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Dem vs. GOP debt

Dear Editor,
Dispatcher Larry Penner is upset that President Joe Biden’s Infrastructure Bill will add $595 billion to the deficit over the next ten years.
The bill will put $110 billion into roads, bridges and other major projects, $66 billion into freight and passenger rail, $39 billion into public transit systems, $65 billion into expanding broadband, a priority after the coronavirus pandemic left millions of Americans at home without effective internet access, and $55 billion into improving water systems and replacing lead pipes.
It will also increase funding for seniors in regards to vision, hearing and dental care, fight climate change, curb prescription drug prices, and increase funding for veterans.
Was Mr. Penner equally as upset when Donald Trump’s tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires added $3.9 trillion to the deficit? Of course not.
Here is the difference when it comes to Republicans and Democrats in regards to the deficit: Reagan took the deficit from $70 billion to $175 billion, Bush 41 took it to $300 billion, Clinton got it to zero.
Then Bush 43 took it from zero to $1.2 trillion, while Obama halved it to $600 billion despite Republican obstructionism at every turn. When Trump left office the deficit was $27 trillion!
Just to be clear, Biden increased the deficit to help the citizens of the United States. Trump increased the deficit so that the wealthy could buy a new yacht.
Sincerely,
Robert LaRosa, Sr.
Whitestone

Cover the cost

Dear Editor,
President Joe Biden and Democratic House and Senate members claim that both the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure and $1.75 trillion Build Back America bills are fully paid for.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found that the first bill would add $228 billion and the second bill $367 billion to our $29 trillion and growing national debt over the next ten years.
If they are so confident of this financing scheme, let them all put up their future pensions, 401k’s, stocks, bonds, homes and other assets as collateral. This can serve as a small down payment to cover the inevitable multi-billion dollar shortfall in anticipated revenues to pay for both bills over the coming years.
Sincerely,
Larry Penner
Great Neck

Shoe leather beats money

Dear Editor,
The victory of longtime Republican Party member Joseph Kasper over Democrat Paul Vallone for a judge post in the 3rd Municipal District Court was in many ways, similar to Republican truck driver Edward Durr defeating longtime Democrat New Jersey State Senate president Stephen Sweeney.
Four years earlier, Sweeney was easily reelected by an 18-point margin despite the teachers union spending over $4 million to defeat him. Durr spent less than $10,000 versus Sweeney’s $1,061,957.
Sweeney has served since 2002 and as president of the State Senate since January 2010. This provided him with 19 years of name recognition, all the perks of holding public office and all the pay-to-play special interest groups doing business in Trenton.
It was old-fashioned shoe leather going door to door evenings and weekends by Durr, who knocked on over 20,000 doors, that overcame the tremendous odds against him. Investing in some good walking shoes carried the day for Kasper, too.
Kasper beat a member of the Vallone family dynasty. Inheritance of a famous family name doesn’t always translate to entitlement for promotion to higher public office or a judgeship.
The lesson of Durr and Kasper is one all first-time underdog candidates could learn from.
Sincerely,
Larry Penner
Great Neck

Missing funds

Dear Editor,
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer proudly boasted how he has delivered $10 billion in new Federal Transit Administration funding to the MTA.
He said these funds will pay for the federal share of the $12 billion Gateway Tunnel, $6.9 billion Second Avenue Subway Phase 2, $8 billion Penn Station South and $1.5 billion Metro North Bronx Penn Station Access.
What’s missing from his grand announcement is any reference to the $10 billion Cross Harbor Freight Tunnel, $8 billion Rockaway LIRR branch restoration, $5 billion Utica Avenue Subway extension, $3.7 billion Brooklyn/Queens Street Car Connector, $3.5 billion Red Hook Subway extension, $3 billion Triboro X Bronx/Queens/Brooklyn subway line, $2.2 billion Light Rail between Jamaica and Long Island City, $100 million Flushing Intermodal Bus Terminal and $40 million for reopening the Woodhaven Boulevard LIRR Station closed in 1982.
This confirms that funding for these projects will end up being delayed until the next MTA 2025-2029 or 2030-2034 Five Year Capital Plan.
There is no evidence that most of these project are included in the MTA 2020-2040 Capital Needs Assessment Plan. Former Governor Andrew Cuomo and the MTA promised to release this document in December 2019.
Twenty-one months later, riders, transit advocate, taxpayers, and elected officials are still waiting for this critical document to see the light of day.
Sincerely.
Larry Penner
Great Neck

Happy connections

Dear Editor,
Happy Anniversary to R line subway service via the Montague Street Tunnel between Manhattan and Brooklyn.
The original construction of this tunnel by the old Brooklyn Manhattan Rapid Transit (BMT) company cost slightly less than $10 million. To build the same tunnel today would probably cost several billion dollars. Work began on October 12, 1914.
There were 65,000 pre-COVID-19 riders from Bay Ridge, Sunset Park, Park Slope, Brooklyn Heights and other neighborhoods benefitting from a direct subway connection to Manhattan, along with communities along Broadway and Queens Boulevard in Queens.
Sincerely,
Larry Penner
Great Neck

Questions remain

Dear Editor,
Questions still remain after the recent announcement by NJ Transit that they have awarded a $1.559 billion contract for construction of the New Portal Bridge on the Northeast Corridor followed by President Biden attending a ground-breaking ceremony for start of construction earlier this week.
Amtrak’s $305 billion Northeast Corridor High Speed project calls for the introduction of equipment that will operate at a speed of 180 mph. It is my understanding that the new Portal Bridge has been designed, and will be built to accommodate increasing speeds from the current 60 mph to only 90 mph.
This same issues also applies to the MTA’s ongoing construction of the $2.6 billion LIRR Main Line Third Track. This conflicts with Amtrak’s long term plans to reduce travel time by increasing speeds up to 180 mph along the Northeast Corridor.
What future track outages and service changes might impact both Amtrak and NJ Transit customers will be necessary to support construction? How much time will lapse after construction starts and finishes before riders will see the full benefits of this investment?
Commuters, taxpayers, transit advocates, elected officials, transportation reporters and project advocates deserve answers to these questions.
Sincerely,
Larry Penner
Great Neck

