Unions are conspiracies among workers in restraint of trade. They inhibit employers from seeking to hire and promoting the best for the least money. They inhibit the economic reward of workers who excel and protect less productive workers from reductions in pay. They garner higher average wages and create higher prices for the goods they produce than would be the case if each worker stood on his or her own merit.
When owners or managers conspire to avoid price or quality competition, they become criminals. But labor unions are exempted by the Clayton Act of 1914, which explains that "the labor of a human being is not a commodity or article of commerce." Well, if labor isn't a commodity, it is only because the law gives it cover to not be so. Among commodities, the tastier coffee beans and the richer ores command higher prices. With organized labor, higher prices go to individuals with higher seniority and to unions more willing to strike.
The nation's big-business phobia has proven unfounded, as competition, not regulators, has kept most businesses efficient. Fraud has only succeeded in the very short term and frequently comes a cropper for participants. At the same time, the Clayton Act's protection of unions is proving ineffective against world (formerly "foreign") competition and union membership in the private sector is dwindling.
This leaves the unions of public employees. They have no competitors, foreign or domestic. They are growing. Politicians have not stood for us against them and are routinely bought with union cash and delivered votes. The only possible antidote to this public pocket-picking is the ballot box. One-term tenure - or shorter - for Gov. Ted Strickland seems very restrained, considering he has just exposed our incomes and savings to unions of state-paid home-health-care and child-care workers.
Peter S. Miller
Stimulus packages won't save the U.S.
To save the United States we must elect a president of the United States, not a president of the world. We must elect people to Congress who are capable of logical thinking. We must have a balanced budget amendment. We must stop all foreign aid until all the federal debt is paid off. We must close all military bases on foreign soil. We must outlaw all lobbying by business and corporations. Earmarks must be eliminated.
The stimulus packages presented by the President and Congress are no good. The money would be borrowed from China and be spent on products made there and in other foreign countries, resulting in more federal debt. The real way to stimulate the economy would be to cut all taxes on gas and fuel. This would cut the cost of transporting goods, thereby cutting the prices for them. This would mean large savings on the products we buy. The money for highways could be made up by closing loopholes in the income taxes.
Fred J. Krumm
Buying U.S. goods better stimulus plan
I am a 76-year-old retired builder. I believe that everyone in the United States should realize that we are being sold down the river by big business, corporations, politicians, and our own government.
No matter what you purchase, things you need or want are made outside the United States. I have noticed that most finish plywood is stamped "Made in China." A six-panel oak door that I installed was stamped "Made in Bangladesh." Most tools and hardware are made in Mexico or elsewhere overseas. Countless workers in this country have lost their jobs, their homes, and their livelihoods because of imports. Some are not eligible for Social Security, which they have paid into their entire working lives.
A letter received recently from Barbara Kennelly, president and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, states, "Now President Bush says 'unsustainable' spending on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and all entitlement programs is 'the biggest challenge to our nation's economic health' - when, in fact, it's this administration's tax-and-spend policies that have fueled historic deficits."
Another letter from National Seniors Council Executive Director Leslie Anderson states, "Protect your Social Security benefits with a new law, a sensible plan to pay back the $2 trillion already 'borrowed' from the Social Security Trust Fund and then stop the trust fund raid." I think pork spending caused most of this problem. I believe everyone should have to pay into Social Security and not into their own tax-subsidized health and retirement benefits that we on Social Security help pay for. These people don't help pay for our Social Security retirement and health benefits.
We need new people in government who are concerned about this country and its residents and not what they get in salaries, benefits, and retirement.
Thomas A. Wise
Windjammers good hockey team name
I am not an ice hockey fan, I've never been to a game, and I don't really know anything about it. But I have to agree with the many fans who are objecting to the names Woodpecker or Peckers. I would not want to be associated with the team if it was called by any of these names.
I read with interest the recent letter in the Readers' Forum suggesting the Scouts and the Windjammers, and it hit me that the perfect name would be the Toledo Windjammers. How appropriate. The puck travels like the wind and is "jammed" by the players. Go for it, fans, go Windjammers!
Need for warm items to wear is still great
As most of you well know, the weather has been excruciatingly cold in the last weeks. This time of the year is the most dangerous to be outside in the elements for an extended period of time. This is also the time of the year that is the hardest to survive for those who are homeless in Toledo.
Many of you have donated much-needed items like coats and blankets to local homeless shelters or other charitable organizations during the holiday season. It was deeply appreciated and they were put to good use. Now I urgently request that Toledo continue to donate critical items to our homeless in order to help them survive these coldest months of the year when donations sharply drop after the holiday "surge." We are in critical need of heavy coats, blankets, hats, gloves, socks, pillows, and personal hygiene items at our shelter at 13th Street and Madison Avenue.
Please remember the items that you donate could potentially save someone's life.
St. Paul's Community Center
Mayor no racist; just don't argue with him
Mayor Carty Finkbeiner is not a racist. He does not discriminate against people based on their race, religion, age, or gender. Actually, the whole issue is very simple. Carty likes to surround himself with "yes people." If you agree with the mayor, he likes you. If you disagree, he doesn't like you. This type of behavior is very common in our society.
More than 2,000 years ago, Socrates spoke of the value of "questioning of another to elicit a clear expression of the truth." Unfortunately, I believe the mayor never read Socrates. Few leaders have the ability to allow for healthy dialogue in the workplace. Great leaders allow their subordinates an opportunity to speak their minds.
Mayor Finbeiner loves people, loves the city of Toledo, and loves his job, but don't disagree with him. If you do, you might find yourself on the unemployment line.
George W. Weidner
As Toledo City Council prepared for a "contentious debate" over CareNet funding, it was refreshing to hear that a brand new member on council took the lead and was able to raise most of the $62,500 needed to fund the program. Congratulations, Tom Waniewski, on a job well done. Not a bad achievement for your first year in office.
With all of the recent stories on political maneuvering within City Council, I wonder how much effort the other council members and Mayor Carty Finkbeiner made to seek outside funding or a long-term solution to this problem.