After reading Paul Krugman's commentary about inequality, I realized that the entire focus has been on the top 1 percent and the poor. The real problem behind the lack of economic growth is the tight financial squeeze on the middle class. Higher taxes, higher medical costs, higher education costs, low wage growth compared to inflation, and supporting elderly parents who can't get by as well as children who can't make a decent living in today's economy are the reasons the country's economic growth suffers.
Just like in a family where the attention is always on the oldest and the youngest, the middle is forgotten. The middle class is the majority in this country, but more and more of us are slipping into the ranks of the poor. It is the middle class that truly drives the country's economy. As we suffer, the economy will suffer. You can take from the 1 percent and give to the poor all you like, but if you continue to ignore the plight of the middle class, economic growth will continue to suffer. We are the forgotton, yet we are the many.
CAROLYN ELROD, Cleveland, Tenn.
I received a call from a man with a foreign accent, who said he was from the Microsoft IT department, and my computer was not receiving updates. His English was so bad I asked to speak to someone else. Another man came on the line and said he was the supervisor, and they were calling from Microsoft IT, and I needed to turn on my computer so they could do updates. I told him I didn't accept cold calls and would not turn the computer on and hung up.
I then spoke with the actual Microsoft help line and was told that Microsoft does not make this type of call and to never give any computer information to anyone over the phone unless I had initiated the call. I have received two such calls and would like to warn everyone, especially those with more "life experience" or older, like me, who may not be so computer savvy. Don't talk to strangers on the phone about your computer, and definitely do not give them any information unless you made the call for assistance.
HELEN COOPER, Signal Mountain
The streets downtown and north of the river are filthy with layers of dust, dirt and trash consisting of just about everything you might see in a city dump, and yet there it remains, day after day.
It is apparent that the current administration doesn't care, as there is a city garbage can with cart chained up on the west side of Frazier Place on Frazier Avenue that has not moved or been used one time since the arrival of the current mayor and staff. How can you explain?
Oh well, one thing for sure, our mayor is not a runner or walker, as he could see for himself the need for some attention to housekeeping in our beautiful city by the river.
I have not seen anyone cleaning the streets and walkways period. What say you, servers of the public?
The world has watched as hundreds of Palestinians have met their deaths through attacks from the Israeli government. Some Israelis, too, have been victims of the retaliation initiated by the Palestinian group Hamas. These attempts, however, are minuscule compared to those by the Israeli government. Nevertheless, neither one has the right to kill innocent civilians, whether in the hundreds or in much smaller numbers.For humanity's sake, we the people along with our nation's leaders must call for an end to the atrocities. What ethnic, religious, historical, political or regional conflict could be worth the lives of innocent men, women, and children? My prayers are with the people of Gaza during these turbulent times.
NAJIA HUMAYUN, Tunnel Hill, Ga.
It's time for Americans to support Americans. Raise the minimum wage.
Currently the minimum wage is $7.25; raising it to $10.10 per hour would give some 25 million workers across our country a raise, according to Oxfam America, an anti-poverty organization.
Oxfam America reports that raising the minimum wage would equally help Americans who live in Republican and Democratic districts, rural and metropolitan. This would reduce a large percentage of low-wage workers receiving federal assistance. The time is now!
This is not a partisan issue. In 2007, President George W. Bush wanted to raise the minimum wage, and Congress overwhelmingly, with bipartisan support, passed the raise.
It's the right thing to do. The petty partisanship of our current Congress gets in the way of a deal that would benefit large numbers of constituents in every congressional district. You would think the incumbents and hopefuls in the upcoming November elections could see this potential and make this part of their campaigns.
So, voters contact your chosen candidate and tell them to support the minimum wage.
MAXINE LEVY, Harrison
Many seniors are saddened to learn of the retirement of Clarence Williams, director of the Eastgate Senior Center. He has been instrumental in keeping a safe, warm place where seniors meet and take part in dancing (line and ballroom), billiards, cards, dominoes and Ping-Pong, and doing aerobics and Zumba. Classes are provided in computer, needlework, bridge, jewelry-making and more.
Clarence has been able to secure trips for seniors at bargain prices. He has provided parties for every holiday, some with special entertainment and always with decorations, good food and dancing. He has made the center available for many health screenings and fairs, and many of the seniors participated.
More importantly, this wonderful giant of a man visits hospitals, nursing homes and funeral homes regularly. He has treated this position as a ministry rather than just a job. To say he will be missed is an understatement.
I was disappointed but not surprised to see the right-wingers come out to vote against the civil rights of others based upon their religious bigotry. Those who seek to condemn and alienate gay people do so with the same book that sanctions genocide, infanticide, slavery, misogyny, xenophobia and racism, among other atrocities. Shame on Chattanooga! Shame on the cowards who hide behind a discredited book, claiming authority from God to hold on to their hate and fear of others. Shame on the dishonest, fear-mongering, sanctimonious Mark West for helping put other peoples' civil rights to a vote. (I do not recall anyone voting on your benefits package or your right to not be discriminated against.) How dare Chattanoogans put the rights of a minority group up for a vote by the majority! For shame, if you have any, Chattanooga.
TOM ARNOLD, Ooltewah
While at a convention in Annapolis, Md., I mentioned I was from Chattanooga. Boy, did that set off a tirade. One man said he loved Chattanooga but will never come back as long as the city operates speed traps. He was ticketed by cameras twice during his stay and was very unhappy. By the end of the week, I had heard similar comments from others, even though they had not been here lately. Chattanooga cannot withstand a heavy tourist boycott because of traffic speed cameras.
When I got home, I had two tickets in the mail I had received while taking lunch to my wife who was sitting for a 98-year-old woman who lives just off Germantown Road. Those are expensive lunches.
Then my son-in-law informed me he also received two tickets while on his way to radiation treatments at Erlanger for stage 4 lung cancer. He can ill afford to pay $100 for speeding tickets.
CHARLES HARRIS, Ooltewah