Jobs, jobs, jobs. It’s time for legislators to promote jobs that pay above-average wages, to protect workers’ rights and increase minimum wage to livable wages.
They need to protect the workers’ rights to organize and collective bargaining.
Over the years, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce along with some (not all) business leaders and mostly Republican legislators have fought minimum-wage increases, workers’ rights, safety, collective bargaining and union organizing — things that help workers increase their standard of living.
And that is a big reason the federal and state governments are having financial difficulties. As they have taken away workers’ rights and protections, workers have been forced to work for less pay and benefits.
Less pay equals less tax revenue, therefore financial difficulties for all, including workers and the government.
If you want lower standards of living, support Republican initiatives of right to work and deregulation.
Right to work means I can undercut your wages and someone else can cut mine until no one but the wage-payer benefits, and we become slaves to ourselves. Therefore, support legislation and legislators that support workers.
Your front-page Sunday article, “Voila, smaller government,” on the state of Kansas under Gov. Sam Brownback was an excellent piece.
For the national Republican Party, Kansas is now an experiment in action, using all of the policies that they hoped to introduce nationally if Gov. Mitt Romney had been elected president of the United States.
If Kansas is successful with this program, I will definitely vote Republican in four years, as who can resist lower taxes and no deficit.
However, if the experiment does not work, I will be glad that I am a resident of Missouri.
Bust of Limbaugh
The Star recently reported on Democrats in Missouri who are frustrated that a bust of Rush Limbaugh remains in the Hall of Famous Missourians at the state’s Capitol (12-25, A4, “Limbaugh statue sparks Democratic infighting”). I rarely, if ever, agree with Mr. Limbaugh, but if his bust remaining in the Hall of Famous Missourians is a problem, then life in the Show-Me State is pretty good.
Re-educating the GOP
Perhaps in the next two years Republicans could, without cameras or fanfare, do the following:
• Instead of condemning Planned Parenthood, they should spend perhaps a day or two actually seeing how this organization operates, speaking to the workers and people. Take time to hear their story.
• Visit a domestic violence shelter and speak to the counselors and victims if they are willing.
Visit a rape crisis center. Speak with the victims. This might help Republicans understand just how serious and personal this issue is.
• Seek out social workers. Contact the National Association of Social Workers in their state.
We are a voice for many. We work with “regular” people each and every day. We know the stories.
It is not the intent to convert Republicans, but if they are educated on the issues, they’d be better able to present accurate information to others in the party and not just make stuff up, which in this world of technology is very difficult to do.
Improve police tactics
In reference to your Dec. 23 front-page article, “Making their cases,” the photo shows two police detectives talking to the mother of a victim, attempting to obtain information.
I have two suggestions for the detectives:
• Remove the intimidating sunglasses and make eye contact with these people.
• Lose the negative body language (arms crossed).
These tactics are best left to suspects, not to the people whose trust you are trying to win. The public is intimidated enough by the badges.
There’s no need for further alienation.
E. Thomas McClanahan (12-30, “How an anti-redlining law fed the housing bubble”) states the Community Reinvestment Act increased risky lending. That may be true.
But there’s no evidence that it contributed to the fraud that mortgage originators like Countrywide systematically perpetrated or the hidden and inflated fees they charged their less wealthy clients.
There’s no indication that the Community Reinvestment Act influenced the ethically challenged titans of Wall Street when they misrepresented those sliced-and-diced mortgages to investors, knowing those investments would eventually tank.
Yet McClanahan’s column mentions none of these direct causes of Wall Street’s financial collapse, preferring that we take away the implication that the federal government’s weak attempt to increase home ownership among those in poorer neighborhoods caused the mortgage crisis and the financial meltdown of leading Wall Street firms.
McClanahan ends his column hoping that Rep. Emanuel Cleaver will look at the study cited throughout the column. I find myself wishing (without much hope) that McClanahan will read anything about the financial collapse that doesn’t already match his well-established biases.
He could start with “Bull by the Horns,” a book by fellow Republican Sheila Bair, former head of the FDIC under President George W. Bush.
Feeding rich’s greed
Give me a break. Some chief executives are saying that the fiscal cliff threat was to blame for their lack of investment and hiring.
That’s because the top marginal tax rate is heading back to 39 percent from the current 35 percent.
The top marginal rate was 90 percent when Dwight Eisenhower was president. We have lowered it by 55 percentage points since then.
In that period, we allowed fortunes to be kept. Let me repeat that. We allowed fortunes to be kept because we didn’t tax that money.
So what have the titans done with our largesse?
Well, they bought a significant block of legislators.
They created a bunch of think tanks whose jobs it was to figure out how to sell snow to Eskimos.
They bought one state, Kansas, and they have a bid in on Wisconsin.
And all of that because we let them keep the excess between 35 percent and 90 percent.
They must think we are stupid.
Before we rush to judgment about communication breakdowns with the ongoing crisis in Libya, let us not forget New Orleans.
How long did it take to get accurate information from state, local and federal sources about what was really happening during Hurricane Katrina?
Gun rights opponents
Is it ironically absurd that the strongest voices for regulating gun ownership through myriad hoops, including photo identification, copious background checks and waiting periods — and don’t get me wrong, these are good things — are equally strong in their opposition to voter registration requirements calling for at a minimum an official photo identification?
Richard F. Thomas Jr.
Blessed good life
I consider myself an average American woman, but I could always afford gas. I didn’t work outside the home until my youngest child was a junior in high school, so I never had to worry about day care.
I have always been able to call the repairman when my washing machine broke down, so I didn’t have to go to the Laundromat. I have always been able to pay my rent or house payment.
I have always been able to pay all my utility bills on time. I have never worried about losing health insurance.
I have always been able to buy medicine for my boys and buy them shoes. I have never canceled a vacation because I needed car repairs or had a leaky roof.
I have never had to stretch a pound of hamburger to feed six people.
I never thought about it before, but I guess I really do lead a fairy-tale life.
Virtues in movies
I watched Hallmark ’s Hall of Fame recently, and sure it was a little sappy, but that’s the kind of television/movies I grew up watching. I learned to emulate that kind of life.
Unfortunately for the young people of today, most television/movies are violent, perverse or laden with sex. Many of our young people think of this as the norm.
I wish Hollywood, the media and professional athletes who should be setting good examples for our youth would quit thinking of the almighty dollar and consider how they are affecting this generation.
I realize there are decent individuals in all of these venues, and I applaud them.
Kaaren M. Jones