Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, April 23, 2011

MVNews this week:  Page 12



 Mountain Views News Saturday, April 23, 2011 

HOWARD Hays As I See It

GREG Welborn

Are We Really Serious?

 Last week I asked, without the benefit of any 
information from the credit rating agencies or 
from our president, whether we were serious in 
addressing our fiscal problems and whether we 
would rise to the occasion of this defining moment 
in our country’s history. While I addressed and 
referenced the fiscal issues, at its heart this was, 
and is, a political issue. Our financial crisis can 
be solved, but it will only happen if our politicians 
take the situation seriously. Sadly, this week 
Standard & Poor (an independent credit rating 
agency) downgraded the U.S.’s long-term outlook 
to “negative”, being forced to the conclusion, as 
we all are now, that the current resident at 1600 
Pennsylvania Ave. and his fellow travelers are 
anything but serious.

 In making their decision, S&P acknowledged 
that they made a “political judgment”, but they 
weren’t doing this in the normal sense that most 
of us use the word. Fiercely independent and 
neutral, S&P does not pull for or campaign for 
one party or the other, or for one candidate or the 
other. In this sense, they don’t care who resides in 
the White House, in the House or in the Senate. 
On a more significant level, however, S&P does 
have to look at who is in leadership and assess 
what actions, or lack thereof, those leaders will 
take. That is a quintessential political calculation, 
but one that must be made in assessing whether 
any country will be able to meet its obligations. 

S&P’s analysis of the U.S. economic situation 
was overwhelmingly focused on whether 
Washington will be able to do anything about 
the massive deficit we’re running and projected 
to run next year. There can be only one reason 
that S&P downgraded the U.S.’s rating this week: 
President Obama’s speech at George Washington 

 The President purposefully scheduled his speech 
to follow the Republican’s budget proposal. 
The timing provided an opportunity for him 
to respond to that budget and to demonstrate 
that he was rising above rank politics and was 
accordingly addressing the issues in a serious 
manner befitting his sworn obligation to all 
Americans. Instead, President Obama delivered 
what must be seen as the first speech in his 
reelection campaign and was pointedly partisan 
in his demonization of Republicans in general 
and specifically of Representative Ryan Paul, the 
author of the proposed Republican budget.

 The stridency and harshness of the President’s 
words poisoned the water between Republicans 
and the White House, demonstrated that the 
President cannot be trusted to negotiate in good 
faith and ultimately forced S&P to conclude, 
“the political negotiations over when and how 
to address both the medium and long-term 
challenges will persist until at least after the 
national elections of 2012. In so doing, S&P also 
reminded us that these aren’t trivial issues or 
trivial differences. Their analysis pointed out that 

“in 2003-2008 the U.S.’s 
general (total) government 
deficit fluctuated between 
2% and 5% of GDP. Already 
larger than that of most ‘AAA’ 
rated sovereigns, it ballooned 
to more than 11% in 2009 and 
has yet to recover.” If anything, 
one might actually accuse 
S&P of going a bit easy on 
good ‘ole Uncle Sam. If we were just some other 
country, we might easily imagine that S&P would 
have downgraded the rating on our existing (and 
future) debt from the gold plated triple A rating 
to something lower. When/if this ever happens, 
our nation will be in an unfathomable world of 

 The left will of course immediately jump on this 
as a reason to increase tax rates to close the deficit. 
But this is not what S&P called for. In fact, their 
analysis conclusively leads one to acknowledge 
that this would cause further financial problems. 
Looking at countries like Greece, which chose tax 
increases rather than significant spending cuts as 
the answer to their financial problems, it’s clear 
that tax increases only serve to decrease economic 
activity further. Taxing the entrepreneurs and 
business owners that are responsible for most of 
the growth and the employment in this country 
will only hurt their ability to hire and grow their 

