I was recently on my way home to Charleston after a work-related trip out of town. Traveling out of Columbia, I decided to conduct my own survey on driving conditions on I-26 east.
Starting at 70 mph, the posted speed limit, I was passed by every vehicle that came upon me for five miles. I increased my speed to 75 mph, and 95 percent of the vehicles that came upon me also passed.
Once I reached the speed of 85 mph, a few drivers fell in line but several passed. Then I figured it out: It’s not about being in a hurry or trying to go fast, its about being in second place. Nobody likes being second.
Hey, wait a minute. I’m in second. I gotta go, see ya. Please be safe. There is no trophy at your destination if you don’t make it there.
The July 19 letter titled “Limited pity” was just the tip of the iceberg. All federal civil service employees should be thankful for good-paying secure jobs with great benefits such as 104 hours of annual leave and 104 hours of sick leave the first year of employment. (Yes, over five paid weeks off.)
They also get reduced health and life insurance payments and retirement (the employee contributes .08 percent of his bi-weekly salary and the taxpayer contributes over 20 percent) after five years of service if they meet the age requirements.
The State Department pays an annual amount to reduce student loan debt and, of course, employees get annual monetary awards and pay increases. The IRS gave out $71 million, and most agencies do the same with taxpayer money.
The list of benefits are lengthy and can be found at www.opm.gov. I doubt you could find these benefits in the private sector.
Yes, the reduction in pay hurts, but why aren’t employees asking why all government employees are not affected? What about the overpaid foreign service officers at the State Department and the scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association? What about other well-paid civil servants? How did their agencies come up with billions to pay them?
Maybe the agencies’ 2014 budgets need to be reduced by that amount.
We as taxpayers pay the president, vice president and our elected officials. Why is their pay not being reduced? If the old adage “lead by example” were applied equally across the board, I could live with it. But it is not.
Oak Hill Plantation
It is surreal — the mismanagement, incompetence and political cowardice of our elected representatives. They have almost accomplished what Hitler, Tojo and an assortment of other tyrants were unable to do — destroy this great country.
That representatives say they want to repeal Obama- care and then vote to fund it because the Democrats threaten to shut down the government and blame the Republicans speaks volumes about their cowardice.
They created this sordid mess, and voting to fund Obamacare — telling their constituents they would be blamed even though the Democrats made the decision to shut down the government — is doublespeak. They have been getting away with lying to constituents for too long.
The vote to fund Obamacare will be the litmus test in judging where our representatives stand: Do they represent the people who elected them or represent themselves to retain their thirst for power.?
If I were a betting man, I would bet on the latter. I pray that I am proven wrong.
Kenneth R. Cook
Fort Royal Avenue
I am writing to compliment the excellent article written by Tyrone Richardson on “Million-dollar listings” that was published in the Aug. 4 paper. I had the pleasure of being interviewed by him and found his approach extremely professional and thorough.
Many of my colleagues in the local real estate industry were also very impressed by the scope of reporting and found it especially timely.
As the economy continues to rebound, it was also heartening to see that Charleston was recently voted the friendliest city in the USA and fifth in the world. Hopefully, our conviviality will continue to lure people to move to the Lowcountry.
And if one these new transplants has around $5 million for a new home, I may just have the house for him.
Daniel Island Real Estate
River Landing Drive