The Statesman recently publicized a study by the Cato Institute showing maximum government safety net benefits exceeding the wages that someone could earn at a minimum wage job. Cato, of course, concluded that the government is too generous, discouraging people from working. Neither Cato nor the Statesman acknowledged that a parent with two children would still be well under the official poverty line in either case. Neither mentioned that minimum wage jobs do not typically offer health insurance, nor that parents who try to work their way off welfare reach the income cap for food stamps before their wages are high enough to actually support the family.
Why do we have minimum wage laws? So workers get a share from their productivity.
Why do we have welfare, food stamps, and Medicaid? So that children can grow up healthy and not traumatized by extreme poverty in this land of abundance.
It makes no sense to push either wages or benefits to some minimum where the desperation levels are equal. Not in America. It's time for all of us to face up to who is paying for our lower prices, our profits, and our dividends.
DARCY JAMES, Boise
Apparently Chet Bowers believes everything he reads (Sept. 2). He quotes one irresponsible article on cats that was, upon publication, widely disputed on mainstream news.
Every living thing hunts for food and breeds. Truth is, feral cats usually starve to death trying to "fend for themselves," as do domesticated cats when lazy, heartless people dump them to die. Bowers says cats are "killing machines." Apply the same logic, and humans would be first on the list as a "killing machine." And boy, that's a long list.
Bowers assures us that dog owners "live under strict licensing and behavioral restrictions." Really? How many times has anyone observed dogs defecating on their property or barking until they go crazy with neglect or wandering off leash in public parks, along walking trails, at community events, etc.?
Bowers claims that something must be done. Money and/or traps should be handed out. He demands action from political leaders. You know where that leads right to you, the taxpayer who should presumably fund his hatred of cats. Gee, what an original idea. Let me say this: We're all God's creatures. Even you, Bowers. Educate yourself. Then add some compassion and stir.
LAURA NEPPL, Boise
Regarding Chet Bowers' comments on cats, I agree that there are too many feral cats at least in our neighborhood. I have two cats and I guess I should be thankful that they use my flowerbeds, but then, so do all the other cats in the area. Annoying? You bet.
Not sure what action political and civic leaders could take to alleviate this issue. I believe that all pet owners have a responsibility to their pets as well as their neighbors. Cat traps? Good luck, you will be more likely to capture a raccoon or your neighbor's dog. A bounty? What if the humane society turns you away?
I wish the "responsible dogs" in our area would 1) carry a bag and scoop and clean up when they defecate on my lawn; 2) clean up the sidewalk that they responsibly use rather than my flower beds; 3) quit howling, barking, yipping all day because their owners left them alone and that includes the 2 a.m. barkers that are left outside because their owners went back to bed. Cats are not the only animals that inconvenience their neighbors.
CORRINE M. SMITH, Boise
Variety of faiths
I have been following the series of editorials regarding opposing views regarding Christianity. All my life, I have been taught: In essentials unity, in nonessentials; liberty, in all things love. While I understand that "essentials" may be different for different faiths, I believe the meaning of the phrase is that we, as followers of Christ, have some common ground that we can embrace.
Like many people, I have friends and family members from a variety of different faiths, as well as some who have fallen away from their faith. When I attend church services of other Christian faiths, I am always able to be fed spiritually even if I don't agree with everything in the service. As Christians, if we spent as much time building each other up and reaching out to unbelievers as we do focusing on our differences, we could make a profound difference in our world.
KERON PRIVON, Eagle
Secretary of State John Kerry has correctly called the chemical attack on civilians in Syria a "moral obscenity." This attack is morally obscene no matter who perpetrated it. But that this should push the country into taking military action on Syria only shows selective humanitarian outrage. This is hypocritical.
We have witnessed many other gruesome violations of human rights recently that are just as obscene: mass killing of protesters in Egypt and Bahrain; mass rape of women and children in DR Congo; our own drone attacks killing civilians in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen; an epidemic of birth defects in Fallujah in the aftermath of our attack on that city - just to name a few. Should we attack Syria, where could the moral compass of America point to knowing that our military action will inevitably cause more civilian deaths?
Instead of arming various factions against Assad in Syria and fueling a deadly civil war as we have done for months, we could have attempted bringing different sides together to find a diplomatic solution. Failing to act responsibly as we have in this case is also a moral obscenity.
AZAM HOULE, Boise
Boots on the ground
"Boots on the ground", a prolific phrase that is being thrown around by politicians of all stripes is a tiresome euphemism for sending our service members into harms way.
We know the result-thousands of them have returned with dreadful injuries that each will live with for a lifetime, and thousands more have not returned at all. Those "boots on the ground" are not some remote control weapon that will fight our wars for us. They contain young Americans who deserve to be called what they are -humans with a soul.
I recommend that we not send them to any more foreign soil just to demonstrate that our politicians "mean what they say".
ROBERT MINNIS, Minnis
Real news in the truth of entitlements and liberties. It's control!
Entitlements (given): food; shelter; job (wages); health care; phones; etc.
Liberties (taken away): speech (character assassination, not same view); property (restrictions, taxes, eminent domain rights, commerce); process (government can't do to you presidential executive order ignoring laws passed, ignore Constitution); life (inflation, taxes, restrictions).
By good intentions progressives say you deserve these entitlements, so they help by taking from others, making you an accomplice to their actions, chaining you to them by dependency, in other words they have made you their slaves. But also in doing this they have infringed on others in federal debt and liberties.
All entitlements listed are manmade by the work and sweat of others. There is no shame in getting help, but there is shame in not giving back and there is shame in not striving to do better.
There is no virtue in the criminal abuse of these entitlements. Where are the checks and balances? Where are the jobs that help you in the step up and out of the muck? Answer: Smothered in government politics, regulations and being strangled to death.
MARGARET LEE, Caldwell
End corporate person-hood, get money out of politics.
The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons only.
Artificial entities established by the laws of any state, the United States, or any foreign state shall have no rights under this Constitution and are subject to regulation by the People, through federal, state, or local law.
The privileges of artificial entities shall be determined by the People, through federal, state, or local law, and shall not be construed to be inherent or inalienable.
Federal, state, and local government shall regulate, limit, or prohibit contributions and expenditures, including a candidate's own contributions and expenditures, to ensure that all citizens, regardless of their economic status, have access to the political process, and that no person gains, as a result of their money, substantially more access or ability to influence in any way the election of any candidate for public office or any ballot measure.
Federal, state, and local government shall require that any permissible contributions and expenditures be publicly disclosed.
The judiciary shall not construe the spending of money to influence elections to be speech under the First Amendment.
BYRON RICHMOND, Boise