published Sunday, June 5th, 2011

Priorities for VW are unwarranted

LETTERS TO THE EDITORS

Priorities for VW are unwarranted

Volkswagen, Volkswagen, I am sick of hearing about VW. Article after article, day after day ... Well, here is the truth about Volkswagen.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) website, there are 241,000 people employed in the Chattanooga area. Fifteen hundred work at Volkswagen. Since the “22,000” jobs haven’t materialized and never will, that is only 0.62 percent of the total jobs in this area. For that percent, VW gets 99 percent of the press, 99 percent of Enterprise South and $577 million in incentives ($220 million in cash).

Forty million in cash was used for “relocation” of employees. If VW hired local people, why did they need $40 million to relocate employees? Basically this fact and the BLS data show that VW didn’t hire many local people.

On the other hand, 168,700 (70 percent) of the people here are employed by small business. Unlike Volkswagen, we pay our taxes; we don’t get government freebies and are the backbone of our local and national economy. With 70 percent versus 0.62 percent, the city and county’s priorities are way out of whack.

Furthermore, it is wrong, not to mention unconstitutional, for the government to pick the winners and losers. Welcome to corporate socialism.

TIM PRICE

Hixson

For some, only death is certain

So the Veterans Administration has been told to reduce suicides? (Times Free Press, May 26). The VA has a responsibility to efficiently provide necessary services. But the VA didn’t vote to start these wars.

How did we ever expect to carry on two wars year after year without terrible consequences to the people we send tour after tour?

We as a people have failed because we don’t hold our Congress and president accountable. We have failed because we stay so silent on the subject. Why is it so easy for us to ignore the physical and emotional toll on soldiers, their spouses, their families?

One of many reasons may be that we’re too busy just trying to stay afloat in a difficult economy, which, among other things, was brought on by cutting taxes instead of paying for these wars.

But the wealthy have to have their tax cuts, and oil companies have to have their subsidies.

I grew up hearing that the only things that were certain were “death and taxes.” But for some people it’s only death.

KATE STULCE

Ooltewah

Is Social Security paying too much?

I’ve voted mostly Democrat for a long, long time. But I’ve almost decided that the Republicans may be right. We need to get rid of Social Security. Otherwise, their money will end up being worthless.

It’s beginning to seem pretty clear that most of us can’t afford to feed our families, educate our children, maintain our margin accounts, provide for our own retirement, and support our grandparents, all at the same time.

Scriptures imply that we can expect help from the Lord for only our first three score and 10 years. But, thereafter we are on our own (Psalm 90:10).

Antibiotics have changed the math. We elders now exceed both our biblical and also Social Security’s life expectancy by 10 or more years.

You are paying too much to keep us for too long.

JIM LEE

Illegal residents must follow policy

People of Hispanic origin in Georgia/Tennessee: I am sympathetic to your cause concerning Georgia’s House Bill 87. I believe this particular bill has over-reached its intentions. Georgia’s economic growth and financial stability require migrant seasonal farmworkers as well as meeting the ongoing needs of manufacturing businesses. However, you absolutely must adhere to the United States immigration policies. Temporary work visas and “green cards” should be obtained through legal avenues.

I am most aware that state and federal agencies make this an expensive and drawn-out process. It takes years to get through the so-called red tape. So, continue to lawfully protest and make your voices heard by way of community meetings and various media outlets. But it is inappropriate to make accusations of constitutional violation.

The U.S. Constitution only applies to legal residents; not those here by other means. If anyone resides in the United States illegally, then they have no privileges under the Constitution or Bill of Rights.

I am truly sympathetic to your situation and would eagerly welcome you to citizenship. This is an intense issue for many hard-working Hispanics in the North Georgia area — and I don’t have the clout to solve any of it. You remain in my thoughts and prayers.

JEFFREY COX

Dalton, Ga.

Officials’ views odd on cockfighting

With regard to the story on cockfighting (May 20). I am appalled at the reactions from subcommittee member Rep. Frank Niceley of Knoxville and subcommittee Chairman Dale Ford of Jonesboro.

There is little question that these two think cockfighting is “not bothering anybody,” “not a big deal” and “keeping fines low will make law enforcement busts more frequent.”

I am amazed that in this day and time that these gentlemen find this absurd practice harmless.

