Democrats need to show courage

The GOP has taken its hostility to common sense to its ultimate end ("GOP warns: Tax cuts, or else," Thursday). They will shut down the federal government if that's what it takes to let the super-wealthy pay a ridiculously low tax rate.

I am not a Democrat and consider most of what the Pelosi/Reid tag team has done in the past two years foolish at best, but the Republican Party line is far more dangerous to America. It would be far better, and far more in keeping with the democratic "ethos," to simply let the entire Bush tax package expire than to cave in to the demands of the GOP. While integrity is exceedingly rare in politics, one does hope that there is some small shred of integrity left in Washington and Democrats will have the moral courage to practice what they preach.

To quote a long-dead man so many claim to follow: "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?"

Donald W. Hiorth

Phoenixville

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Headline shows Inquirer's bias

The headline "GOP warns: Tax cuts, or else" (Thursday) clearly shows your bias and foreshadows your coverage of the next Republican-led House. An objective reading of the article could have easily resulted in this headline: "GOP's first priority: Vote on tax-cut extension" or "GOP's first order of business: Tax-cut extension." Fairness also would have supported this headline: "GOP and Dems differ on priorities in lame-duck session." Your headline suggests you will be rolling out the standard liberal-leaning media template in 2011 and 2012 news coverage that Republicans are "mean and evil" or "dumb and unsophisticated." Just stick with the straight facts and news. We are capable of forming our own opinions.

Jeffrey G. Trauger

Perkasie

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On START treaty, time for leadership

Contrary to Charles Krauthammer's rantings ("Nuclear treaty is irrelevant," Monday), if we don't get serious about eliminating nuclear weapons, high unemployment, a weak economy, and tax rates are the issues that will become irrelevant.

Nuclear weapons and human fallibility can only lead down one road. Our time calls for leaders, not naysayers. The United States is in a position to lead by slowly backing away from the precipice through treaties, outreach, negotiations, detailed understanding of foreign cultures, and promoting policies that are global rather than national. This world is too small for any less.

John J. Donnelly IV

Haddon Township

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Embarrass cigarette sellers

As a pediatrician, I spend every working day trying to prevent my patients from smoking. Cigarettes are the number-one cause of preventable illness and death in our country.

The article "Phila. is No. 1 in youth smoking" (Thursday) details how fines do not deter retailers from selling cigarettes to our children. I'll bet a big dose of corporate embarrassment/exposure would do the trick. The city should publicize the names of retailers who sell to children. Better yet, film the underage purchasers buying the cigarettes and put the footage on the nightly news and the Internet. Corporations will not be able to handle that negative corporate publicity and will change their ways.

Being exposed publicly for selling deadly, addicting items to children is bad public relations.

Dr. Kevin Browngoehl

Drexel Hill Pediatric Associates

Drexel Hill

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City competing with retailers

The question isn't whether to call it

Christmas

or

holiday

, but why do we even have a village on public property competing with merchants and businesses struggling to stay alive during this terrible economic time ("Nutter says market will get its name back," Thursday)?

Retailers who pay their share of taxes year-round - including real estate, gross receipts, special service district, and wage taxes - now face extra competition during the season when they often recoup losses for the rest of the year. More empty storefronts don't just hurt property owners who can't rent retail space, but also industries such as restaurants, couriers, rail and local transportation operators, and others.

The mayor and City Council members should support shops owned and/or operated by the very people who pay their salaries.

Harriet Lessy

Philadelphia