Nation's tax rates should be equitable

Now that Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's stated ambition -- to prevent President Barack Obama from getting a second term -- has been thwarted by the will of the people, he should get down from his high horse and stop blaming the president for the inability of Congress to compromise or get anything done.

As a retired person living on a fixed income, who pays federal income tax at a higher rate than privileged multimillionaire Mitt Romney, it is essential that tax rates be raised on the superrich in order to restore equity to the system.

In addition to raising rates, there is plenty that can be done to eliminate unjustified tax loopholes. If Congress cannot agree to fix the inequities in the tax system, then I am all in favor of going over the fiscal cliff.

The fiscal cliff legislation is something that, wonder of wonders, Congress actually agreed on and voted for. Let's go over the cliff and let Congress work to correct its folly retroactively.

P.J. Langley

El Cerrito

Doctors are still the hub of health care

While I view Sandy Kleffman as one of the best writers at the Times, she missed the boat in a Nov. 21 story about purported shortages of doctors under the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

True, the ACA will add more than 30 million Americans, currently without health care insurance, into the formal delivery system. But the ACA seeks dramatic improvements to the ways we deliver our health care services. Hospitals and insurance companies are applauding implementation of the ACA.

Doctors should do so, as well. They will continue to be the hub of our medical-delivery system.

It's said that 80 percent of our health care costs come via directions from doctors: tests, references to specialists, follow-up procedures, etc.

But they need to look at increased efficiencies, improved models of service, and more use of medical clinics, nurse practitioners, online consultations and other breakthroughs in effectiveness and efficiencies. They need to move past their status-quo orientations.

The excellent book, "The End of Medicine," by Andy Kessler, is worth a look in this discussion.

George Fulmore

Concord

Writer is right about volunteer firefighters

Yes, yes, yes -- Sharon Bach is right (letter Nov. 11).

Volunteer firefighters will save fire district budgets, properties, taxpayers' pockets and fire stations from closure.

I'll be happy to serve 24 hours a week as a firefighter, without pay, at any location in our county.

Having some training in a rural fire station in the past, usually after six very busy days at home, I am ready to clean the dining room and floors after the professionals wash the fire engines, nap and watch TV for the remaining 22 hours.

I may be fortunate to have some excitement participating in fighting a fire, once a year.

However, I suspect, the professionals will jealously guard their privileges to six-digit pensions, objecting to it.

Yan Pawlak

Clayton

Voters made mistake on GMO foods issue

California, you don't know what you did! You had a chance to know if you were eating GMO foods by looking on the label. Now you will continue to eat the food with strange DNA not understood by your body.

Monsanto, and others, spent millions to sway your votes; you let them. You didn't study the issue on your own to make your vote count.

For years, these companies have been experimenting on us with this junk science, with no oversight.

Online there is a video, Genetic Roulette Movie at genticroulettemovie.com, by The Institute for Responsible Technology that lets you know the issue quite well. In detail. Watch the video and re-evaluate your vote ... too late.

Ruth Fontana

Concord

Bush's deceptions led to deaths of Americans

I am referring to Mike Harkleroad's Nov. 27 letter, "Impeachment of Obama must begin."

While Harkleroad apparently is working from a redacted fact sheet regarding Benghazi, one wonders if he led a call to impeach President George W. Bush. Bush really did lie, thousands of Americans died because of those lies, and well over 100,000 Iraqis.

Charles Locher

Richmond