Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor on war on religion, minimum wage, local control of education, Trump

This is not a war on religion

I went channel surfing recently and found more than 10 TV programs dedicated to Christian ministries. At Christmas and Easter, the stores are decorated with the traditions of those seasons. The newspaper and radio and TV stations often include news of interest and announcements of events relative to religion. There is a daily prayer in The Eagle, and there are chaplains in all branches of the military units and in the state and national legislatures.

The Wichita telephone directory lists more than 70 denominations. Many public servants proclaim they are men and women of faith. People such as Hobby Lobby founder David Green and Wichita pastor Terry Fox expend a great deal of time and effort to make their views known to legislators and the courts. Their views and beliefs are not whispered behind safe and secure doors out of the public view.

If there were a war on religion, these people and those groups would be underground, so as not to be found out and squelched.

We are a nation united under the laws of the land. When any particular group wants favoritism in a manner that seeks dominion over the freedom and rights of all citizens, then objections will be raised. This is not, then, a war on religion, but an assertion that all citizens be able enjoy the same societal rights.



Consumers pay

Who is going to pay for a hike in minimum wage to $15 an hour in some cities? Answer: the consumer. Owners will pass it on, as they do with all costs.

The average percentage for wage costs is 20 to 35 percent, depending on the product or service. For the business to continue, it must pass that cost on to the consumer. With all the other overhead that businesses must pay – such as product cost, rent, utilities, etc. – there is not that much left over for the owner.

No matter if it’s a small business or a large corporation, the same rule applies.

If a business pays $10 an hour as its minimum wage and must raise it to $15, all the earners who make more than minimum will need a raise to maintain the reason to stay and learn – which makes them more valuable to the business. That is caused by wage compression.

If you earn $15 and the boss has to pay unskilled workers the same as you are making, what would you do? Get another job and take your skills with you, or demand a raise.



Wage justice

Raising the minimum wage should have bipartisan support. This is not a form of charity, or simply a populist move. This is a matter of justice.

Shouldn’t we all be behind an idea that rewards work? Shouldn’t someone with a full-time, honest job be able to provide a decent living for a family?

In the movie “Schindler’s List,” there is a scene where Schindler tries to convince a German officer that to forgive someone’s life shows power and nobility – the fallacy being that he didn’t have the right to take that life to begin with, so there is no true nobility in sparing it. Charity is essentially the same, be it from the government or from private entities. It is good as a form of relief, not as a system.

How can we be happy with a system that creates a class of “working poor” (that shouldn’t even exist) and then ask them to be grateful that we throw them a few bucks.

Maybe it’s not possible to do it immediately without negative effects in the economy, but that shouldn’t stop us from working toward this goal of true justice. Without the conviction, it will never happen, and we will continue to feel holy for sparing the life of someone we didn’t have the right to put in that position to begin with.



Local control?

The plea by Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., for local control of education (July 30 Opinion) is part of what is wrong with education in Kansas, as splinter groups, undereducated legislators, reactionary dreamers of a one-room schoolhouse, and vested interests in job sectors that want “training,” not “education,” all pull at a system that is trying to teach a balanced curriculum.

As an educator (now retired), my purpose was to extend a student’s reach and develop potential in whatever fields it exists, whether music, sports or any of the academic disciplines. We do not know what the future careers will call for; we try to provide some expertise in most disciplines so that a person can make an educated guess in the years coming.

I found Moran’s comments, coming from someone who occasionally visits a classroom, about “the unique needs of Kansas students” offensive and derogatory. We are not a special education state. His putting the blame on the government from which he draws a salary was equally offensive, given that the motivation is his re-election.

Finally, given the divisiveness and friction among state, county and city officials, can you imagine a quality product coming about as a result of their interaction? The current state funding for a “suitable” education is pathetic, and money is raided from available funds on a regular basis.



Trump’s conceit

Donald Trump is the quintessence of what mega-wealth cannot buy. He is a buffoon steeped in conceit and arrogance who if given an enema would be buried in a matchbox.



Letters to the Editor

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Phillip Brownlee at 316-268-6262, pbrownlee@wichitaeagle.com.