I am not advocating a literacy test as a prerequisite for voting, but it would be very helpful if potential voters read Jack Lessenberry's Feb. 18 Blade op-ed column before they vote on candidates and issues (Michigan's bills have all come due").
They would understand why Michigan and many other states -- including Ohio -- are in desperate financial straits.
It is unfortunate for our country and community that by continually kicking the can down the road, we are faced with Draconian budget reductions that will affect quality of life for future generations as well as our own.
If national, state, and local governments can be efficient and effective in delivering services, there is absolutely nothing sinful about raising taxes in an appropriate manner. Failure to deal with current issues fairly and responsibly will have unfortunate results for our country.
The Republican and Democratic parties share the blame for much of the current situation. I hope these parties can work together and share in the success of meeting the challenges facing our nation.
George M. Glasser
Glaston Oaks Court
A better solution than the labor bill
Eliminating state employees' right to collective bargaining, although extreme, would certainly make Democrats' lives easier ("Demonstrators protest Ohio labor law changes," Feb. 18).
No longer would they have to try to say no to those people largely responsible for getting them elected.
Perhaps a better solution would be to make public contracts more like some private contracts.
If you are an hourly worker and take a sick day, you don't get paid. If you are salaried, you get paid for sick days but not for overtime. Neither gets paid for not using sick days.
If you have health insurance in your private job, you can be sure you will pay an increasing portion of the costs, both premiums and co-pays.
If you are fortunate enough to get a private pension, it is calculated on base pay, not total pay. It won't increase your pension to work a lot of overtime your last three working years. There is no cost-of-living increase for private pensions.
I understand people don't want to give up the benefits they have. But it's hard to feel sorry for them when I never enjoyed the same benefits.
Joseph E. Pflager
Balancing budget on workers' backs
Ohio Gov. John Kasich and the legislature are preparing to cut state funding for schools, counties, cities, villages, and townships.
State leaders will suggest local governments reduce their numbers of employees, wages, and benefits -- and are planning to help accomplish this. They have begun a campaign to blame public employees for state deficits.
Senate Bill 5 was introduced to eliminate collective bargaining for state and higher education employees, and seriously undermine collective bargaining for K-12 employees. There has been no attempt to negotiate with state and local unions.
Public employees are scapegoats in a deliberately misleading propaganda campaign. Without unions, state and federal governments would be free to drive down all wages and eliminate health and safety regulations, the minimum wage, and the 40-hour workweek. This would benefit their most generous campaign contributors and investors seeking to acquire higher profits at your expense.
Collective bargaining did not create the budget deficit, and repealing it won't fix it.
Public employees have proven time and again their commitment to serving the needs of Ohio citizens by renegotiating contracts during the budget crisis.
Significant layoffs of state employees have resulted in increased workloads for remaining workers. During the last nine years, state workers have taken five years of pay freezes and other concessions.
Radical measures such as Senate Bill 5 would only create more strife and tension in state and local governments at a time when Ohioans need everyone's help more than ever.
It's time to stand up for the middle class and just say no to the manipulation of government by corporations for personal greed. Make your voice heard.
Oak Harbor, Ohio
Perhaps a recall is the right call
Is it too early to consider recalling John Kasich, Ohio's radical new governor?
Stop exporting our jobs overseas
It happens every time. Businesses make bad or unwise choices, send our jobs to China, and import workers who will work for lower wages than American workers. They send American jobs to China and then have the gall to blame union workers for the recession.
Darn near everything you pick up in any store is made in China. And it's not cheaper for us. It lines the pockets of the stockholders and a few at the top. How can we have a tax base when jobs have gone overseas?
Union workers didn't create this mess; the CEOs and their cronies did. Middle-class workers in the United States can't compete with China or Third World countries.
I've got news for Governor Kasich. The only decent jobs for regular folks without college degrees are union jobs.
The governor doesn't want the prevailing wage, he wants minimum wage (read: slave wage). The selling of our economy to China makes us weak and dependent on inferior, cheaply made goods.
In the end, the middle-class workers in this country will bear the brunt of the shortsighted ignorance of our leaders. We'll be expected to pony up and tighten our belts because of their mistakes. I say, let them take the first step and cut their salaries in half.
House action to cut funds ironic
It is ironic that Republicans in the U.S. House would cut off federal funds for Planned Parenthood ("House's focus turns to social issues, new regulations," Feb. 18).
Planned Parenthood's efforts cause fewer unwanted pregnancies. The organization is probably the greatest force in the country for reducing abortions.
John A. Galbraith
Reversing cultural decline in America
People are talking about decline these days -- the decline of America, of education, of the family, of morals and values, of health care, of religion. Most of the talk is about trying to find the cause, or place blame. We should spend our energy on ascent instead of decline.
We do need to start with the children -- our future. As parents and teachers, we need to be how we want them to be.
We need to be honest: Return the overpayment the clerk gave us, give our accurate age when purchasing a ticket, be honest on taxes.
We need to be helpful: See what we can do for our family, friends, and community.
We need to be respectful: Talk respectfully to our children, our spouse, the teacher, the neighbor, and people with whom we come in contact. Yelling at your child, losing your temper, slapping your child, or using sarcasm is not going to make your child kind. It is how you create a bully.
When children see us be polite to others and to them, they learn to be polite. We need to teach them that the meanness that they see on TV shows, and commercials and in games is not acceptable. It's not funny when someone gets hurt. Reality shows should not be our reality.
We often tell children how to behave, but everywhere they look they see a different picture.
When we go through a stop sign without stopping because there's no policeman watching, we're teaching them to disobey. We're teaching them that if no one is looking, it's OK to disregard the law.
Barbara and David Doane
House and Home Show was great
It was excellent to have the House and Home Show at SeaGate Convention Centre (Feb. 18-20). I hope the Home and Garden show (March 11-13) will provide an emotional high before the actual arrival of spring. More beautiful flowers, please.