People's Forum

Focus on what works

Congress must pass common sense gun laws – and health care for all

Why can’t our Congress get things done when more than 90% of us agree on some issues, such as background checks for gun purchasers?

Sadly, we have been reminded again in recent days of our lack of common sense gun laws and inability to lessen mass shootings. Many of our political leaders are profiting from our lack of good laws, and it’s morally wrong for them to look the other way. Greed gives rise to selfish, even evil, actions.

When members of Congress have an A rating with the National Rifle Association, it means money is more important to them than the safety of our children in schools and all of us when we gather in public places.

Further, when members of Congress can’t come up with a way to support health care for every person in our country, they’ve been bought out, and that is evil. People are dying every day due to our pathetic system. Being rated 37th in the world in health care, we in the U.S. don’t need to look very far for good answers. Physicians for a National Health Program is a group of over 20,000 health care providers who have some excellent answers; PNHP cares about people more than the almighty dollar.

Maybe it’s time for us to call out evil in our leaders and also recognize ways in which we are complicit with the system. Then make changes. And perhaps we can start focusing on what works.

Rod Kaufman, 

Goshen

Back to the future 

In today’s instant news cycle, the focus is on the here and now. But sometimes we have to take a few steps back to appreciate what we have.

The Indiana Chamber’s economic development efforts are a perfect example. While its Indiana Vision 2025 plan is a blueprint for where we all want the state to be, a 20-year rewind takes us to 1999 and the development of the “2025” predecessor, Economic Vision 2010.

That plan identified many shortcomings that we undoubtedly take for granted today. Then, there were no school standards, accountability or choice. There were, however, burdensome inventory and gross receipts taxes, and a state regulatory environment that was more focused on punishment than partnerships.

Infrastructure needs 20 years ago were identified as more direct air flights, improved telecommunications and completing the Interstate 69 extension. Regarding entrepreneurship, Economic Vision 2010 authors cited tech transfer, commercialization of university research and alternative financing for start-ups as primary objectives.

The progress toward those goals and more in two decades is tremendous, yet continuous improvement is always needed.

A two-page report from the Indiana Chamber Foundation – Economic Vision 2010: We’ve Come a Long Way in 20 Years – has more details at www.indianachamber.com/studies.

Paul Thrift, Chairman

Indiana Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors 

No support for wage bill

Congratulations to 116th Congress for passing over 150 bills since the January shutdown caused by the White House. The most recent “Raise the Wage Act,” which will effect over 33 million workers, would be the first change in minimum wages since 2007. By 2024, the wage would increase to $15 per hour which will effect over 40 million workers with a $3,000 per year gain.

Over 91% of minimum-wage workers are over 21, and 43% are working single women. The decade since the $7.25 minimum wage took effect is the longest period without an increase in history. In that time their purchasing power declined by 17 percent. Currently they now bring home nearly one-third less in today’s dollars than they did a half-century ago.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour would directly benefit more than 27 million workers, reducing the number of Americans living in poverty by 1.3 million. The Economic Policy Institute puts the number of workers who would benefit even higher, at about 33.5 million.

The Fight for $15 began in 2012 and was added to the Democratic platform in 2016. Last month the House passed the “Raise the Wage Act” by a vote of 231-99, mostly along party lines. 

The negative voting record by our congressional representative shows a lack of interest to the needs of the district. Her negative attitude by voting “no” to the current legislation shows her lack of interest.

Charles D. Mumaw, 

Goshen

Save the planet

A new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report urges people to eat less meat in order to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and protect tropical rainforests, noting that, if deforestation is left unchecked, much of the remaining Amazon forest could turn into desert land.

Will anyone listen?

The IPCC’s advice is reminiscent of a 2016 report from researchers with the Institute of Social Ecology in Vienna. They concluded that the only way to meet the expected global food demand in the year 2050 – without sacrificing any forests – is for everyone to go vegan.

Animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation and habitat loss. We should do our part to help preserve forests, combat climate change, and save animals by eating vegan meals rather than meat, eggs, and dairy “products.”

Let’s listen this time: See www.PETA.org for more vinformation and free vegan recipes.

Heather Moore,

Norfolk, Virginia

PETA Foundation

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