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Oklahoma Gazette provides an open forum for the discussion of all points of view in its Letters to the Editor section. The Gazette reserves the right to edit letters for length and clarity. Letters can be mailed, faxed, emailed to pbacharach@okgazette. com or sent online at, but include a city of residence and contact number for verification.

New thinking needed

Reluctantly, I listened to the majority of Gov. Mary Fallin’s opening State of the State address to both houses of the Oklahoma Legislature. It was not easy, but I tried very hard to hear something to “hang my hat on” — nada, zip.

When will the state of Oklahoma decide to do itself a service and stop electing the kinds of folks who cause young people to flee the state as soon as they are able to do so? Each May, you hear this great whooshing sound of all the bright graduates racing out of the state to make their way in a world that is more welcoming, advanced and equality-minded and has things to do other than sports.

And I daresay moving up from 47th to 43rd in the physical health of its population isn’t anything to brag about.

Apparently, the governor has forgotten the number of states there are in the U.S. Being 43rd means Oklahoma is merely seven points from the bottom in terms of the health of its citizens. Guess she forgot there are 50 states and Washington, D.C., plus the protectorate of Puerto Rico.

Why can’t the citizenry of Oklahoma comprehend the simple concept, “If you want to change your life, change your thinking?” Young people grasp this concept and run with it, literally.

—Dr. Terri L. Miller-Simms Oklahoma City

What about the public good?

How did America become a nation with 440 billionaires politically concerned mostly with tax cuts allowing them to keep or increase their wealth? What happened to valuing the public good and social responsibility, the principle that all of us, especially the fortunate, should contribute to a society supporting everyone’s possibilities for education, opportunity, access to some kind of health care, a better life for themselves and their families?

Corporate executives were once proud that their enterprises produced jobs and wages for employees as well as products and services. Today, the system seems to consider labor a commodity to be purchased at the lowest price. And whereas CEOs once averaged salaries equal to 60 times what their hourly workers made, today’s CEOs commonly earn 300 to 500 times what hourly workers take home. Many see truth in the Occupy Wall Street assertion that our economic system pits the interests of the 1 percent against the 99 percent.

How did conservatism come to mean dismantling regulations protecting workers, compromising regulations of banking and finance that prohibited casino risk-taking with other people’s money, reversing regulations suggesting that corporations should be responsible for their hazardous wastes and pollution? Corporations seem to oppose any regulations affecting profits.

Henry Ford knew that workers need income to buy the products they make. Franklin Roosevelt knew that federal investment in infrastructure created jobs and built things needed, which paid dividends long after the debts incurred had been retired. When the middle class is employed, their spending lifts the whole economy.

The billions languishing at the top produce few jobs. Oklahoma City’s miracle resulted from investment in infrastructure. This is no time to cut taxes but rather to invest in building our society.

—Nathaniel Batchelder Oklahoma City

Opinions expressed on the commentary page, in letters to the
editor and elsewhere in this newspaper are those of the author and do
not necessarily reflect the opinions of ownership or management.

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