Political third rail
Members of the Missouri Alliance for Retired Americans watched President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address this week and were relieved that the president did not mention support for cuts to earned Social Security benefits or any cuts to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid.
The president has stood strong in stopping attempts to raise Medicare’s eligibility age, and he has also stopped attempts to block grant Medicaid.
However, retirees wanted to see plans to close loopholes for the wealthiest Americans and corporations. Companies such as General Electric will continue to avoid paying their share of taxes without changes on multiple fronts.
We applaud the president’s efforts to attack income inequality with an initiative to raise the minimum wage and a renewed effort to extend benefits for the long-term unemployed. These are two major steps in helping to move our working families forward.
David R. Meinell
St. Charles, Mo.
Greater KC woes
Jim Heeter, president of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, states that many members of the chamber favor spending $1.2 billion for a more modern airport to project a dynamic, innovative, 21st-century city (1-29, A1, “Business leaders decry ‘little league’ KCI”).
Really? Kansas City International Airport is what’s strongly affecting the city’s image?
I guess homelessness and poverty, the unaccredited Kansas City Public Schools and crumbling bridges and roads play no part in the city’s image compared with the number of restaurants and the strength of the Wi-Fi signal at our airport.
Don’t blame Obama
In reading Daniel Willingham’s Jan. 29 commentary, “Revealing real income inequality,” I found some of his ideas worthwhile and constructive. However, his placing all of the blame on the president for not implementing or bringing forth these possible remedies is incredibly misdirected and, at the very least, naïve.
On a number of occasions, President Barack Obama has suggested similar approaches and even suggested legislation that would address Mr. Willingham’s concerns, but such legislative remedies when sent to Congress were dead on arrival.
Perhaps Mr. Willingham has forgotten that from the start of Mr. Obama’s presidency the Republicans have publicly stated that their mission was to destroy this president no matter the consequences to the nation.
Case in point, Sen. Mitch McConnell bragged after the first few days of Mr. Obama’s presidency that the Republicans would make him a one-term president.
Thus, I would suggest to Mr. Willingham that if he is truly serious about helping find remedies to our long-term unemployment problem, he should call his Republican friends and tell them to stop playing games with the fiscal health of this nation and work with the president to find solutions.
Blaming solves nothing.
In a Jan. 16 editorial, “Troublesome charter changes,” encouraging the City Council to place several proposed charter amendments on the April 8 ballot as separate questions, The Star described the proposal to allow the mayor to fire the city manager as a “minor attempt to give the mayor’s position more power.”
Regardless of the merits of this proposal, The Star’s assessment of its effect was way off the mark. This change would have fundamentally altered the council’s role in overseeing the city manager. It would have been a hugely important change to how this government functions and, for better or worse, would have effectively meant the end of its council-manager structure.
Ultimately, the City Council chose to not place this proposal on the ballot. But no one should have the impression that empowering the mayor to fire the city manager would have been a minor change.
Jered B. Carr, Ph.D.
of Urban Affairs
of Public Affairs
Henry W. Bloch
School of Management
University of Missouri
Sebelius must go
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius should be held accountable for the Affordable Care Act mess. The dream of President Barack Obama is ruined, and had she spent half the time she spent trying to get abortion covered, we Catholics might be pacified.
She has ignored the constituency of Obama and fully deserves to be sacked. And pronto.
Kudos to The Star
The Kansas City Star website is excellent. It has an attractive and inviting layout, and easy navigation makes it fun to “thumb” through each issue.
I am an E-Star-only subscriber and have thoroughly enjoyed my investment.
Anyway, thanks for the outstanding work.
Raise minimum wage
I just wanted to respond to ongoing comments about the minimum wage. I definitely want Congress to raise the minimum wage.
This should have happened years ago. People need to get a decent wage for the work they do.
I would be more likely to purchase a hamburger and soda if I knew the employees who prepared my order were making a living wage. The increased cost would be worth it to me.
Cheering first lady
I am very impressed with the first lady, who is working to decrease waistlines and increase the number of healthy Americans. Michelle Obama is using her celebrity status to encourage Americans, especially children, to have better diets and to exercise daily.
She is also meeting with leaders of companies who manufacture food, trying to lower the calories per serving in their products. This is the correct way to implement a needed change.
Good for her. Good for America.
This is the correct way to get an important long-term attitude shift in this country and to address the real problem, the lack of good diets and proper exercise.
Officials have tried to tax sweet drinks, even to outlaw large sodas. This does nothing but upset people and give fodder to late-night talk-show hosts.
If the first lady is successful, and I hope she is, the benefit could last for generations in this country. Trying to modify attitudes, which would change the economic demands for better foods in the free market, would be fantastic.
Why do federal politicians give themselves a salary increase in addition to the cost-of-living adjustment? Who pays for their offices in the districts they represent?
Who pays the office expenses? Who pays for the office furniture?
Who pays for the office equipment? Who pays for the office supplies?
Who pays for their telephone service? Who pays for their postage?
Who pays for their travel expenses? Who pays for their health insurance?
Who pays for their retirement benefits? Who pays their office employees’ salaries?
Who pays for their office employees’ benefits?
Has a panel from the districts they represent had the opportunity to audit their expenses to determine who pays for all these?
Has a panel from the districts they represent been allowed to hold a hearing to interrogate them as to how residents are actually being represented? Are the taxpayers being taken advantage of?
When are they going to take responsibility for their own actions, both good and bad?
Charles Krauthammer, in his Jan. 28 column, “Pipeline decision delay insults our ally Canada,” is worried about Canadians’ feelings. I am worried about the unholy costs and consequences of producing, transporting and refining the tar sands oil.
If the pipeline goes west, so be it. That is Canada’s right.
It is also our sovereign right to refuse it, a decision that I would strongly support.