Ceiling talk

Dear Editor,
Dispatcher Larry Penner wrote last week that raising our national debt ceiling by $480 billion is nothing to be proud of. He’s right.
But as usual, he is incorrect in blaming Democrats and President Joe Biden for the costs incurred by the GOP.
How difficult is it to understand that Democrats are forced to pay the bills rung up by Republicans, just like parents paying the credit card bills of their irresponsible children?
Mr. Penner wonders where the money will come from to pay for all the infrastructure needs. Could Donald Trump’s permanent tax cuts for billionaires be to blame?
Sincerely,
Robert LaRosa, Sr.
Whitestone

Crushing debt

Dear Editor,
President Joe Biden and Congress raising our national debt ceiling by $480 billion is nothing to be proud of.
Both continue to ignore our national debt, which will now exceed $29 trillion by December 2021. This averages out to $86,710 per citizen, or $228,999 per taxpayer.
Our legal debt limit will officially run out in early December, due to our excessive current rate of spending. This doesn’t include the $1.2 trillion proposed Infrastructure or $3.5 trillion Build Back America package.
There are thousands of employees who are familiar with the details of our federal budget. How difficult can it be to find billions in savings?
Millions of Americans cut their household budgets to make ends meet. It is time for Washington to live within its available existing revenues without excessive borrowing, just like millions of ordinary citizens.
Return to pay-as-you-go budgeting, means testing for all government assistance programs, sunset provisions for agencies and programs that have outlived their original purpose, and real balanced budgets without smoke and mirrors.
Everything needs to be on the table, including military spending, agricultural subsidies, corporate welfare bailouts and foreign aid to other nations.
Have the IRS accelerate the collection of several hundred billion in uncollected back taxes owed by deadbeat individuals and corporations, along with suspending billions in future tax refunds to those who are gainfully employed, yet continue failing to pay long overdue taxes or student loans.
The President and Congress have forgotten the old saying “a penny saved is a penny earned.” Americans should send both a penny to remind them that it is not a sin to save.
Sincerely,
Larry Penner
Great Neck

The right to go

Dear Editor,
In June 2021, then-NYC Transit president Sarah Feinberg said she would like to reopen subway station bathrooms as quickly as possible. Three months later, MTA Chairman Janno Lieber said there are no immediate plans to reopen the existing 76 bathrooms inside the city’s 472 subway stations.
How many NJ Transit and PATH station bathrooms are open, closed or never had a bathroom to begin with? I guess when riding the subways, Lieber has never had the urge to go. Perhaps his bladder is stronger than most riders.
Until the early 1960s, subway riders respected authority. There was a ten-cent fee to use station bathrooms. That generation of riders did not litter, spit, or urinate on subway platforms or cars.
Before COVID-19, riders were always reluctant to use subway station bathrooms, even when available. Many stations had no working facilities or were closed. No one wanted to deal with the lack of toilet paper, soap or hot water, unhinged doors to stalls or finding a mess left behind by the previous patron.
Who wanted to find others using it as a safe place for consumption of drugs or sex? Homeless people afraid to go to shelters end up using the bathroom sink to shower in an attempt to maintain hygiene.
Why not assign a matron to each male and female bathroom? Ask any local business, college or hospital to adopt an adjacent station bathroom to help cover the costs of staffing. In exchange, give the sponsor free advertising space at the station.
If necessary, charge a nominal fee to use the facility. Reopening secure, safe subway station bathrooms with adequate supplies of toilet paper, soap and hot water would be one way to attract several million riders who have yet to return.
Sincerely,
Larry Penner
Great Neck

Welcome Walmart

Dear Editor,
The pending closing of the Sears in Flatbush represents a great opportunity for Walmart to open its first store in New York City.
Polls of ordinary New Yorkers year after year show support the right of Walmart to open stores in the five borough.
Residents in the other 57 counties in New York State have had the option of shopping or not shopping at Walmart for decades. The same is true for virtually every other city and state. Only New York City is behind the times.
Residents continue to be denied the opportunity to shop at Walmart by politicians such as Mayor Bill de Blasio, Comptroller Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, most members of the City Council, and other Democratic elected officials and their union allies.
They feel that we should oppose Walmart because of substandard salaries and unfair competition it would create for smaller stores.
Construction of a new Walmart can provide work for construction contractors and their employees. Once opened, there are employment opportunities for many workers.
Many students, heads of single-family households, senior citizens and others currently out of work could find employment. The city would benefit by millions in sales, payroll and real-estate tax revenue that could help fund essential municipal services everyone desires.
Walmart is the nation’s largest private sector employer with over 1.2 million employees and growing each year. Starting pay averages several dollars above the minimum wage for new employees around the nation. They also offer health care and other benefits.
Several hundred thousand New Yorkers work off the books, full and part time, with no benefits. Many existing retailers pay minimum wage with no benefits. These same public officials opposing Walmart never talk about these abuses.
The free enterprise system made our nation great. Economic growth and the creation of wealth comes from businesses — small and large. Consumers shopping at Walmart get a bigger bang for the buck by being able to compare prices, quality and service to other stores.
It is time to allow Walmart the opportunity to compete in the New York City marketplace. For the “politically correct” don’t shop at Walmart, but give everyone else a choice.
Sincerely,
Larry Penner
Great Neck

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