The less fortunate
I couldn’t believe the letter by David Kessler of Zephyrhills about how an increase in the minimum wage will hurt seniors (“Rise up, seniors,” Your Views, March 24). He asked, “Do they get their Social Security raised?” He is totally ignorant when he said that Social Security doesn’t go up with inflation. He has gotten almost a 7 percent raise since the last time the minimum wage was increased. I can’t remember a more selfish letter.
Since I lived and worked in Zephyrhills for a number of years, I can tell you about the average senior living there. Their Zephyrhills address is their second home. They have enough money to insure, pay taxes and utility bills, etc., for two homes. They most assuredly did not work for minimum wage, as many in the area are retired auto workers with big pensions that are no longer available to those working today. The retirees are much better off than the many in the community working at the restaurants and serving him — when was the last time the tip wage was raised?
I wonder how Kessler would feel if all those on minimum wage urged everyone to eliminate Social Security increases, because they are the ones paying for it, and it hurts them. I hope Kessler does a little soul searching and decides to rant about the money that the 1 percent are making instead of going after those less fortunate.
Regarding “Rise up, seniors:” The writer is correct. “All seniors should look at this (Obama) administration long and hard” … and then make a historical comparison. The GOP invented the Medicare doughnut hole resulting in the writer’s description of “seniors who cut their pills in half” and “only eat one or maybe two meals a day.”
In 2009, Medicare assisted seniors with prescription costs up to a ceiling of $2,700. Costs between $2,700 and $4,000 (the doughnut hole) were 100 percent the responsibility of seniors. In 2014, thanks to the dreaded Obamacare, seniors in the doughnut hole will pay only 72 percent of the cost of generic drugs. This cost will be gradually reduced to 25 percent in 2020.
It was Florida’s GOP-controlled government that refused to expand Medicaid, which would have cost the state nothing for three years and 10 percent thereafter. Medicaid provides health assistance to low-income seniors, seniors with very expensive health costs, as well as to other citizens in need. The lame GOP excuse was that the federal government could not be trusted to keep its word. However, the not-to-be trusted federal government provided 36.93 percent of the 2009 Florida GOP-approved budget.
So, seniors and others, please follow the writer’s advice and, “This fall vote for those candidates you feel will protect seniors” … and the other Americans who make up the 99 percent.
Howard F. Harris Jr.
‘Work to eat’
In the March 23 Views section columnist John Grant brought an alarming situation to our attention (“An alarming and disarming budget”). In at least 35 states welfare benefits pay out more than a minimum-wage job; in 13 states the payout is more than $15 an hour. And even more shocking, in 11 states, if someone were to draw all of the welfare benefits they are “entitled” to, their pay would be more than that of a newly college-educated teacher who is burdened with student loan debt.
I believe it is time to once again attempt to get a very high percentage of aid recipients back to work if at all physically possible. “Work to eat” certainly would get their attention. I know it was tried a long time ago, but our economy is at a stage where we cannot have more folks receiving aid than the number of those working to support them. It’s not working! This country was built on individuals’ labors, called blood, sweat and tears. Not everyone was promised to have everything supplied so they could sit at home and enjoy their unencumbered lifestyle.
Virtue of humility
Regarding “Former student’s discovery doesn’t surprise his teachers” (front page, March 25): I felt a great sense of amazement at the unveiling of the major scientific announcement from one prophetic young man who was originally schooled at one of the best training grounds in the bay area — 100-plus-year-old Jesuit High School of Tampa.
Yet, as I read the quotes from longstanding Jesuit teachers Mike Morin and Bill Eggert; classmate, valedictorian and now James A. Haley Veteran’s Hospital radiologist David Cartaya; scientist John Kovac’s mother; and especially Kovac himself, I also got goose bumps from how reporter Jerome Stockfisch conveyed their out-of-the-park spirit of the virtue of humility.