Printed letters, March 11, 2011

The best arguments against government unions were made by President Franklin Roosevelt during the 1930s. Government unions are fairly new in our history. They are a privilege, not a right.

When Congress passed pension reform in 1974, the law didn’t apply to government pensions. The consequence of that regulation was it made pensions too expensive for many corporations. That resulted in these pensions giving way to 401k plans. Today, most people retiring from corporations don’t have big pension benefits. They have to rely on their 401k plans and their own savings.

Many government employees have much better pension benefits and, in many cases they have contributed little to those plans. As a result of not being restricted by the regulations placed on private companies, these government plans are not well funded and will require serious reform. What we see in Wisconsin is what has to be done across the country.

It scares me when even a few of these teachers compare their protests to those in the Middle East. Political oppression is what we see in Libya, not Wisconsin. I pray the problems in the Middle East don’t end up with gas costing $10 a gallon. That will wreck our economy and contributing more to health insurance and pensions will look good.

Government has failed to fund its pensions. In 40 years, it has been unable to help us reach energy independence. The debt they have incurred can’t be maintained. We need to encourage more responsible government, as we see happening in states like Wisconsin.

DAVE KEARSLEY

Mesa

Unions help families stay out of poverty

Are workers dumb as posts? I say no. Many of the materials that go into a business are like fence posts. They are produced by a number of manufacturers and using the cheapest least expensive post makes a business more competitive. But it is a failure of humanity to put the workers of a business in that category.

A good worker can be worth their weight in gold if they keep customers coming back or attract new customers with their positive attitude toward the business and customer. This message is preached by varieties of businesses. An under-compensated worker can cost a business far more that any profit the business would hope to make.

What does this have to do with union busting? Simply this. If we want no unions in private or public sectors, we need to pay a livable wage to all employees. A statement you might hear is “My business pays better than minimum wage.” Good to know you are not paying illegal wages. The real measure of how good a business is, is how much above minimum wage does the average worker make. If that is below $8.90 an hour for the average family of three in Mesa County that is at the poverty line of $18,310.

That is not saving for college, retirement (other than Social Security), health insurance (other than Medicare/Medicaid) or investing in Wall Street. Employers would say to provide all these benefits would be very expensive. It would be, and your business would be at a disadvantage unless all businesses operated on the idea that there is a minimum amount of compensation 40 hours a week of a person’s life deserves.

Government legislating it offends some business owners and politicians. Unions bargaining for it offends some employers and politicians. Who are the outspoken employers and politicians who agree a person should be able to live in America after working 40 hours a week for a business. Do they have union problems? I would bet not.

KARL CASTLETON, Co-Chair

Mesa County Democrats

Grand Junction

‘Captain Condom’ story didn’t belong in ‘Portrait’

The Daily Sentinel’s March 6 issue contained a section called “Portrait: Leaving a Legacy.” The stories highlighted individuals and their accomplishments.

The term legacy implies something of lasting or immense value. The story headlined “Captain Condom” does not fit this category. Since this story was a “feature” and not “news,” more consideration should have been given to community norms and common sense.

The Sentinel should not have printed the story. It sends the wrong message to younger readers. It undermines the efforts of parents who are trying to instill in their children a true sense of right and wrong — the sense of natural law and the fact that actions have consequences.

I hope the Sentinel will apologize to its readers and use better judgment in the future.

JIM VIDMAR Grand Junction



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