 It is only through meaningful spending cuts, 
budgetary reform and significant long-term tax 
cuts that we will start to see employment and 
growth rebound. The good news is that S&P 
didn’t actually down grade our debt rating. 
There is still time, but we’re getting into the last 
few meaningful moments of what too many 
politicians see as a political game. They play with 
our economy and our money as if it is nothing 
but a means to keep themselves in power. Those 
that play this game don’t see much beyond the 
D.C. beltway. What happens outside – here in 
the towns, farms and factories of this great nation 
– doesn’t mean much to them. Fortunately, there 
are a few politicians – like Representative Paul 
Ryan – who do think beyond political games 
and who do care about this great nation and its 
fate. The Republican budget was criticized by 
our politician-in-chief as being heartless, but it is 
he, and those who would gamble our future in a 
cynical political game, who are the heartless ones. 

 Let us hope that at this defining moment leaders 
on both sides of the political divide will side with 
the American people rather than with the man 
whose promise of fundamental change has only 
made things worse.

About the author: Gregory J. Welborn is a freelance 
writer and has spoken to several civic and religious 
organizations on cultural and moral issues. He lives 
in the Los Angeles area with his wife and 3 children 
and is active in the community. He can be reached at

 In the late 1960’s, the years 
leading up to Roe vs. Wade, 
Richard Pryor had a line in 
his stand-up routine which 
went something like, “If men 
could get pregnant, abortion 
would’ve been legalized a 
hundred years ago.” That 
was probably the last time 
the subject appeared in a comedy act - until 
a few weeks ago.


 Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) started the ball 
rolling on the Senate floor during debate on 
the Republican proposal to cut funding for 
Planned Parenthood ($75 million through 
Title X - about half the amount of the tax 
rebate given to Exxon/Mobil). Although 
federal law prohibits funding for abortion, 
Sen. Kyl insisted the move was necessary 
because abortions are “well over 90% of what 
Planned Parenthood does”.


 Actually, it’s about 3% of what Planned 
Parenthood does. What the organization 
does do, on a yearly basis, is perform about 
a million cervical cancer screenings, 830,000 
breast exams, 4 million tests and treatments 
for sexually transmitted diseases, and helps 
prevent over 600,000 unwanted pregnancies.


 What got the late-night comedians 
going, though, was the response when CNN 
contacted Sen. Kyl’s office to point out that 
“well over 90% of what Planned Parenthood 
does” is unrelated to abortion. His office 
explained the Senator’s “remark was not 
intended to be a factual statement”. The 
spokesman later back-pedaled and disavowed 
that explanation, saying instead it was a 
matter of the Senator having “misspoke”. The 
Think Progress website observed, “So neither 
Kyl’s original statement nor his press aide’s 
refutation of it were intended to be factual 
statements.” (Google “Stephen Colbert Jon 
Kyl” to get loads of priceless material.)


 Sen. Kyl isn’t the only one on Capitol Hill 
making statements far from “factual”. We’re 
told of the urgency of deficit reduction, yet 
according to Congressional Budget Office 
figures, the deficit would go down faster if we 
simply did nothing, rather than adopt GOP 
proposals. Republicans complain of high 
corporate taxes, while many of the largest 
not only don’t pay any, but receive sizeable 


 They say we should open more lands to 
oil exploration, though oil companies won’t 
drill on leases they have. Gas prices rise 
because of poorly regulated commodities 
speculation, while Republicans push for 
further deregulation.


 They say they’re against abortion, yet argue 
for steps to ensure it becomes more prevalent 
- and less safe.


 For a “factual” look at the effects 
of legislation, there’s research by the 
Guttmacher Institute. Established forty years 
ago, the Institute was named after Dr. Alan 
Guttmacher, one of the founders of Planned 
Parenthood, an obstetrician/gynecologist 
who found his calling back in the 1920s as he 
watched a young woman die from a botched 


 According to the Institute, publicly 
financed family planning services in the 
U.S. prevented 1.94 million unwanted 
pregnancies in 2006, resulting in 810,000 
fewer abortions. 