Furthermore, Mr. Niceley considers people from other states traveling to our area for cockfights as tourism. “They buy food, they stay in hotels, they buy gas.” Brilliant!

Let’s also legalize drugs, all forms of gambling, and prostitution. We should be “proud” of our elected officials for their common sense! Hopefully, these two do not have any contact with animals of any kind. They should be embarrassed for their disgusting views of this horrendous activity and all that it leads to.

LEA ANN WILLIAMS

Howard setting a good example

I’m very impressed with Howard School and the people who are responsible for its success.

I just wish there was a school like Howard around when I was in high school.

I fell behind and eventually quit. The program you stressed in your article (May 29) about surrounding the kids having trouble is just what I needed, but I fell through the cracks. If someone (had) come alongside of me at that time in my life and encouraged me, I probably would have graduated from college and become a teacher.

Anyway, continue going forward with your programs and fresh ideas and we will have more kids graduating. I will pray for more success in Howard School. God knows we surely need more of them following your example.

MARCIA PANOZ

Dayton, Tenn.

Radical right wrong on ‘entitlements’

The lies being put forth regarding the future of Medicare by the radical right wing are ludicrous.

Those who are telling the lies range from elected Republican officials, to talk show hosts, to conservative op-ed writers, to political broadcast and cable TV shows.

The GOP always speaks of “entitlements” as if it is a dirty word.

Workers contribute to their Social Security and Medicare accounts all their working lives.

Let’s talk about all “entitlements.” Government workers, all senators and congressmen and military retirement is as much an “entitlement” as Social Security and Medicare, except they make no contribution to their retirement accounts. It comes directly from the taxpayer.

Check out the retirement pay of senators and congressmen. I dare say one of their monthly checks would cover many of our less fortunate seniors.

Let’s talk about Rep. Ryan’s (GOP) plan. Destruction of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are just the tip of the iceberg of their horrendous “plan.” When you are at retirement age, just try to buy a health care policy for this idiotic amount they plan to put in “voucher” form. Use your policy one time and see how quickly cancellation comes.

ANN BENTON

Signal Mountain

Wellness center a needless expense

City taxpayers are obligated to pay city employees for their 40 hrs/wk, health benefits, vacations and sick leave. City taxpayers are not obligated to construct a $3.5 million Wellness Center with annual maintenance and labor costs at the expense of other city services and needs, i.e. police, education, education facilities, health services for the needy, the homeless and infrastructure, i.e. roads, sewers, solid waste, recycling, etc.

It is the obligation of the city employees to take care of their own health, not the city taxpayers’. City employees can use their city pay to purchase memberships at the Rush, the Barn, etc.; or purchase their own weights and chin-up bars to use at home; sit-ups and push-ups in their living rooms before coming to work and jogging around their neighborhood or on the Riverwalk.

A regular workout takes about two hours for dress-down, workout, dress-up and shower. This exceeds the one hour lunch break.

The proposed site for the wellness center should be used for a downtown police station. Use the $200,000 design fee to design a police station, not a $3.5 million wellness center.

FRANK DEPINTO

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Rivieravol said...

What a treat, Annie Pooh and Katey -Did, the two nattering nabobs of negativism(with apologies to Spiro Agnew) in one day.

These are two women with two things in common; neither has ever had an original thought or a solution to a problem.

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.........

June 5, 2011 at 1:27 p.m.
brokentoe said...

So what is Mr. Jim Lee suggesting is the solution for medicare and Social Security? Mind you, Social Security was quite solvent until other federal government programs started to borrow from it. One being to pay for wars brought on countries that were no threat to the U.S. Is Mr. Lee suggesting that after a period of time all old folks should be euthanized if they have the audacity to live longer than the 10 years he suggest? I have another solution. Social Security should start calling in all those loans that raided the program over the years.

Social Security and medicare are not "entitlement" programs. Today's retired seniors paid into the system. They also pay a monthly premium for medicare benefits. Those same seniors, today retired. also paid taxes so many of today's politicians could receive a free college education through federal college grants and other free stuff.

June 5, 2011 at 2:05 p.m.
Echo said...

