Good for Rep. Greg Walden for supporting passage of the fiscal cliff bill. He joined virtually all the Democrats and about one-third of the Republicans.

The 112th Congress achieved a record low performance grade because it passed so few meaningful bills into law. Public approval rating is at an all-time low of about 10 percent. The House pushed the country's economy to the brink with a threat of government shutdown, refusal to raise the debt ceiling, and now the fiscal cliff. Senate Republicans have initiated a record number of filibusters since President Obama took office.

Hopefully this next Congress will not do more of the same. The economy is recovering; the housing market is improving. Now is the time to do what a majority of Americans voted for and that is strike a fair and balanced deal. That means don't just cut, but cut and invest; reform the tax codes and entitlements in a way that asks those who can afford to pay to do so. Adopt policies that make a good return.

You can get growth and deficit reduction together, but not if you just take whacks at federal spending alone and create one crisis after another. — Steve Haskell, Ashland

Editor's note: An editing error garbled the second pargraph of the following letter in Wednesday's paper. Here is the letter in its original version.

As a result of the tragedy in Connecticut, there's been a rush by many to mostly blame the gun culture for this calamity. Undoubtedly, there will now be a justifiable push for tighter gun control. Obviously, assault weapons and licensure issues need to be addressed.

However, before we get caught up in the media-driven search for an easy answer, let's remember that when it comes to these tragedies, easy answers may elude us. Although Western Europe has strict gun control, they've had many mass shootings over the past 20 years. In addition to the recent shooting in Norway that took over 60 lives, there have been horrific mass shootings in schools in Western Europe, too.

To reduce these crimes, we need to be truly liberal enough to realize that conservatives make some valid points on this issue, too. For instance, since many of America's worst mass shootings have occurred in gun-free zones, maybe it's time to rethink these areas. Since gun-free zones offer little resistance to an assassin, we should at least consider having an increased police presence in these areas.

Hopefully, America can work on reducing these crimes while retaining the more positive aspects of our Second Amendment. — Perry Casilio, Talent

Share This Story