ISSUE | PARTISANSHIP

No monopoly on 'no'

E.J. Dionne seems to have forgotten how saying no can work both ways, as in the case of former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The Democrat did not allow bills that originated with Republicans to get to the Senate floor ("How far can GOP go on 'no'?" March 3). That includes many bills that originated with members of both parties working together. Saying no is a two-way street.

Are the Republicans the party of no, or can the Democrats proudly be part of that club as well? Any honest person will say members of both parties are a self-serving disgrace.

|George R. Kawchak Jr., Phoenixville

ISSUE | PAPAL VISIT

Summit leadership

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput deserves high praise for the work required to secure Pope Francis' visit to Philadelphia in September. The World Meeting of Familes is no small endeavor, and it puts the region and archdiocese squarely in the world's spotlight. Chaput gets the lion's share of the credit for making it happen, and he needs our prayers to make it work.

|Charles Martini Sr., Concerned Catholics of the Philadelphia Archdiocese, Media

ISSUE | GEN. PETREAUS

Easy on the brass

Being a former four-star general does not absolve David Petreaus of his mishandling of sensitive classified materials that jeopardized brave men and women who protect our country ("Petraeus reaches plea deal in leaks case," March 4). It is a mockery of justice to impose probation and a $40,000 fine for Petreaus' harmful actions. We should hold public officials to much higher standards.

|Jaime Klinger, Philadelphia

ISSUE | TALE OF TWO BUDGETS

State can't ignore its pension problem

As an independent who voted for Gov. Wolf, I was appalled by his budget proposal ("Wolf's bold $30B budget," March 4). He proposes raising income and sales taxes, but - don't worry, he says - real estate taxes will go down. I wouldn't bet on it.

Meanwhile, Wolf did not address the huge, unfunded pension liability. If not addressed soon, it will bankrupt the state and cause real estate taxes to rise exponentially, driving many from their homes.

|John A. Quatrini, Hatboro

Critics need to offer an alternative

Bravo to Gov. Wolf for putting forth clear, doable budget ideas ("Serious money," March 4). Of course, there will be challenges and different ideas - as there should be. But boo to the knee-jerk responses of Republicans whose only mantra is to call for tax cuts.

|Judy Hartl, Philadelphia

Business principles seem lacking

As a small-business owner, I can't simply raise my prices, because I would lose customers. After seeing the budget Gov. Wolf proposed, I have a hard time believing he is a businessman. In reality, he's a salesman - and Pennsylvanians have been sold a bill of goods.

|Phil Chant, New Britain

Mayor's aid to schools gives teachers a pass

I didn't expect Mayor Nutter's recent property-tax reform to last very long, but in his proposed 9.3 percent tax hike for schools, did I miss something ("Start with Nutter's idea," March 6)? This seems to give the teachers' union a pass on making any reasonable concessions to help abate the schools' fiscal crisis.

|Matthew Augustine, Philadelphia, mjmrex@aol.com

ISSUE | OBAMACARE CHALLENGE

Health law under attack is a life-saver

I have followed with trepidation the path of the Affordable Care Act to the Supreme Court and feel compelled to write in defense of the law - since it saved my life ("Round 3 for Obamacare," March 5).

I am a small-business owner, a sole proprietor, and, unfortunately, a breast cancer survivor. I say unfortunately because I had been unable to afford health insurance due to that diagnosis. (My cancer was found when I had a regular job with benefits.) My insurance would have cost the same as my mortgage, which was no easy stretch with a fledgling business.

When Obamacare was enacted, I signed up. A subsequent medical exam covered by that insurance revealed early-stage melanoma. Today, I am grateful to be alive and for the availability of affordable insurance. I can sleep at night knowing that, if the melanoma recurs, I am covered.

I can only hope that the Supreme Court will uphold the law. I am alive to tell my tale, and I want to stay that way.

|Peggy Fagan, Ottsville, pegthechef@gmail.com