Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor (Jan. 3, 2019)

Liberal arts and sciences

The value of a college education in liberal arts and sciences should not be evaluated or measured as a commodity. This kind of education gives us the opportunity to better understand where we are, perhaps even why; and to become better citizens of the global village. This kind of understanding is a condition of our survival, but it is more.

In the natural sciences, we learn how everything affects everything else: in the words of the poet Frances Thompson, “Thou canst not touch a flower/ Without the troubling of a star.”

In the social sciences we have the opportunity to learn to understand sympathetically how and why people behave differently in different communities. The massive absence of this kind of understanding continues to cost lives, resources and honor.

The humanities come to grips with the limitations of human understanding and we see the need to accept with humility and dignity our contingent place in the universe. We are small parts of a complex whole, but we still have aspirations for meaningful lives.

Consideration of these interpretations of context, complexity and connection are what a college education based on the liberal arts and sciences is for.

Dorothy K. Billings, Wichita

Carbon refunds

The Jan. 1 letter about the emissions-reducing proposal “Market Choice Act” correctly identified a concern in the Republican-sponsored bill. Although this bill reduces pollution below the Paris Agreement targets, low and middle income earners could be squeezed by rising energy prices.

A better strategy would be to refund all the price levied on carbon to all Americans through a monthly dividend. Fortunately there is a bill that does this and reduces pollution far below Paris targets. Introduced by members of both parties in the House and the Senate, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act is fair to all income brackets, including the most vulnerable. It is good for the people, good for the environment, and good for the economy.

Darrel Hart, Wichita

Medicaid expansion

I was—and still am—pleased that Gov.-elect Laura Kelly included the expansion of Medicaid among her priorities for when she assumes office. Predictably, others have expressed opposition to the expansion, on the grounds that it would be too expensive. In response, I would like to issue a challenge to current and incoming legislators, but first a back story.

The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) required states to expand Medicaid, but the U.S. Supreme Court removed that provision while affirming the constitutionality of the law. Former Gov. Sam Brownback declined to approve expansion, but eventually passed it off to the Legislature to decide. The Legislature did approve expansion, which Brownback promptly vetoed — an action which completely lacks integrity.

Now the challenge to our legislators: Imagine that you are one of 150,000 low-income persons who are potentially eligible for access to essential health care services, for whom that access depends upon the affirmative vote of other persons. Most or all of those persons are well insured and do not have to worry about the added burden of crippling health care costs.

The cost can be covered by accepting back federal taxes from Kansans being used by 36 other states, and by an enlightened and progressive tax policy that asks those of us with the ability to pay a little more.

Bill Zuercher, Hesston