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Thursday, June 26, 2014 12:01 am

Letters to the Editor 6/26/14



In the June 19 Illinois Times, Jim Hightower urges raising the national minimum wage to $15 per hour (“A bold shift in America’s minimum wage debate”). But why raise it to only $15? Why not $100? Why not $1,000,000 per hour?

When I started work in 1960, my dream was to make $2.50 per hour. The minimum wage then was $1 per hour. However, in 1960 you could buy a decent house for less than $15,000, a new car for less than $2,000 or mail letters for four cents and postcards for one cent. A carton of cigarettes was $1.80. Night clubs were cheap: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. plus two drinks totaled $5.

In Turkey in 2000, everyone was a millionaire. But a million Turkish lira was worth 67 cents American. Of course you could buy very little with a million lira. Turkey, and other countries, saw the folly of this and reformed their currencies. Does the United States wish to become another Weimar Republic?

Raising the minimum wage, and the resultant inflation, would wipe out the assets of anyone with savings accounts or government bonds and destroy anyone on a fixed income while moving workers into higher tax brackets. It would do nothing to raise the standard of living for low-wage workers.

What counts is not the salary but its purchasing power. Control inflation. Raising the minimum wage solves nothing!

Lawrence Bay
Port Byron, Illinois


Regulations aren’t nearly enough. (“The future of power,” by Patrick Yeagle, June 12.) There’s a better way: A revenue-neutral carbon tax, paid to taxpayers rather than by them. We use that tax money to switch to solar and wind energy, which will scale up and become cheaper than fossil fuels are now. Fossil fuels will be phased out by market forces much faster than by the EPA. A new REMI economic report shows this plan will help, not hurt, our economy.

So far climate-change disasters have cost U.S. taxpayers over a trillion dollars (NOAA) and the International Energy Agency estimates that just two more years of delay in making major CO2 cuts will cost $4 trillion more. The latest IPCC reports say we’ll be facing “catastrophic” global warming if we don’t make drastic cuts in CO2 emissions in the next 15 years. We’ll need to start soon to achieve those cuts in time.

So will other nations like China and India. The EPA can do nothing to affect that, but a carbon tax placed on imports can. The higher the producer-country’s CO2 emissions, the higher the tax.

The EPA carbon regulations also ignore methane, a greenhouse gas 100 times more powerful than CO2, emitted by fracking, which makes natural gas just as bad as coal. If all the EPA does is create a switch from coal to natural gas it will have done nothing about global warming.

The Citizens Climate Lobby website has more on the revenue-neutral carbon tax that’s supported by eight Nobel economists.

Lynn Goldfarb
Lancaster, Pennsylvania


I simply don’t understand why it’s taken more than 20 years for Congress to take action to help America’s local businesses.

I’m talking about the unfair advantage online-only retailers have over the small businesses lining our main streets. By not requiring online-only businesses to collect our state’s sales tax, Congress subsidizes them, placing their interests above local small businesses. As a result, more of our Main Street shops are cutting back or shuttering their doors.

I just don’t see why anyone would think it’s acceptable to hold similar businesses to different tax requirements. That flies in the face of the free-market system upon which our great nation was built. It’s the government picking winners and losers, plain and simple.

The Senate already passed e-fairness legislation by way of the Marketplace Fairness Act last year. It’s the right solution because it levels the playing field for businesses and it ensures the sales taxes paid by consumers benefit the communities where they live. It’s time for the House to show they also support the local businesses by passing e-fairness legislation once and for all.

Dennis Rieken

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