August 20, 2013

Letters to the editor: Poverty wages a burden to taxpayers

The recent job actions by fast food workers have revived discussion of the minimum wage. Most of the time, this issue is portrayed as a moral or fairness issue to increase wages for poor workers versus the tired old argument that raising the minimum wage will be a hardship for the "job creators" and cause them to eliminate entry-level positions.

I suggest we simply, as a society of mostly hardworking taxpayers, stop picking up the tab for greedy corporations such as Walmart and McDonald's.

Our safety net, such as it is, is primarily income-based. Therefore, workers making less than $12 an hour usually qualify for government aid such as food stamps, WIC and MaineCare. By paying workers poverty wages, greedy corporations shift to the rest of us the burden of providing subsistence benefits to those made poor by grossly inadequate wages.

So corporate bigwigs get tens of millions of dollars in salaries and bonuses while the rest of us pay the difference, in our taxes, to make up for poverty wages given to their workers. Let's wake up and stop subsidizing the Walton family billionaires and force them all to pay workers a living wage of at least $12 an hour.

That will reduce the deficit by reducing the need to give aid to the working poor, while simultaneously pumping more buying power into the economy and further reducing unemployment.

The only losers, if we exempt very small businesses, are corporations that for the most part are doing very, very well on the backs of the American middle-class taxpayer! I, for one, will shed no tears for the filthy rich.

John Riley
Falmouth

 

City panhandling ordinance is unfair to the homeless

 

The recently passed ordinance against panhandlers on median strips for safety reasons is a bald-faced lie. Seeing panhandlers unabashedly beg is simply too uncomfortable for those not similarly disenfranchised.

Yes, they make me uncomfortable and I have been homeless and indigent myself.

Do I think they should be prevented from doing so? Absolutely not! We who are blessed with homes, jobs and some measure of security in our lives should never forget there are many who go without basic needs.

Homelessness is a blight on America with only anemic, ineffective attempts to solve the problem. Instead of turning a blind eye, legislating them out of our sight and pretending homelessness doesn't exist, tangible, effective efforts must be utilized to solve the problem once and for all.

Whatever reason panhandlers choose to beg -- be it honorable or not -- they should not be stopped from doing so for fear of damaging the city's image or personal comfort.

Portland's lawmakers should stop lying and deal with the problem honestly.

Grace Thorne
South Portland

 

Criticism of Collins' work on diabetes is uninformed

 

I was surprised by a recent letter to the editor criticizing Senator Collins' efforts related to Juvenile, or Type I, diabetes. 

As someone who has served on the senator's staff for more than 10 years, I know how committed she is to bettering the lives of the millions of Americans who suffer from Type I diabetes and to finding a cure for this horrible disease. It has been among her top priorities throughout her years of Senate service, and diabetes advocacy groups will tell you that no one has worked harder or more effectively than Senator Collins. 

Since she founded the Senate Diabetes Caucus, funding for diabetes research has tripled, resulting in significant breakthroughs in medical research and technology.

The JDRF Children's Congress hearing she chairs has led to a greater awareness of the disease at all stages of life. Because of Senator Collins, Medicare is required to cover insulin pumps for seniors with Type I diabetes.

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