- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 24, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Small business and health care

Monday’s editorial “Health care and the GOP” reiterates the importance of health care in this year’s presidential race and underscores the fact that the candidates are not doing enough to address the rising cost of health care.

Meaningful reform to address access and affordability simply can’t happen without small-business owners at the table.

Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and must be a central part of any solution to the health care crisis. With recent polling proving that small-business owners and employees make up such a large voter bloc this election season, the presidential candidates need to offer policy solutions that fully consider and account for small businesses.

According to recent National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) polling, 81 percent of small-business owners and 52 percent of small-business employees surveyed on Super Tuesday said the candidates have not sufficiently addressed the issues that are important to them, such as health care.

That’s why NFIB recently introduced 10 core principles of health reform as a way to help policy-makers incorporate the needs of small businesses in this debate.

Also, because health care reform is an issue that crosses the aisle, these core values are the starting point from which comprehensive approaches to health care should be explored by Democrats and Republicans.

NFIB is committed to being a catalyst for change and will engage this issue at every level to ensure that small-business owners and their employees have affordable options for health care because we know that when the system is fixed for small business, it will be fixed for America.

AMANDA AUSTIN

Senior manager of legislative affairs

National Federation of Independent Business

Washington

Two terms are enough

Doing away with the two-term limit for the presidency, as suggested Wednesday by Dan Thomasson (“End the two-term limit,” Commentary, Wednesday) is not a good idea.

One of the first objectives of a number of people I can think of would be the establishment of a mechanism virtually assuring a limitless number of re-elections. In fact, high but unwritten on several White House job descriptions or performance reviews would be the smooth running of that mechanism. The two-term limit was established for good reason.

Consider that lacking such limits, several silver-maned, silver-tongued senators have made the Senate their life’s work by relying on earmarks and the “mobocracy.” Why would Mr. Thomasson suppose someone would not do the same as president? He uses Bill Clinton as an example of someone who might. Might? Is he kidding?

Among other things, it is entirely possible that a single president could appoint every one of the Supreme Court justices. FDR appointed nine of them, and he would not have vacated the Oval Office until he was good and ready.

WILLIAM J. RICHARDSON

Virginia Beach

Kosovars are pro-American

I carefully read the Tuesday editorial “Europe’s new jihadist statelet?” and wanted to make a couple of points.

Kosovo’s population is not 90 percent Muslim but rather 90 percent ethnic Albanian. The ethnic Albanian people of Kosovo, who are secular Muslims and Christians, have lived harmoniously together without any religious problems, just like Albanians elsewhere in the Balkans. An indisputable fact that proves the Albanians’ religious tolerance is their role in saving Jews during World War II. Albania — as recognized recently by the Yad Vashem Museum in Jerusalem and the Albanian “Besa” exhibit at the United Nations on the international Holocaust Memorial Day (Jan. 27) — was the only country in Europe that had more Jews after World War II than before it.

As for the prospects for the economic development of Kosovo, they are promising. Kosovo is poor — it has had no access to major international financial institutions (such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund) and could not attract major foreign direct investment (FDI), mainly because it lacked final status. With independence recognized by most of the world’s powers (such as the United States, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, etc.) Kosovo’s door to international financial instruments and FDI will be wide open. Also, given its mineral riches and the youngest population in Europe, Kosovo most likely will be able to see an important economic boom in the near future.

Finally, a point your readers and the general American public should keep in mind is the long friendship and admiration of Kosovar Albanians for the American people. Recall September 11? When Serbs in Belgrade were dancing in the streets, Albanians in Kosovo were lighting candles and sharing the pain of the tragedy. They are the most pro-American people in the Balkans for sure. America needs friends in Europe and elsewhere. Kosovo will continue to be one of America’s best friends, and the principles of American democracy, freedom and equality will be forever respected, nurtured and cherished.

Faton Tony Bislimi

Lecturer of economics

Victory University College

Pristina, Kosovo

Tamil victims in Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan Ambassador Bernard Goonetilleke cites a few Sri Lankan court cases to create the illusion that justice prevails in Sri Lanka (“Tamil homeland fantasy,” Commentary, Sunday). Noticeably, cases like that of Kirishanthy Kumarasamy are absent from Mr. Goonetilleke’s list. Kirishanthy was an 11th-grade Tamil schoolgirl who was abducted by the Sri Lankan State Army, gang-raped and buried in one of the many Tamil mass graves. Kirishanthy’s mother, brother and a neighbor who subsequently went looking for Kirishanthy also ended up in mass graves.

Mr. Goonetilleke argues that because Tamil people live and work among the Sinhalese in the south, the Tamil claim of state-sponsored oppression is a lie. What the ambassador conveniently forgets is that these risk-taking Tamils fell victim to the repeated state-sponsored pogroms of 1956, 1957, 1977 and 1983. There are Americans who risk their lives to find employment in Iraq and Afghanistan. Does this mean those American workers think Iraq and Afghanistan are better democracies than the United States? People have worked under risky conditions since the beginning of civilization. The ambassador shows how desperate he is for examples to establish his fiction of “Sri Lankan democracy.”

In Sri Lanka, being born a Tamil is reason enough to get thrown into one of the cruelest prisons of the world — Welikada. It was in this prison, during the 1983 state-sponsored pogrom, that Tamil detainees faced the inhumane fate of having their eyes plucked out by mercenaries. Twenty-five years later, not much has changed. Yet when the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, visited Sri Lanka on a fact-finding mission, the state denied the commissioner access to the prison. She was denied the opportunity even to meet freely with regular Tamil civilians. Does the ambassador believe these actions of the state are telltale signs of an enviable democracy?

The Tamil struggle for independence is not driven by ideologies, nor it is about re-establishing past glories. On the contrary, it is about survival. Whether the ambassador admits it or not, there is ample evidence why the Tamils cannot continue to coexist with the Sinhalese. No one in his right mind could expect Tamils to remain sitting ducks at the mercy of the Sri Lankan state. Secession was the last resort for Tamils and the reasons only become stronger by the day.

SATHEESH THADCHANAMOORTHY

Markham, Ontario


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