Paid leave is a family values issue and one that is especially important to me. In 2010 my son had a tumor removed from his skull. Neither my husband nor I had enough paid sick leave to be by his side during the surgery and recovery — to care for our son’s well-being. It is not right to have to choose between the well-being of a loved one and one’s employment.
Now lawmakers are proposing taking funds out of Social Security to create a limited parental leave program. Just three months of paid leave would delay their retirement by nearly six months or lead to substantial cuts in their retirement benefits.
Nobody should be forced to trade their earned retirement security for the ability to care for their family.
Fortunately, there’s a better alternative: The Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act (H.R.947/S.337), modeled on successful state programs, would establish a sustainably funded, national paid leave insurance program to guaranteeing some pay and needed time to recover from their own serious illness, care for a new child or a sick family member.
Senators Risch and Crapo need to stand up for Idaho’s working families by supporting the FAMILY Act.
Angela Housley, Boise
A new study in Lancet Planetary Health found a strong link between exposure to air pollution and the development of Type 2 diabetes. Small particles of air pollutants can actually pass through our lung tissue and into our organs, causing chronic inflammation. The biggest sources of these particles in the U.S. are our fossil fuel-burning cars and trucks. This type of air pollution has been shown to cause chronic heart and lung problems, increased emergency room visits and increased preterm births.
The increased risk for diabetes starts at about one-fifth of the small particulate level EPA declares safe, and goes up from there. But this information comes from confidential health records, so new EPA rules don’t allow its use in policy. Basically, the health effects of pollution, one of the most critical areas for us to understand, won’t be considered in public policy.
Every time you see those smoggy skies in Boise, take it personally. It’s affecting your health and your health care costs. I plan to vote in November for politicians who will vote against the EPA’s plan to weaken emission standards for cars, and will support the transition to clean energy at every level.
Nancy Basinger, Boise
Arnold Toynbee in his “A Study of History” says “that civilizations would fall, not because it was inevitable but because governing elites wouldn’t respond adequately to changing circumstances or because they would focus only on their own interests.” Elites fear the idea of change as this might threaten their wealth and power. They also know that the only organization that could balance their power and bring change is the federal government. To avoid this they have driven a wedge between the American people and their government. They also own nearly the entire Republican Party, the Supreme Court as well as most major media outlets. Their propaganda has so confused the struggling public that in anger and with false hope they elected Donald Trump. The result is a national stagnation precisely at a time when a rapidly changing world requires flexibility and adaptability. This can only be achieved when the power of small elites and the government are balanced and both serve the interests of all the people. The ruling elite seems to either not know or not care about the damage they are doing. This leaves us with only a crippled government and our vote. Use it wisely.
Glen Boland, Meridian
I celebrated our American Independence Day thinking of all the rights and freedoms we have and the sacrifices of so many brave individuals who fought, and are fighting, for that freedom. Too bad Republicans from the United States Congress spent yesterday in Moscow, Russia, chummying up to Putin. On the Fourth of July? It is appalling that a portion of the people in this country do not see where we are heading.
June Boucher, Meridian
Whither The Cabin? Indeed. Just what the Vanishing Boise folks are talking about. If the architects are so great, surely they can incorporate The Cabin in their design.
And while I’m at it, if the West Boise folks are feeling left out of things, let them have the “proposed” multi-use stadium.
Pam Fraser, Boise