(PNI) The news media and the Democratic Party have done an excellent job portraying the Republicans and especially the "tea party" conservatives as being stingy and selfish. The tea party's main goal is for the federal government to start acting fiscally responsible. We spend too much on welfare. We were a stronger country back in the early 1960s before welfare got out of control with LBJ's Great Society program. Social Security funds were spent in the 1960s and both parties pushed program expansions over the years to make it unsustainable for the long run. The tea party does not want to end Social Security. It wants the program to operate more fiscally responsibly so it lasts longer for those who really need it. Tea-party conservatives are willing to make sacrifices for future fiscal success. They do not want to defund the $1.7trillion "Obamacare" and throw grandma off the cliff. They want a health-care program that actually works for grandma -- not a train wreck that is now on the horizon.--KEN WADE, ScottsdaleARIZ. ATTITUDES NEED TO CHANGEThe Republic editorial board's "New Arizona" series has some surprising revelations. We border Mexico. We live in a desert (Arid Zone-a). We have industries that depend on dry, clear skies, warm weather and federal government spending including aerospace/military, agriculture/ranching, hospitality/tourism, retirement living and health care. We have a long history of actively offending our Mexican neighbors and local Latinos. Most of our leaders don't accept the reality of climate change and our special desert vulnerability. Our support for education ranks near the bottom both financially and intellectually as we parasitize other states for much of our educated workforce. Transportation is limited pretty much to more freeways. Even to provide basic health care requires semi-heroic efforts to accept billions of federal dollars. Until these attitudes change, New Arizona, same as Old Arizona.--ANDREW MARCH, PhoenixSECURE BORDER IS HUMANE BORDERI completely agree with the premise in the editorial "Put humanity in border policy" (Opinions, Tuesday). I couldn't disagree more with the incorrect statement, "Enforcement alone doesn't work. It kills." The opposite is true: The tighter the border, the less chance you have of someone being able to cross it and endangering themselves. A secure border is a humane border, one which we obviously don't have yet or we wouldn't have more than 11million people in the U.S. currently seeking a solution for their illegal-immigrant status.--RUSTY CHILDRESS, PhoenixGUN VIOLENCE IS THE NEW NORMALThe latest shooting spree in Chicago drives home one chilling point: As long as we, as a country, embrace our firearms and neglect the sad state of mental-health care, refusing to do anything about either issue, then we should not be surprised to see more incidents of mass murder. The hysterical news reporting and anguished hand-wringing can stop; it will have become as commonplace as the tens of thousands of gun-related homicides and suicides that occur every year in this country. So, if we're not going to do anything about it, then we're just going to have to get used to it. What a sick thought.--ED COLEMAN, TempeHEALTH INSURANCE NOT IN BUDGETIt looks like I'll be one of those who will be fined for not having health insurance. I can barely pay my expenses. I don't get assistance with food nor do I have a cellphone. I live with antenna TV. I cook all meals at home and don't go to movies. I have Internet service for bill pay instead of paying for checks and stamps. I make less than $1,500 a month, but I make it work. I'm on the verge of becoming a vegetarian because of meat prices. The expense of health care isn't in my budget, and I don't expect the taxpayers to pay for me to have AHCCCS. I go to the store and get what's cheap and stand in line behind someone that has every form of welfare known and has a hair weave and manicure. Not to mention the designer clothes.Mr. President, if you fine me, I have no choice but to steal a shopping cart to live out of.--MERRY LINDQUIST, GlendaleDODGERS DESERVED POOL TIMEA note to the Arizona Diamondbacks:The No.1 way to keep the L.A. Dodgers out of your pool -- win the final game. I lost a little respect for my D-Backs hearing them complain about the Dodgers celebrating their division championship by jumping into our pool -- by the way, in basically an empty stadium when there were no fans or D-Back players around. What's that saying from "Field of Dreams"? To paraphrase, if you build it, they will come. Well, what do you expect if you want to have a clever marketing idea by putting a pool in your stadium?--MICHAEL SHOFF, GilbertCopyright 2013 The Arizona Republic|azcentral.com. All rights reserved.For more information about reprints & permissions, visit our FAQ's. To report corrections and clarifications, contact Standards Editor BRENT JONES. For publication consideration in the newspaper, send comments to email@example.com. Include name, phone number, city and state for verification. To view our corrections, go to corrections.usatoday.com.