customers simply cannot afford to pay more and more for their beer. What is particularly disappointing to us is that the supposed “value brands” have taken the largest percentage increase over the last two years. We are just going to hold prices this time and let our customers know that we care about them a lot more than the mega-brewers do.

As is their normal practice, the brewers are continuing their policy of “price matching” by selling each corresponding package for the same price across competing brands. I find this practice more of a situation of price-fixing than I do price matching. After all, these brewers control over 80 percent of the beer market in the United States at the current time. You simply cannot convince me that their costs are exactly the same. The majority of beer drinkers are in worse shape financially now than they were a year ago and we just don’t like the idea of prices going up in this economy.

We look forward to serving many satisfied customers in the Southern Indiana area in the coming years. Maybe we won’t have to endure many more of these ridiculous increases in the future.

— Melissa and Monty Anderson, co-owners of Sunset Spirits, New Albany

Reader says studies ‘out there’ on wells

Again, I read an article in a recent Evening News about another study of water supply from wells in Charlestown State Park. The only thing that’s had more study is the Ohio River Bridges.

For more than 20 years, I have tried to correct untrue statements that there has been no upgrade on the seven Ranney collector wells now owned by the state park.

First, people have to know what Ranney collector wells are. They are 18 feet in diameter inside, a round reinforced concrete cylinder, 90 feet deep with long laterals to supply water to the wells. Mounted on top are what they call well houses. Inside are two large pumps and piping. Also, there are large electrical panels. These pumps have the capacity to pump millions gallons of water a day.

Back to the first point I made about the upgrade, the first came when Witten Bros. had a contract to test an 18-inch line from the No. 1 collector well to the above-ground reservoir, which is now in the park. This well was reworked — everything in the well house. Also, one of the pump motors was replaced by Standby Diesel Motor. This well was operational for the new Black Powder line. This contract was for the Army Corps of Engineers.

Then in the early 1980s, Witten Bros. had a contract through I.C.I. America for government modernization to upgrade four wells in the wellhouses, including piping all electrical controls, which was done by Henderson Electrical. Also, under this contract, we were to test one well’s laterals and pull one pump and disassemble it to check for wear.

To check the laterals, we had a diver to go down and close the valves where they enter the well. The pumps were then started to pump the well dry. After that, we had someone run TV cameras through them. We then ran the pumps for output capacity.

All final reports were written up by a Witten’s employee and given to I.C.I. These reports should be out there somewhere.

There are two elevated storage tanks in the state park. One was put into service for the new black powder line. I did the inspection on that one myself. These tanks sit close to the 18-inch line from the No. 1 collector well.

I have talked to the past and current mayors of Charlestown, Charlestown’s representative on the Reuse Committee and the redevelopment people, the one over the Charlestown Water Department.

My concern is spending tax money to do things we already have available. There is no real way to test these wells without doing as we did. That report is out there somewhere.

I would be glad to talk to anyone who like to know more. My number is in the phone book.

— Nova Walls, Charlestown

Reader upset with Hill’s health care vote

Our local “Blue Dog” Democrat, Baron Hill, has turned out to be a “lap dog” Democrat. When it comes to the tough votes, he sides against the people of this community and with the Nancy Pelosi crowd.

That is what he did with cap-and-trade tax and that is what he did with his House vote on government takeover of health care. Both votes will cost Hoosiers jobs.

The most important thing to understand about the House bill is that it does nothing at all to reduce the cost of health care or to ensure an adequate supply. Those with health care now will pay more for it. Those without health care will be required to get it or pay a fine.

There will be new taxes on small business. It is a jobs killer. There will be taxes on insurance companies and medical providers that will be passed on to consumers as higher premiums. It is $600 billion in new taxes and half a trillion in Medicare cuts.

This bill was not generally supported by Hill. He knew it was a mistake, but when Pelosi whistled, he rolled over and played dead. Patriots pledged their sacred honor when they signed the Declaration of Independence. “Bow-wow” Baron dishonored himself when he signed onto a declaration of dependence on the nanny state.

— Tim Zukas, Clarksville

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