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In her April 30 column, it took Jennifer Rubin almost three-quarters of a page to explain “Why the GOP must get over Reagan.” The simple answer is because President Ronald Reagan still bugs the hell out of liberals and RINOs (Republicans in name only). I’m not sure which group the columnist belongs in but her dismissal of him as “a genial, optimistic president who stood up for America in the Cold War” [in the eyes of those current Republicans who came of age politically after Reagan’s eight years in office] is, perhaps, a hint. Obviously, Stars and Stripes editors seem to share her views or, at least, believe they are worthy of a lot of space.

Rubin both describes the generation born since the Reagan presidency as completely ignorant of what was accomplished during that presidency and as “a diverse, media-savvy generation.” The latter refers, I suppose, to its members being the dupes of the mainstream media and its progressive bias. I don’t agree with her perception of that generation.

Rubin tries to make the point that the apparent accomplishment during the Reagan administration may have had something to do with Reagan’s philosophy at that time but would be entirely inappropriate today when the conditions are entirely different. Of course, some details are different but in one essential detail they are quite similar, i.e., the country is in severe straits now as then due to the excesses of liberalism. This is one area that President Barack Obama could legitimately blame in part on the George W. Bush administration.

I might compare such a situation to a patient with late-stage cancer. With cancer, chemotherapy may be the only hope — whereas the only hope for America then was (and now is) a return to conservative principles. Both approaches make the situation worse at first. Both unemployment and the economy worsened during the first two years of the Reagan administration and seats were lost in the House of Representatives during the midterm elections. But then the economy took off like a rocket and Reagan was re-elected in a landslide. Likewise, cancer patients on chemotherapy are miserable, but they endure this discomfort in hopes of beating the disease.

There may not be an electable Republican who is sufficiently conservative to do what needs to be done and, if such a person were elected president along with a GOP-controlled Congress, the economy in general and unemployment in particular would surely worsen in the beginning and, unless a strong recovery were evident at the 18-month point, the GOP would probably lose their majorities in Congress in the following election. It’s easier to predict who would be the winner in a contest between liberal and liberal-lite.

By the way, the implosion of the Soviet Union and the favorable end to the Cold War as a result of Reagan policies is a bit more than “standing up for America.”

Frank Leitnaker

Miesau, Germany

Must keep housing allowance

A recently completed living quarters allowance audit discovered more than 500 government employees throughout Europe and the Pacific were paid LQA erroneously. Some were given a year to make other arrangements and some were not. Leaders quoted in the May 3 Stars and Stripes article “DOD civilians told to pay back housing costs” seemed sympathetic and I believe most will agree this isn’t right.

Perhaps it isn’t so much the obvious widespread misinterpretation of the rules that is the problem, but the rules themselves. Civilians in other high-cost areas in the U.S. do not get a housing allowance. They do get a significant cost-of-living adjustment — in some places as much as 25 percent (or more) of their annual salary. Why isn’t this done overseas? And for that matter why are we following State Department regulations when Defense Department officials are capable of writing their own?

Doing away with LQA altogether would have prevented this mishap and yet quality people could be still recruited if there was an offset to help them and their families acquire affordable housing. I am a midlevel general schedule (GS) employee and the rent on my modest apartment in Seoul, South Korea, is almost exactly equal to my take-home pay. There is no way I can afford to work here without assistance from the government. It is a fact, not a benefit.

Gary Jones

U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan, South Korea


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