Brownback has wrong priorities
I read with interest Wichita State University professor H. Edward Flentje’s well-researched and written commentary, “Experiment out of sync” (Nov. 24 Opinion). At the same time, I appreciated Richard Crowson’s visual editorial cartoon picture of “Thanksgiving at the Kansas kids’ table,” recognizing hunger and poverty of 23 percent of our Kansas youths.
We in Kansas who care about our state’s population and outlook for the future weep at what Gov. Sam Brownback and his administration have targeted for severe financial cuts. What is more important than the well-being of our collective children, our future? It is difficult to understand what type of future our youths will have when K-12 school operating funding is $400 million less than in 2008. And if that was not enough, Brownback approved multimillion-dollar cuts to our Kansas colleges and universities. Plus, the Brownback administration has refused to expand Medicaid services to Kansans in need.
If I were a CEO of a business, I certainly would not want to invest in a state that does not believe in an adequate education for children and youths, and that doesn’t believe health care for all its residents is important.
It almost seems like Brownback and his administration have other priorities besides the Kansans who elected them with hopes for a better future. Please, Gov. Brownback, wake up and interact in a caring manner with Kansans.
Dumb and dumber
Some want to take federal money (such as increased Medicaid subsidies for expanded Medicaid benefits or up-front subsidies for state-run Obamacare marketplaces) under the rationale that if you don’t take it then somebody else will. And besides, they say, we have already “paid for it,” so not taking the money is just “dumb.”
Others, such as Gov. Sam Brownback, refuse to start something based on a “special offer” that has hidden clauses making it unsustainable. Doing otherwise is a setup for failure and disappointment down the road when resources are inevitably exhausted and programs on which people have begun to depend must be suddenly and painfully terminated. To start what you cannot finish is, well, even dumber than not accepting the “free offer” that will get things rolling.
Every drug dealer, Ponzi scheme operator and federal bureaucrat knows this principle and counts on their victims (constituents) not to do the dumb thing today (turn down a free lunch) and not to see the dumber thing that must follow tomorrow (the crash of an unsustainable program).
So you can be willing to look dumb today or be proved to be even dumber tomorrow. Have it your own way.
I am totally disgusted at the cruelty, arrogance and total lack of empathy of the Republican Party. Its members justify cuts to food and education programs that help poor kids and the programs that would help the unemployed and underemployed find jobs, then tell those who would use the programs to “find a job” when many of them have jobs that don’t pay well and would like to make more money.
Republicans like to say that cuts are needed because of waste, fraud and abuse and that they we don’t want people dependent on the government. There is some waste, fraud and abuse, but find and punish that, not everyone on the program.
As for being dependent on the government, they must believe that people like being poor. If that is their opinion, they have never been poor. They should try it sometime and see if they like it.
Regarding the discussion about building up the infrastructure of our city (Nov. 24 Eagle): Water lines, library and business infrastructure are vital to the long-term well-being of Wichita and Sedgwick County. But I would like to add, in the spirit of John F. Kennedy, a daring dream. The dream is called the HOPE Scholarship (Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally).
The state of Georgia has a HOPE Scholarship funded by gambling revenues that provides scholarship aid to all citizens of the state who maintain a minimum academic standard. I suggest we add building up the youth of our community to any sales-tax proposal.
Many in our community, because of economic circumstances, cannot dream of going to college or to trade school. The HOPE Scholarship would provide them a pathway to accomplish their dreams. A HOPE Scholarship could help pay for higher education in a Sedgwick County institution, such as the Wichita Area Technical College, Wichita State University, Newman University or Friends University. The scholarship would be “earned” through the accomplishment of community service. I would add a promise to refrain from the illegal use of drugs and alcohol by those engaged in the scholarship program.
Hope is the best crime prevention. So what will it be, Wichita? Will we build hope, or will we build more prisons?
Congratulations to the Wichita City Council. It has joined ranks with Westar Energy in price-gouging senior citizens.
Westar gives businesses breaks on their energy bills and raises our rates (Nov. 22 Eagle). The City Council is raising our water and sewer bill (Nov. 20 Eagle) while approving a $2 million bond issue so a business can buy a building (Nov. 20 Business Today).
The City Council is forcing seniors to shop at Dollar Tree and go to the food bank and the Lord’s Diner in order to survive.
Why doesn’t the city sell $500 million in bonds and pay off the mortgages of Wichita seniors and give us each a $500-a-month pension?
Wages an insult
I certainly hope the new CEO of Walmart (Nov. 26 Business Today) – a man who started as an associate, so should know what it’s like to make lousy money – will realize that the just-above-minimum wages he pays half his employees, which necessitates that they go on the public dole, is an insult to those “associates” and the taxpayers who have to pay the government benefits.
A Walmart in Ohio recently had a food drive for its employees, while the heirs to the Walmart fortune are worth a collective $100 billion and the CEO – one man – makes $20 million a year. That speaks volumes about how little Walmart thinks of the workers who toil daily in its big-box behemoths.
How would it feel to work full time yet as you walk out the door have to reach into a box of donated canned goods so you can feed your family and still make the rent? Sadly, this is something that happens at more places than Walmart. But it, more than any other company, is the poster child for how far the middle class has sunk.
The fact that taxpayers pay for food stamps so Walmart can keep wages down is something the company could remedy today. Costco, another big-box store, pays its employees $20 an hour and up, and that company has doubled its profits since 2009. That is the kind of place that will get my business. I’m through with Walmart.
The season for the recorded, unwanted political telephone calls is starting again. Our incumbent officeholders and their predecessors carefully excluded themselves from the prohibition against these calls. If you are tired of having your evenings interrupted by unwanted calls, let them know. Though returning a call to the calling number likely won’t work (you will most likely get another recording), you can let them know at the polls. Vote for candidates who do not violate your privacy.
LARRY T. ROMINE