 The effects of another Republican initiative, 
withdrawing U.S. support (currently $648.5 
million for FY 2011) for international 
organizations that offer family planning 
services would result in five million more 
abortions world-wide, with four million of 
those being “unsafe”, 33,000 maternal deaths, 
and 150,000 children losing their mothers.


 Abortion is less prevalent, and safer, in parts 
of the world where laws are less restrictive. 
Obviously, where access to women’s health 
and family planning services are greater, the 
incidence of abortion is less.


 The debate on the House floor was 
jarringly brought back to the factual. After 
Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) recited a lurid, 
detailed description of a procedure, complete 
with references to a “tiny dead baby” and 
“child abuse”, Rep. Jackie Speier (C-CA) 
responded with reality: “I had planned to 
speak of something else, but the gentleman 
from New Jersey has just put my stomach in 
knots because I’m one of those women he 
spoke about just now . . . that procedure that 
you just talked about was a procedure that I 
endured. I lost a baby.” 


 She continued, “But for you to stand on 
this floor and to suggest, as you have, that 
somehow this is a procedure that is either 
welcomed or done cavalierly or done without 
any thought is preposterous.” 


 House Republicans had earlier attempted, 
through H.R. 3, to redefine “rape” as it pertains 
to exceptions from abortion restrictions, by 
adding the modifier “forcible”. If there was 
no violent resistance involved, if the victim 
were an acquiescing child or a drugged-out 
adult, then sorry - you weren’t really “raped”, 
and would have to carry to term. 


 Ultimately, seven Republicans, including 
Rep. Mary Bono Mack of Palm Springs, 
defied their party’s leadership and voted to 
maintain funding for Planned Parenthood. 
Rep. David Dreier did as he was told and was 
not among them.


 In the U.S. Senate, Sen. Dianne Feinstein 
saw the issue as “an opportunity for the 
right wing in the House to really sock it to 
women.” Planned Parenthood President 
Cecile Richards noted that “Attacking 
Planned Parenthood hurts women, does not 
cure the deficit or fix the economy, and must 
be stopped.”


 The battle extends to state capitals. In 
Indiana, Republican State Senator Vaneta 
Becker pointed out the irony of seeking to 
reduce access to women’s health services 
at the same time they were cutting aid to 
mentally disabled children; “If we are so 
concerned about pregnancy before children 
are born, why are we not as concerned after 
children are born?”


 “In many areas that are rural, without these 
kind of services, women will be stripped of 
health care”, noted Sen. Becker, and added, 
“This piece of legislation will increase 


 Legislation in Kansas, as in Indiana, tells 
doctors what they are to tell their patients 
about abortion. Kansas Republican State 
Rep. Barbara Bollier says, “ . . . it’s based on 
false research . . . and I would be embarrassed 
to be a state that bases its laws on untruths.”


 If I were Rep. Dreier, I’d be embarrassed 
to belong to a party whose policies would 
endanger women’s health and lead to more 


 And that was indeed intended to be a 
factual statement.

Due to the high demand for her tutoring and education services, bookstore 
owner, Sally Morrison, is opening a new learning center here in Sierra Madre. 
Mindspring Education Center will cater to students (children and adults) 
interested in furthering their reading, writing, math, spelling, and 
comprehension skills. In addition, Sally offers assistance in study skills, 
homework, and test preparation. She also specializes in helping students 
with dyslexia and other learning difficulties. Those interested in summer 
sessions should contact Mindspring soon because space is limited.
As a result of this business expansion, Sally Morrison and Jeffrey Ingwalson, 
owners of Sierra Madre Books, will be closing the bookstore in June 2011. 
“We appreciate all the support we’ve received from our customers over the 
past few years, but are excited about our new venture. We look forward to 
continuing to be part of this community.”
For questions about Mindspring Education Center, please call (626) 355-1972.
For questions about Sierra Madre Books, please call (626) 836-3200.
The Opening of...
Mindspring Education CenterOne-to-One Instruction for All Ages37 Auburn Ave., Suite 7ASierra Madre, CA 91024(626)