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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.