Sounding off: American dream needs borders |
Letters to the Editor

Sounding off: American dream needs borders

In this April 28, 2010, photo, men look for a place to sleep in a crowded shelter for migrants deported from the United States, in the border city of Nogales, Mexico. U.S. authorities are fast-tracking families’ cases through the immigration courts in a pilot program aimed at discouraging many from making the journey to seek refuge in the United States.

There’s no American dream without a border. It marks the beginning of differences between what’s inside the boundary and what’s outside. Some of those differences are opportunities, some are the laws designed to protect the people within.

Without laws, a person’s assets might easily be exploited or stolen by others. Consider home ownership. Trespass laws forbid people from taking up residence in our homes without permission, even if accompanied by heartbreakingly innocent kids. However cruel that seems, all of us — including politicians and Immigration and Customs Enforcement protesters who oppose constitutional immigration law — expect protection from a forced home invasion, even one involving illegal immigrants and their children.

Similar law has always applied at our borders.

I don’t know anyone opposed to legal immigration or valid asylum claims. Nor anyone unmoved by the misfortune of others, including our homeless and hungry. Most of us volunteer time and donate money to help the needy, but too many political parasites exploit them. They weaponize human heartbreak. They purposely fail to address immigration reform. And the very worst envision a land of handouts designed to deliver unconstitutional votes.

The obnoxious president most of us didn’t vote for is dead right. To doubt that is to permanently jeopardize our children’s standard of living. How? By condemning them to funding support for the unlimited number of asylum (some say “entitlement”) seekers that one increasingly radical political party would accept without regard to law.

An enforced border defines the start of the dream. Without it, America is just land to be squatted on.

Robert Szypulski

Penn Township, Westmoreland County

Politicians’ oath is to Constitution

Will we make it to 2021?

OK … many people support President Trump, but this has now moved in a very scary direction. I beg of everyone to reject the idea that citizens — especially elected citizens — should leave the country if they don’t agree with things our country/current leadership does.

We are trying to create a more perfect union. We will disagree. Both sides have valid points. Both sides take it too far. That is just how politics works.

Take time to read the oath that everyone representing us and defending/protecting us takes. The oath is not to the country, rather it is to the Constitution. It may just be a piece of paper, but the words on it have made us who we are today.

Don’t be fooled into thinking there are easy answers to the issues we face. Facing them united should be the goal.

Ken Bach, South Huntingdon

Role of trees, forests in Western Pa. flooding

Regarding Bob Bauder’s article “What’s causing Route 28 to flood? PennDOT might have found the reason”: I would urge your readers to consider the role that deforestation and poor forest management plays in flooding and landslide events locally.

Our steep terrain is stabilized by tree roots, and rainwater is captured and slowly released into the ground thanks to tree canopy. Clear cutting forests for development and topping or removing trees for a better view — particularly on steep slopes — increases rain water run-off to low-lying land and increases the chances for landslides. According to U.S. Forest Service researchers, a patch of 100 mature trees catches about 139,000 gallons of rainwater per year.

To put this into context, our analysis shows that Allegheny County lost 10,000 acres of tree canopy between 2010-15. At 100 trees per acre, this is equivalent to nearly 1.4 billion extra gallons of rainfall directly running off onto the land.

There is no doubt that illegal dumping impacts the stability of slopes and the landscape’s ability to absorb rainwater. However, I would ask PennDOT and others to consider the critical role that well-maintained trees and forests play in mitigating the impact of storm and landslide damage.

Danielle Crumrine, South Side

The writer is executive director of Tree Pittsburgh.

Immigrants are a valuable resource

Today’s immigrants to the United States come for the same reason that your and my ancestors did. They want to work and enjoy freedom from fear and oppression. They work and pay taxes. They start new businesses at a far greater rate than native born Americans. (Half again greater, according to Inc. magazine.)

The greatest periods of prosperity in the U.S. were the periods of the greatest immigration. We are foolish to fear immigrants. They should be considered a valuable resource for our country.

Most economists — including the ones at the Wharton School (alma mater of Donald Trump) — conclude that immigration (both legal and illegal) is a net positive to the economy (according to Inc.).

Yes, there are some criminals among them. There are plenty of native born criminals, too. Lots of the native born ones have stolen so much that they are now part of the power structure that gives tax breaks to the rich (themselves). A lot of them reside in the District of Columbia, unfortunately.

Charles Henry, Greensburg

‘Medicare for all’ is political folly

I am over 65, and Medicare is my primary medical insurance provider. Approximately one year ago, I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer (Stage 2). My chosen medical team from a large regional medical care provider put together a comprehensive program of care. The full retail cost of my treatment to date exceeds three-quarters of a million dollars. Medicare in its review of medical cost submissions by my providers approved only 13% of the aggregate cost.

To what extent my treatment was subsidized by the other operations of the large medical provider? Impossible to tell, but it is known that regular commercial insurance plans reimburse at rates significantly higher than Medicare and therefore make current Medicare reimbursements viable.

“Medicare for All” would require an extensive rework of the reimbursement system, as current Medicare reimbursements won’t sustain the medical system we have, resulting in shortages and rationing. An immediate problem is that current concepts for “Medicare for All” dispense with all other medical care plans with 150 to 200 million participants. Frankly, this would be political folly for the candidates promoting these schemes.

I would support an expansion of Medicare to persons 60 or older who do not have viable medical insurance.

James Kvitkovich, Hempfield

Democratic-dominated Pittsburgh is doing fine

As a lifelong Republican, I look with dismay and a great deal of disgust at many of our largest cities — Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles and San Francisco, to name a few — all dominated by a single party, the Democratic Party, for years, some for decades. They all seem to be trying to outdo the other in violence, murder and corruption. I am not sure they can be saved.

By contrast, I look with some wonder at my lifelong home city, Pittsburgh. This city has made the conversion from heavy industry, mostly the steel industry, to one of prominence in the fields of education, medical care and high tech with apparent ease. Our streets are not clogged with homeless, nor are they laden with human waste and trash. Signs of an improved economy are everywhere.

This did not just happen by chance, but by a lot of hard work by a diverse lot of Pittsburghers in government and the private sector. The city is also dominated by the Democratic Party, but it is not run in the manner of the above cities. My hat is off to them. I deeply appreciate the difficult job being done.

Lloyd Kline, Mt. Lebanon

We’ll never see gambling, carbon tax proceeds

The risibility of reality distortion was on display in the July 24 edition of the Trib. At the top of the Opinion page was a cartoon depicting how the promised revenues from gambling were to be returned to citizens in the form of property tax relief — but weren’t.

Below was a letter (“Conservative case for carbon tax”) insisting that the proposed Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act tax would result in return of the tax to citizens to offset the higher cost of fossil fuel use under the act — as if it wouldn’t be seized for government boondoggles like the gambling taxes were. The promise of millions of “green” jobs was also hilarious; higher energy cost means lower economic productivity — period.

Let’s pass the EICDA right after we get our property tax refunds — or fall off our turnip truck.

George Steele, Wilkins

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