Your View: Industry incentives lead to bad politics

Oct. 07, 2013 @ 07:27 PM

A few weeks ago, every news station in the state carried pictures of Gov. McCrory and officials of Strum Ruger congratulating.  The problem was our governor had just paid what I’d call a bribe of $9.5 million using taxpayer money to get this company to come to North Carolina. Oh, they call it an incentive, but make no mistake, it is a bribe and down the road the governor gets political contributions from these executives.
It is clear we need laws to make it illegal for companies to require bribes like these from public officials just like when we outlawed companies giving bribes to public officials.  Strum Ruger’s profits are already up 79 percent. Incentives impede the free market, so what happened to the governor’s and GOP’s free market stance?
The GOP Legislature gave the governor the right to increase his cabinet’s pay.  In January, he increased their pay as much as $13,200 to a $135,000 salary. When asked why an 11 percent increase, he said the cabinet members could not afford to live on the $122,000 the Democrats paid!  This from a governor who ran on a campaign pledge of fiscal restraint and who praised cutting weekly unemployment payments from $535 to $350 saying the cuts would help small business and create jobs.  However, the governor had no words about how these people were to live given his statement that his cabinet could not live off more than $2,300 a week!
I am sure the governor also expects his cabinet to kick back some of this increase pay to him through political contributions.
TOM TAYDUS
High Point

City did great job on Westchester resurfacing
I would like to convey to the High Point Transportation Department my sincere thanks for the great job they did in resurfacing Westchester Drive. The resurfacing and the street markings reflect the city’s excellence in performance.
They deserve our applause!
DAVID KEITH
High Point

Save money elsewhere; don’t cut Medicare
Congress should pass prescription drug bills held up in committees. Why are they talking about Medicare cuts when over the next decade billions can be saved in three areas:
• Bid on Medicare drugs like the VA does
• Import and re-import safe prescription drugs
• Ban ‘Pay for Delay’ of generic drugs
There is bi-partisan support in Congress to do so, despite campaign donations and 1,000 pharmaceutical lobbyists. Eight bills introduced by this Congress, and one from the last session cover this issue. Here are some of those bills:
• The Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act of 2013 - S.117 and H.R.1102     directs Health and Human Services to negotiate prices charged to Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage. This means more affordable prescription drugs for seniors and saves Medicare up to $156 billion over 10 years.
• The Preserve Access to Affordable Generics Act -S.214 stops brand name drug firms from using pay-for-delay to keep generic equivalents off the market. (A similar bill, S.504 is co-sponsored by Sens. Al Franken and David Vitter. It’s good to see bipartisan effort.)
• Re-introduction of S-319 (112th) allows for importing and re-importing of safe, low priced prescription drugs from countries approved by the FDA. This allows Americans access to drugs from those countries that are 35-55 percent lower than in the U.S.
These bills should be addressed BEFORE cuts to Medicare are discussed. These bills are deficit-neutral and offer better savings to the government. Surely even our polarized do-nothing Congress can agree on passing such legislation. It would be nice to see Rep. Virginia Foxx and other N.C. members of Congress support such legislation and get something meaningful done.
CINDY DUNNE
Walnut Cove