There's been a lot of talk about changing the way state and municipal employee unions are allowed to do business. It's called collective bargaining and binding arbitration.
Last November's elections, which gave Republicans a huge 59-40 majority in the Ohio House, were not a fluke. People in Ohio and around the nation have just about had it with the union advantage over the private sector when it comes to generous wages and benefits, all paid for by an overtaxed, underpaid, and largely taken for granted electorate.
Collective bargaining gives unions too much leverage and binding arbitration is biased in favor of the unions. This system was too difficult to combat when tax revenues were significant enough to support it. Those days are gone forever.
Democrats have had it their way long enough. This system was nothing more than a way for them to be assured of the exclusive support of labor to stay in power.
In Lucas County, that system has brought our area to ruin and devastation, and our city to the brink of bankruptcy.
In Ohio, it has meant huge deficits that only a sea change in how our state government does business can correct.
Senate Bill 5 is not an attack on unions or an attempt to punish anyone. It is a last-ditch effort to right our ship of state before it rolls over and sinks in an ocean of debt created by unsustainable municipal labor contracts.
Wis. Democrats ignoring duties
We should applaud the governors who have taken on their role as leaders and run with it. They are making the tough decisions their predecessors would not, for fear of not being re-elected.
Wisconsin's Democratic state senators have run across state lines to hide and ignore their duties ("Troopers searching for missing Democrats." Feb. 25).
Those Democrats seem unable to face the music like true leaders and do what is best for everyone, not just special interests and those who belong to unions.
When expenditures exceed revenues, you have to cut costs. If public-sector employees don't like it, no one is making them stay in their jobs. The golden benefit packages that the public sector has enjoyed for decades are no longer sustainable.
As a payer of those benefit packages, I agree with the governors that public employees need to pay their share of the benefits, as the private sector does, to help balance the budget.
Maybe union members should ask their unions to spend the billions on them instead of on political campaigns. Those billions could have gone a long way to help address today's issues.
An apology by any other name …
I agree with the Feb. 22 Readers' Forum letter "Kasich beginning to show true colors." Ohio Gov. John Kasich made a mistake when he called an officer an idiot after being stopped for a traffic violation. However, the governor has apologized to the officer, who accepted it. That should be the end of it.
I don't recall reading the same reaction when President Obama said the Cambridge police "acted stupidly" in the incident with the Harvard professor. That also resulted in an apology — and a few beers. That apology got a lot more press coverage than the original comment.
Government giveth, taketh
As a senior citizen with a small state pension and no Social Security, I have little more to deprive myself of in the way of necessities. Whatever cost of living raise I have gotten in the last few years, small as it was, has now been taken back.
Federal tax has gone up, as have my medical insurance costs. The amount made me literally gasp when I was notified. As for extras, there are none. More and more necessities are going by the wayside as well.
Some people who have life's extras have no clue about such things, because it is their way of life to have what they want. Seniors on fixed incomes are basically being abused.
Perhaps it is time for Robin Hood and his band of merry men to make a return visit, so that some of us can at least survive.
Rose Acres Drive
Social Security no ‘entitlement'
It makes me angry to hear Social Security referred to as an "entitlement." Social Security is something my husband's generation has paid into since the day it was created. It is a fund that was intended to help people who were desperate at that time, and to provide security for the old age of future generations.
The word "entitlement" implies it is something given to people. Social Security, like insurance, is something that has been paid for by the people who qualify for it.
Congress and several presidents have grubbed in that gold mine. That is theft, a term that is much more precise and accurate.
Willa Dee Maltby
Trash? Private pickup works fine
One of the factors that led to my moving out of Toledo was poor and inconsistent trash pickup.
Now the city wants me and other Lucas County residents outside Toledo to consider joining in countywide service ("Countywide trash plan touted," Feb.18).
Thanks, but no thanks. I pay for private trash collection. There are least three companies in my neighborhood competing for the business. That keeps my price competitive and my level of service consistently high. Take away that competition, and higher prices and poorer service are sure to follow.
Power outage poorly addressed
Toledo's image will be even harder to defend after the electrical power debacle that resulted from last Monday's ice storm ("Punishing ice storm leaves 84,000 without power," Feb. 22).
I don't understand why our city officials seem incapable of getting power restored to 16,000 homes after three cold days and nights of no heat.
If this were an election year, Toledo Mayor Mike Bell would have mobilized every quallified city employee to do electrical work, no matter how much overtime was required. After 72 hours, I had not so much as spotted a Toledo Edison truck or lineman.
Residents of Toledo have experienced home values going down and property taxes going up, and this week city services have reached an all-time low.
The lapse in electrical service is yet another example of how Government Center has failed to give people a reason to stay in this city.
How many days must hardworking citizens huddle around candles wearing winter coats and hats while watching their indoor temperature plummet?
Gone is the initial sense of adventure that surviving without electricity ignited the first day. Now we are facing freezing pipes, spoiling food, and a loss of hope that the lights, television, and furnace will be working anytime soon.
Robert T. Gardner
Our enemies are draining us dry
These days, small disturbances are occurring worldwide. Our aircraft carriers, long-range bombers, submarines, rockets, and highly skilled military men and women are nearly useless to build or save democracy worldwide.
All the while, money is drained from government programs here. It's time to consider turning some of this war materiel into plowshares. We are looking like an exterminator that has only TNT to battle earwigs, crickets, cockroaches, and fleas.
Every pesky enemy we defeat becomes a money-hungry pet. We would be far better off to loot and pillage these unholy rascals.
Or we could enslave them and put them to work building pyramids as the ancient Egyptians did. But then we would have to give them medical care, deliver their babies, and feed and educate them.
We could easily borrow the money from China to accomplish these goals. What's a few more trillion bucks added to what we owe now?