Aid state retirees
There are compelling reasons why the N.C. legislature should approve either a large raise or a whopping bonus for state retirees. By law, retiree cost-of-living adjustments must be funded via state appropriations. Well, North Carolina is awash with $6 billion in surplus funds, more than enough to support teachers, state employees and retirees. All state and educational employees have waited a long time to be made whole. Retirees have waited a lot longer.
The average state retiree’s 2020 pre-tax annual income was $21,044. That’s about $365 a week after taxes — which happens to be just $15 more than an unemployment check.
Over the 12 years from 2008 to 2020, an average retiree’s check “grew” from $20,233 to $21,590. They got $811 total from three 1% raises. They got two one-time, nonrecurring bonuses worth $546.
That comes to a measly $113 per year since 2008. Reduce that by the 21.7% in inflation during that period, and, well, you get the picture.
Meanwhile, our politicians are proposing state income tax cuts of $14 billion. An income tax cut means nothing to anyone who earns so little. This ball is in your court, Raleigh, and that includes some senators, some representatives and our governor.
In his July 15 column, “Trump’s social media exile was a blessing in disguise,” Marc Thiessen suggests that Donald Trump had suffered from over-exposure and possibly some style points. This is what led to his defeat and, given his exile from social media, he could be in a great position for a comeback in 2024.
Thiessen cites two Gallup polls that indicate the public agrees with Trump that Big Tech has too much influence.
This argument is patently absurd. The only poll that matters showed 51.3% of voters for Biden (over 81 million) and 46.9% for Trump (over 74 million). What decided the election was not “Trump fatigue.” It was two justified impeachments, forced separations of families at the border, incitement of an insurrection, a corrupt administration leading to the pardoning of justly convicted felons and gross dereliction of his responsibility by denying science in favor of personal politics to needlessly exacerbate the COVID scourge.
Unfortunately, the list goes on. It’s a testament to incompetence, ignorance and utter disregard for our system of government. No, Thiessen, this was not a referendum on style points. I hope our institutions have survived this onslaught he attempts to rationalize.
David B. Wilcox
Two questions for Republicans
Why do Republicans hate poor people? Why do Republicans hate and fear all minorities? It is kind of hard to remember not all Republicans are self-absorbed, racist hypocrites. If it was up to Republicans, there would be no charities, nonprofits, Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. When the child tax credit checks began, the first thing out of Republicans’ mouths is to call the tax credit more welfare. The comment was made by Sen. Marco Rubio. Republicans are very adept at turning a blind eye toward people in poverty.
To Republicans everywhere, why don’t you try loving your neighbor instead of trying to take away their right to vote? Why don’t you try working to shrink the massive economic inequalities. In other words, deprogram yourself from Trump, grow a heart and rejoin decent society. Hate is always wrong.
Marijuana grows naturally, has had a variety of useful benefits dating back hundreds of years and after being gradually legalized by states throughout the U.S., is now being considered for medical use in North Carolina. That said, the good news in reading your article about the N.C. Compassionate Care Act is that there is bipartisan support, so regardless of your personal beliefs, this alone should be cause for celebration, given how difficult it’s become to get cross-aisle agreement on many of today’s issues.
But I was troubled by comments from the Christian Action League. Not by what they said, but instead question why their comments were included. The Constitution clearly states we separate church and state, meaning those with religious beliefs, as nonprofits (meaning they pay no taxes so we taxpayers subsidize them), have no standing to take public political positions. Let our elected officials make decisions that reflect their constituents’ views and keep church business inside the church.
I recently had the pleasure of attending a multipart event called “Street Talk” at the International Civil Rights Center and Museum in downtown Greensboro. On June 5 and July 10, numerous community members with diverse backgrounds gathered on Elm Street in front of the ICRCM and talked and listened to one another. The conversations were not surface level; they had depth and were wide-ranging.
In my groups, we discussed everything from reparations to dubious legislation, the role of charitable organizations in society and the government’s responsibility to its citizens. Many topics were discussed and debated. But one major point, on which we all were in agreement, was that those who represent us in our local and national government must do better. They need to listen, and take actions that truly reflect the desires of those who elected them to public office.
The “Street Talk” events have allowed for Greensboro residents to come together and share ideas. There is something even more beautiful than our city about that. Special thanks to John Swaine, his staff and the volunteers for doing a wonderful job. I look forward to future events and I hope to see you there.