Military funding

Does it make sense to ask for a pay cut then borrow construction money to finance a new wing for your house? Back in the early post 9/11 days our U.S. Congress made a similarly illogical decision. They voted to cut taxes while initiating costly military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

After the attacks of 9/11 voters would have supported a call for shared sacrifice. In WWII and the Korean War taxes were raised to all-time high levels to fund the war effort. In Vietnam a surtax was imposed. But in the Global War on Terror (GWOT)we did the polar opposite of shared sacrifice. We cut taxes. Financing for these wars came from foreign debt. This combination of war-level spending plus a tax cut added almost $4 trillion to our national debt.

Now Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott are upset that the new budget deal does not provide adequate funding for military retirees of the GWOT era. They should be. But Congress could have prevented this part of the budget squeeze by pushing to fund the war back in 2002.

Wars demand independent funding. Peacetime defense budgets are simply inadequate. We paid for previous wars but this one we "charged" and put the debt on future generations. It is not too late to do something about paying the debts specifically associated with these two wars. All it takes is political will.

Carl Voelker

Deer Point Drive

Seabrook Island

Silly critique

I never thought of Rich Lowry as a comedian, but his Dec. 22 column shows a hidden talent.

Apparently, he had so little substantively about which to write that he couched his tired argument against Obamacare into a silly critique of characters from a television commercial.

There may be those who, if they bother to read it, could find themselves mildly amused but hardly enlightened.

William T. Ashby, D.V.M.

Stratford Drive

Summerville

Core reality

In a recent letter, the author felt that Common Core state standards should not be adopted in South Carolina. She said that if it were an earthquake, it would register a 7.5 or higher on the Richter scale in terms of its effect on our educational system.

The three most prominent studies of state public education rankings are Quality Count, Kids Count, and ALEC.

Here are their findings respectively: South Carolina earns a C+, it ranks 41st nationally, and it ranks 50th nationally.

Isn't it time for an earthquake? What exactly is the writer trying to preserve?

The writer also stated that under Common Core, the teacher would become a facilitator. Great teachers are not lecturers; they serve as catalysts and facilitators. They start cars and allow students to drive into the world of knowledge, creativity and critical thinking. Great teachers are not necessarily subject matter experts, but they know how to get their charges excited about learning.

While Common Core is not the answer, neither are the traditional methods endorsed by the writer who criticizes the discovery approach to learning as a one-size-fits-all approach to education.

In traditional classes, everyone reads from the same textbook, receives the same lesson, receives the same homework assignment and takes the same test. That is a prime example of what the writer is complaining about.

Educators in South Carolina and elsewhere need to examine their programs by asking just two questions: Why do most children lose their initial interest and excitement about school? How does this problem get fixed?

It has long been established that people learn best when they are interested, yet educators continually ignore the elephant in the room.

Bob Blumenthal

Daniel Legare Place

Mount Pleasant

Wasted funds

Why does a monopoly utility spend money on advertising to a captive audience? If I owned SCE&G stock, I would want to know.

As a customer who foots the bill for their never-ending rate increases, I deserve an explanation.

Eleanor Horres

Bank Street

Mount Pleasant

Religious stamps

I'd like the writer of a Dec. 17 letter to know that she can drop her complaint against the U.S. Postal Service regarding the lack of religious Christmas stamps.

I'm not sure why she found the gingerbread house stamps so offensive, but if those do not suit her, there are two beautiful, religious-themed stamps available at USPS.com. One pictures a lovely scene with the holy family and the star of Bethlehem and the other shows the virgin and child.

And while I am on my soapbox on this issue, I would like to say that the USPS is often unfairly maligned. I am very happy with the services they provide. I don't know of any other way to get a letter from one end of the country to another on time at a good price.

The staff is always friendly at my local branch, and the prices are much more reasonable than other carriers for package shipping.

Also, in the very few instances that a letter or package has been misdirected, they could not be more helpful in locating it and getting it to the right address.

In a season when we should all be counting our blessings, I count the USPS as one of mine.

My faithful carrier brings me my mail six days a week no matter what the weather, and I'm pretty happy about that. And the wide variety of stamps should suit just about everyone.

Mary McRae

Old Gilliard Road

Ridgeville

Future in crafts

Over time, I've noticed a creative manufacturing trend growing under the radar here in Charleston: Well designed furniture; some custom, some items as-designed.

I say this from experience being a local custom woodwork and metalwork patron myself. Here's what I've learned recently:

A) Craftspeople can now obtaining serious technical and MFA educations in all kinds of creative manufacturing and design niches.

B) Some of these "micro-manufacturers" mastered their craft after a similar or different career earlier in life.

C) Not every hard-working manufacturer is a man.

One woman, a silversmith with an MFA, grew up working in her family's Aiken hardware store.

She followed her passion for metalwork and jewelry design through to college and graduate school and now runs her own small facility here in Charleston.

Another Lowcountry fellow was a professional soccer player. After his career ended, he reverted to his metal sculpture background. He eventually mastered fine woodworking and furniture-making.

I believe Charleston could compete more in the furniture industry for three reasons: 1) the brilliant local talent and creative energy here, 2) North Carolina's fading and outdated furniture industry, and 3) Charleston's charming, historical, and understatedly luxurious brand - which is now everywhere.

It is my hope that more creative manufacturing niches such as furniture, jewelry, art, clothing, printing and others take root and grow our local economy. All it takes is the willingness to knock on a few shop doors and perhaps get a little dusty.

Baron C. Hanson

Market Street

Charleston

Inherited troubles

I would like to remind those who are constantly bashing, accusing, criticizing and ridiculing President Obama for anything and everything he is doing that President Obama is working hard to pick up President George W. Bush's busted remains, and he is doing it extremely well.

It is anti-American and unpatriotic to put down our president while elevating the leaders of foreign countries.

G.A. Monocrusos

Betsy Road

Charleston