Tim,

For every direct automotive job, seven additional jobs are created. I can personally assure you that VW spends a lot of money locally in both wages and services. I can assure you that VW employees spend a lot of money locally on services, rent, groceries, dentists, doctors, fuel, clothing. The airlines have added more flights to the local airport. VW also drives economies of scale to the local utilities providers. Would Amazon be here if Enterprise South was still a brownfield site?

Chattanooga has a huge advantage by having an economy that is not dominated by any one industry. Auto, chemical, phama, heavy equipment, energy, insurance. The people here are hard working and they get the job done. You represent the tiny fraction of whiners.

People like yourself said VW would pull out as VW money poured in. Then your ilk said the plant would not be completed while behind the scenes, VW accelerated the construction project. Then people like you were complaining that the labor was non local while 4500 workmen, including many local trades lived here and built the plant. Then you were whining that the hiring wasn't fast enough while new employees were learning a new, high tech skill...building a newly designed car in a new factory. Almost no other car company has the guts to do both at the same time. While you were still crying in your beer, the 500th car came off the line, finessed to "car show" quality by local residents. I suggest you join the long faces at Toyota, Honda and Nissan because when the VW Passat hits the market with it's superb paint, choices for gas and diesel engines, roomy interior and VW handling, starting under $20,000 it will put an end to the previously boring mid size car market. There is plenty of room to build another plant next to the one that will be at full production this fall. Your tiny voice will be drowned out by the din of locomotives pulling away rail cars laden with shiny VWs made with pride by the people of Chattanooga, TN.

You always know you're doing something right when someone starts complaining about it because success breeds contempt among failures.

June 5, 2011 at 2:45 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

Re: Jim Lee's letter. Yet another in a long list of Bible thumpers who form their beliefs based on some obscure verse in the "good book." My god, I wish the latest prediction of the Rapture had been real and all of these lunatic blind believers would have been whisked away. Maybe then we could have been left with a society of people who espouse reason, common decency, and common sense over rigid dogma and blind faith. What he suggests is not only cruel but completely senseless. His thought processes are creepy enough but what's even scarier is that so many, if not most, Republican politicians are not far removed from his evangelical and Christian fundamentalist thinking and they try to govern our country based on those warped views.

June 5, 2011 at 4:36 p.m.
EaTn said...

Having previously worked for a large German-American corporation, I can assure folks that VW will be a good neighbor and employer. Also, I appreciate that TFP publishes critical comments against places like VW since no corporation should be above the honest opinions of either its employees or the neighboring public.

June 5, 2011 at 4:43 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

Very well said, Ann Benton! I couldn't agree with you more.

June 5, 2011 at 4:46 p.m.
librul said...

Quoting Rivieravol:

"Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah......"

Some cogent commentary coming from one who so freely criticizes others.

June 6, 2011 at 8:22 a.m.
Rivieravol said...

Librul, the only people I criticize are the professional complainers who spout the the same drivel month after month like the Bentons and the Stulces. I have even complimented you for bringing original ideas to the board. Even though you are wrong 95% of the time. :-))

June 6, 2011 at 9:44 a.m.
timbo said...

All of you guys just don't get it. These job estimates came from a guy named Fox in the business department at UT. I called the guy and he said that he wrote two other estimates and they were rejected by the state economic people because they weren't favorable enough. He is a government worker whose bosses wanted a certain answer and they finally got it. He told me there were know independent studies that verified the these types of deals were of benefit to the majority of the tax payers. If you care to look there are quite a few studies to the contrary on Mercedes in Alabama and BMW in South Carolina or you can just live in your fantasy world.

VW is here, the mistake was made, we cannot change it. The point here is that our federal, state and local governments have spent billions on saving or helping large corporations that didn't even need the money. These corporations employment rates are minuscule compared to small business. For example, GM employees 1 million people including satellites. That is only about 1 % of the total jobs in this country. We spend about $30,000,000 to save it. What if that money was spead around to the 100 million job that are in small business. How many jobs would be created form that?

The latest federal report states that small business start-ups are at their lowest level in history. Small business is the only way to lower the unemployment rate but both parties at all levels are ignoring that fact. VW is a local example of these mistakes.

When you give local money to create only a few jobs, it puts a tax and fee burden on the businesses that didn't get any money from kissing up to local politicians.

If Riveravol thinks that these facts have been publisized compared to the VW article per minute you are being foolish.

June 15, 2011 at 2:02 p.m.
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