To the editor:

This letter is in response to the “Happiness” letter Mr. Woolery sent in to the opinion section. While he mentions in his letter to the editor that we enjoy some of the best freedoms and opportunities in the world, especially for the rich, he fails to recognize that many of our good-paying manufacturing jobs have been moved overseas. Most people have a different perception about today’s economy than Mr. Woolery. Our economy is turning into a service economy that pays its workers about half as much and the manufacturing jobs that have been moved overseas. For example, the typical Wal-Mart jobs pay from $7 to $10 per hour (with few benefits) while many of the local manufacturing jobs such as at 3M pay between $14 and $22 an hour (with good benefits). As manufacturing is moved overseas, the wages of the middle class will drop accordingly. In addition to these facts, dollars are being created by the Fed which has caused inflation to increase to double digits. This is being done by the “borrow and spend” Republican so the purchasing power of the middle class can be diluted even further. These “borrow and spend Republicans” are responsible for 80 percent of the national debt which has been created while Republican presidents were in office. Foreign countries own a large portion of our national debt and as a result, it is hard to hold these foreign countries such as China responsible for wage, safety and environmental standards. Therefore, they own us.

As for the current gas prices, gas was a $1.75 when Bush came in office. His foreign policy and his war, along with market speculation, is the blame for $4 gas prices. The Saudi oil minister indicated that up to 40 percent of the cost of a barrel of oil is due to speculation in hedge funds buying oil futures and holding on to them until the prices goes up so they can sell and make a hefty profit. Morgan Stanley owns most of the oil in this country, not big oil. Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats have nothing to do with the current gas prices. The Republicans have filibustered all meaningful legislation that the Democrats proposed that would have taken back the corporate welfare that has been given to the gas companies, even though Exxon Mobil is the most profitable company on the planet. These corporations do not need taxpayer corporate welfare. The Republicans have filibustered all meaningful legislation the last year and a half since the Democrats have been in charge, and the Republicans are calling this a “do-nothing Congress.” They plan to blame the Democrats, but it is the direct responsibility of the Republicans.

In Mr. Woolery’s comment about electricity and water, he should know that our taxpayer-funded utilities are being privatized. As a result of this privatization, the overhead for utilities that was once around 3 percent has now increased to 70 percent or greater under the ownership of private corporations. Of his comments about emergency workers being available when the people need them, these too are being privatized including private firefighters in California, which will only go to the houses which have paid for that service. Therefore, only the rich or the affluent can afford these private services. It’s very obvious that privatized health care has resulted in many people not being able to afford the care that they require because of this service economy that Mr. Woolery says we are blessed with.

As far as freedom from religion, I am glad we live in a country that doesn’t allow one religion to dominate over any other religions in our government. That’s why our government is a secular government.

I recommend that Mr. Woolery read “The Shock Doctrine” by Naomi Klein and “Hostile Takeover” by David Sirota so that he can understand why some Americans are frustrated with our economy and our government.

The comments about Obama were equally misinformed. Obama understands the issues around a woman’s choice. It is a woman’s decision as to what she can do with her body, not the government’s. He also understands that putting nonviolent drug users in prison not only wastes taxpayer money, but does nothing to rehabilitate these individuals. They only learn how to be better criminals. Obama understand that to have a successful foreign policy, talking to our enemies is as important as talking to our friends, just as Abraham Lincoln said: “Keep your friends close but keep your enemies closer.” Mr. Woolery should understand Lincoln, seeing as he is a Republican. The Obama smear campaign is going in full force by the Right. To understand the issue and this campaign, see this Web site: fightthesmears.com

Charles Stavley

May