Letters to the Editor

New Madrid fault, Syria, Obamacare

Updated: 2013-09-04T22:43:56Z

New Madrid fault

I like the old buildings. But the issue is the New Madrid fault.

We know the U.S. Geological Survey thinks a major earthquake may happen here. But neither we nor the agency really knows when.

It is in my California refugee thoughts. Should people here be going about retrofitting the old masonry buildings?

There was no U.S. Geological Survey when the New Madrid fault moved the last time. And it takes a movement to find additional faults that may be here.

If it moves at night, the deaths and injuries will be in the hundreds. But if occurs during the day, the number could be in the thousands.

And the city fathers want to build a new airport? That money must be spent downtown on the seismic retrofitting that should be done.

Nelson Duncan

Gladstone

U.S. and Syria

I listened to President Barack Obama’s address Saturday and was dismayed by the reason he spoke. I laud him for a job well done to present this dilemma to Congress before taking action.

On this same weekend, civil rights activists shared memories of the March on Washington. The unrest in our country about the Vietnam War was also mentioned.

The beatings, tear-gassing and incarceration by our government against its citizens during the civil rights movement and Vietnam War protests came to mind. I raise these questions:

• Had another country involved itself in our discord and conflict of government and protests at that time, how would we have reacted? What say today’s leaders with this shoe worn on the other foot?

• Will our involvement, if by only a missile strike, really make a difference? Will it stop the conflict or perpetuate it?

• How can we send any more American dollars overseas when we have our own wars to fight here, specifically against poverty and hunger?

I wish for solutions. U.S. involvement in the Syrian conflict will not create paths to peace but merely build more bridges for those angry with the United States.

Cynthia Myers

Belton

Sanchez column

We know that full-time work is the best way to escape poverty, and it is our goal to help people obtain jobs and provide for their families.

Mary Sanchez in her Aug. 29 column, “Kansas policies hurting families,” stated that reforms unfairly targeted mothers and their infants by increasing work requirements to receive assistance.

Although most moms would love to stay home with their children and get paid for it, that’s not the reality for the vast majority of women. Employers may offer maternity leave, but it is generally for no more than 12 weeks and is often not paid or is paid at a portion of the woman’s actual wages.

We are asking parents who receive day care assistance to work much less — 28 hours a week. And if you look at the income requirement, someone making more than $30,000 a year at a good job can still qualify for assistance.

According to a recent report, we still rank 22nd in the country when it comes to benefit packages.

If you factor in most Kansas welfare programs, a person can “make” more on welfare than working a full-time minimum wage job. This isn’t fair to the families that go to work every day.

Phyllis Gilmore

Secretary

Kansas Department

for Children and Families

Olathe

Obamacare for all

It sounds as if our Congress members and their staffers are attempting to get out of Obamacare because it does not exempt them. I thought it would cover everyone from the president on down.

They should come on down and see how the taxpayers live.

John Laird

Kansas City

Undermining Missouri

Supporters of HB 253, a misguided proposal to cut taxes in Missouri, either erroneously or disingenuously contend that it will help Missouri compete with other states. However, Missouri already has one of the country’s lowest effective tax rates, and more tax cuts would actually undermine our ability to compete.

State taxes are a small portion of the cost of doing business, which is why businesses routinely indicate that the quality of public schools, the efficiency of transportation systems and the availability of an educated and skilled workforce are more important factors when deciding where to locate or expand.

Unfortunately, with years of recent cuts, Missouri is already behind on these counts, and the $800 million proposed annual cost of the tax cut would push our state even further back by increasing class sizes and the cost of a college education.

Moreover, companies doing business in Missouri would have to spend more on educating and training workers, securing their workplaces and otherwise making up for the loss in basic public services.

Tax cuts won’t create jobs, but they will undermine our economy.

Neila Whitt

Lee’s Summit

KC Council seats

Several civic leaders recently told the Charter Review Commission that the current system for electing the Kansas City Council creates under-representation for African-American and Latino citizens.

Proportional representation for minority populations would be three to four African-American and one to two Latino council members.

Obviously, with no current Latino members, the current council under-represents the Latino community. However, that has not always been the case.

The African-American representation on the council is as close to proportional as possible. African-Americans currently hold 25 percent of council seats.

Add in the mayor, and African-Americans hold 31 percent of the top elected city officials, almost exactly the percentage of Kansas Citians who are African-American.

The charter commission may find that the current City Council structure needs to be changed for any number of reasons. But increasing minority representation is not one.

Steve Schutte

Kansas City

Raise minimum wage

In a petition supporting a bill to raise the minimum wage to $10.50, more than a 100 economists stated that the industry would see a 2.7 percent rise in costs.

My favorite chain, In-N-Out Burger, starts employees at $10.50 an hour, yet prices are competitive.

If minimum-wage workers want to make more money, they should go to college.

Look at tuition and student-loan situations. The costs are exorbitant, and how do people feed a family while they take on debt from going to college if they can get a loan?

The final point is that a small percentage of these workers already have degrees and even more have some college.

It’s popular for people to say that minimum-wage work is a starter job for teenagers. Again, not true. The majority of low-wage workers are ages 25 to 64.

If the minimum wage had been indexed for inflation, we wouldn’t be having this debate because the minimum wage would be well over poverty limits.

That job you had 10, 20 or more than 30 years ago paid better than $7.25 does today.

Lee McNew

Lee’s Summit

Mysterious money

With the current demonstrations going on with fast-food workers and minimum wage, I see a lot of heart but very little logic.

In The Star’s Sept. 2 editorial, “Low-wage workers have a just and necessary cause,” there is a complete lack of any economic sense.

The writer asserts that the McDonald’s restaurants CEO, who makes $13.8 million a year, could afford to pay his workers $10 or more an hour.

McDonald’s employs 1.7 million workers worldwide. Let’s say 250,000 of those are the low-wage variety, which is an absurdly low estimate.

So the CEO decides to give all his money to those workers. That’s about $55 for each of those 250,000 per year. For a full-time worker, that’s just under 2.8 cents an hour.

Everyone wants to raise the minimum wage, yet no one can say where the money will come from.

Josh Randel

Shawnee

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