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Mathew Hill, Obama and more in Wednesday's Forum

Staff Report • Aug 1, 2013 at 10:31 AM

State Rep. Matthew Hill’s update on road projects that appeared in the Press on July 17 would have been better suited for the “Believe It or Not” section. In fact, most of the 12 road projects are located outside of Hill’s legislative district.These are long-term projects that were initiated by current Rep. Tony Shipley, R-Kingsport, and former Rep. Dale Ford, R-Jonesborough. They began work on these projects at a time when Republicans and Democrats could work together for the good of their districts, not the right or left wings that are normal today.Since Hill seems to be taking credit for these projects, it remains to be seen how many of them will actually be completed — given that he and the Tennessee Department of Transportation are not considered to be lunchroom buddies in Nashville.It seems Hill has embarked on a journey to claim the ideas and hard work of others as his own in order to further his political ambitions.WAYNE ROBERTSONJohnson CityReason is winningKenneth Gough began his column on July 7 thoughtfully and even self-effacing. Then, about midway, his ideological libertarianism upended it all.Mitt Romney was supposed to win, his logic goes, but Democrats managed to demonize the upstanding man so effectively that fickle America deserted him. How about this? Americans turned against Romney because he couldn’t figure out himself what he stood for, hid his money overseas to avoid his share of support for his nation’s needs, and insulted half of us (the “takers”). Obama’s re-election holds all the evidence Gough needs to trust Americans to see beyond demonizing, unprecedented at the hands of Obama’s critics for years, to the person and his record. We’ve done some amazing things under Obama’s leadership. And we didn’t become another Greece, Gough’s dire warnings notwithstanding.His historical precedents, revived to predict our downfall, speak to me differently. FDR’s “foolish economic policies” and the misnamed “welfare state” (including Social Security and Medicare) were responses to extreme human need, making us a better and more economically sound nation. The notion that Reconstruction led to Jim Crow is bizarre. From state-sanctioned slavery before and during the Civil War and illegal be de-facto slavery through the prison system for many years following, white supremacy and racism survived Reconstruction and beyond. Jim Crow laws simply codified centuries-old evil. Time to come clean about that.This might give pause to those of Gough’s persuasion. Polling and evaluation of recent census statistics by Vanderbilt University and others show rapid changing Southern demographics, portending an end to white Republican domination. More worrying should be this fact: In the last election Southern white voters under 30 voted for Obama at essentially the same rate as whites across the nation. Gough has it backward. Reason is already trumping resentment.JUDY GARLANDJohnson City Start stockpilesHow many people know that when Barack Obama took office as president the federal debt was approximately $8 trillion and today it is approximately $17 trillion? He still has three years to go in his second term. What will it be at the end of that time? Quite a bit of the debt is held by foreigners, most notably the Chinese, but there are others as well. They are beginning to refuse to purchase any more of it. The only alternative to finance it is to print more dollars. But when the amount of anything is increased, the value per unit falls. In the case of the U.S. money supply, that means the value of dollars will decrease, that is, prices will increase — probably skyrocket. There is a way to protect oneself. It is to hold assets not denominated in dollars. People who do that can actually benefit financially from the price inflation. What should one begin with? Allow me to suggest stockpiling food followed by any medications one must take on a regular basis. Then whatever one uses regularly — diapers, toilet paper and such.ROGER M. CLITESJohnson City

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