Exxon Mobil, the world's most profitable company, paid no U.S. taxes but received a subsidy, along with other oil companies, paid with our tax dollars.

Big agriculture got $4.5 billion in subsidies while experiencing record profits. Six hundred "farmers" in Manhattan, N.Y., got subsidy checks. (Congresswoman Bachmann's family receives $25,000 yearly. She proposes to eliminate tax deductions for breast pumps for working moms!)

The president and Democrats tried to reduce big agriculture subsidies, but were stopped by Republicans.

Four hundred of the richest families have as much money as 150 million of us combined and they are not being asked to help our country, from which they took so much wealth.

So, is Congress tapping these rich resources to help reduce the deficit? No. They're taking the money from people who cannot make large campaign contributions, cut the WIC Food Program by $700 million, cut Pell college grants, Medicaid, money to states for teachers, firefighters, etc.

Corporate welfare is more important than the welfare of we the people, so it seems. — Sidney Stitt, Phoenix

Recent academic studies have concluded that union workers employed by state and local governments receive total compensation 30-40 percent higher than private-sector workers receive for similar work.

Government workers should certainly be paid equivalently to private sector workers; however, we cannot afford to keep paying them a 30-40 percent premium. Unless and until this disparity is resolved, we will face never-ending budget deficits.

It would be unethical, if not illegal, to abrogate existing contract terms during the term of the contracts. As these contracts expire, though, two things need to happen. First, meaningful concessions must be negotiated in health and retirement benefits, which dramatically exceed those paid in the free market.

After that, the total compensation package must be reviewed to determine how much it still exceeds the private sector. Then, that total compensation must be flat-lined for as long as it takes to become commensurate with the free market. Only then will we be able to have a chance to bring our budgets into balance.

Union bosses will doubtless complain that their "working people" deserve a "living wage." They are already receiving much more than that; it is time to correct this situation. — Jeffrey I. Beaupain, Medford

Sometimes it seems that logical reasoning no longer applies: It only follows that you used to do the duties outlined when you were hired. Evidently, some politicians feel they're above the law.

There is no reason why the same politicians couldn't have appeared at the job they were elected to do and use their vote to show their position.

The answer is after weeks of rebellion, absence from the Wisconsin legislature, showing scorn for our system of government, a pink slip should be mandatory, elections set to replace them, no paychecks for the time off from work (their choice), no living expenses issued and our faith in our way of life restored.

Why wait? The abuse of our election procedures is intolerable and unbelievable. — Sue Cobun, Medford

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