Former enlisted man best choice to run Pentagon

Re: "Another GOP senator backs Hagel for defense post," Feb. 2

I am so happy that President Obama has nominated Chuck Hagel as his defense secretary. This former enlisted man will know when to send our young people into war, unlike former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, who pushed for the Vietnam war, which wound up costing us over 50,000 dead and many thousands more wounded.

I was a young Army draftee in 1965. Several years ago, McNamara admitted in an interview that "it was all a mistake." To that I would have liked to tell McNamara: "Tell that to the parents of those dead soldiers."

Chunk Hagel does not need the job. The American people need Chuck Hagel.

-- Jack Donner


Sequestration cuts will increase long-term growth

Re: "Drop in GDP a preview for area," Jan. 31

This articlefalsely claims that the U.S. economy shrank in the last quarter of 2012 due to a "plunge in defense spending." The real reason the economy shrank was because many costly new regulations will soon go into effect.

Government spending actually rose to $908 billion last quarter, up from $810 billion in the previous quarter, according to the Treasury Department's own quarterly-outlay figures. While defense spending did fall, that was more than offset by increased spending on other programs.

If government spending actually created jobs, the economy would have grown instead of shrunk.In the long run, government spending wipes out jobs rather than creating them.

A November 2012 Congressional Budget Office report says that the automatic budget cuts contained in the sequestration will increase economic growth in the long term, while temporarily cutting it in the short term.

-- Hans Bader

Competitive Enterprise Institute


State senator flip-flops on meals tax

As a strong opponent of regressive taxation, I find it very unfortunate that Virginia state Sen. Mark Herring, D-Leesburg, completely reversed himself on the issue of a meals tax.

On January 5, 2012, Sen. Herring issued a press statement on his website condemning the Loudoun Board of Supervisors' request that our delegation to the General Assembly seek legislation granting the board authority to impose a meals tax. It was a shrewd political move that fed his image as a moderate Democrat. As one of his constituents, I was glad my state senator appeared to be a reliable opponent of a meals tax.

However, Sen. Herring had a change of heart on this issue a little over a year later.

The purpose of SB 1311, which passed the state Senate on a 27-17 vote, is to give local governments the authority to impose a meals tax. Sen. Herring was one of 27 senators who voted to impose a regressive tax he once opposed, and even attacked Loudoun supervisors for supporting. Yet this year he did exactly what he said he would not do last year.

Sen. Herring is now a candidate for attorney general. The job requires a steadfast commitment to not only enforcing the law, but to maintaining one's convictions in the face of political pressure. But Sen. Herring's flip-flop shows that he prioritizes politics over principle.

-- John Whitbeck