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Your Views: Democrats are working for middle class
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In Sunday's Your Views letter, a gentleman commented that the Democrats in Washington were working against taxpayers, and made several other negative comments regarding Clinton, Obama and the Democratic Congress that I wanted to respond to and clarify at least some of the items mentioned.

The writer correctly stated that the Democratic Senate rejected a plan to extend the Bush tax cuts, but states that these tax cuts were for the middle class, which is obviously incorrect. The concentration of the Bush tax cuts are for the wealthy. Amazingly, over a 10-year period beginning in 2001, 52 percent of the total tax cuts would go to the top 1 percent of wage-earners. Tax cuts for those making less than $73,000 a year amount to an average of $350 per year or less.

If we have a Clinton or Obama administration with a Democratic Congress after the elections in November, we will see a fairer distribution of tax cuts to provide real benefits to the middle class. I do not believe that reducing the tax cuts on the top 10 percent of wage-earners and giving a more equitable distribution to middle class and low-income wage-earners amounts to giving the money to the scum who won't work for it, as the writer states.

The writer also mentioned how the Democrats will decimate our military. If our military is decimated, it is due to George W. Bush and his thoughtless invasion of Iraq. His continual rotation of regular military units along with Reserve and National Guard forces has put a severe strain on our military.

Bush continues to directly or indirectly link the war in Iraq to the war on terror, with no evidence to make that linkage. There was not, and is not today, any evidence that Iraq cooperated in or had any part in planning the terrorist attacks against the United States. There is certainly no evidence at all that there was any reason to invade Iraq based on concerns about terrorist activity against our country.

The writer also states that Democrats would allow us to be attacked time and time again without retaliation. What possible basis can there be for this statement?

Over the years, there have been a few fairly standard perceptions regarding the two political parties. For example, the Republicans are stronger in times of war and Democrats are stronger on economic issues. I believe we all need to step back from the traditional beliefs and take another look. I believe that the days of liberal and conservative labels needs to come to an end. We all need to look at issues on their merit, and individually.

In my opinion, Republicans used to stand for fiscal responsibility. Over the past 25 years, I think the evidence contradicts the perception. We cannot continue to cut taxes, particularly at higher income levels, while we spend into record deficit as we have done recently. That is fiscally irresponsible.

Finally, I think we all need to tone down the political rhetoric and listen openly to each other. As was stated by the keynote speaker at one of the conventions in 2004, we are not red states and blue states, we are the United States. I think we all need to keep that thought in mind now, and particularly after the election is over.

Steve Deming

Cities should not buy Venezuelan gasoline
This is in support of the letter by Phillip Stewart in The Times on March 12 concerning Venezuela gas purchases. I flatly refuse to buy anything from Citgo knowing dictator Hugo Chavez has strong feelings about his hatred for America.

Furthermore, if I ever see one of my city's vehicles filling up at one of his stations, I will be on the front row of the next city meeting demanding an explanation from my city government.

Lamar Wilbanks