Sounding off: Legalized pot is a gateway drug | TribLIVE.com
Letters to the Editor

Sounding off: Legalized pot is a gateway drug

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Having a family member who went through outpatient rehab a few years back, I am amazed that Pennsylvania would consider legalizing marijuana. During every family meeting I attended, it was stated that marijuana is a gateway drug. Has that changed? Make it legal, and the next step could be cocaine, crack or heroin. We have a large-scale heroin problem in our area. How is this going to help?

It seems that Gov. Tom Wolf and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman are more concerned with the income it could generate than the lives lost when/if legalized marijuana becomes the gateway drug to some poor soul’s drug addiction.

Susan Jones, Ligonier


We need responsible voters

In her plea for automatic voter registration, state Rep. Sara Innamorato makes the common (common to Democrats, at least) mistake of conflating the principles of economics with those of government (“It’s time for automatic voter registration in Pa.,”).

In commerce, input from everyone gives the market information it needs to efficiently provide the greatest amount of stuff for the greatest number. Business is utilitarian and amoral, and it works great.

On the other hand, the principles of good government are ethical. The job of government is to protect the state from external threats and preserve the rights of the people. Government may also provide public services unless doing so abrogates individual rights. While a dumb or unethical consumer still contributes to efficient markets, a dumb or unethical voter causes harm. Good government depends onvoters who bother to learn something about political philosophy, ethics and economics … people who understand and care about the principles of good government and vote for candidates who will uphold them.

A voter registration system that requires a bit of effort at least ensures that those registered have some foresight and initiative. Automatic voter registration just serves to enable voter fraud and exploitation.

Arthur Moeller, Fairfield


Minimum wage hike will hurt poor

Does it make you feel better that the minimum wage is going up? You’ve been told that it will help the working class poor, and this will help increase what they have to spend and the economy. Wrong, wrong and wrong.

There’s no evidence to support the claim. Increasing the minimum wage leads to fewer jobs, businesses closing and higher prices. It’s simple logic. For every action there is an opposite and equal reaction. When you raise payroll, someone has to pay for it in the form of higher prices and taxes.

The truth is that union contracts are tied to the minimum wage. Gov. Tom Wolf is paying off his voter base. It’s a feel-good measure that’s going to cost everyone more money and hurt the working poor the most.

Raymond Schratz, Butler


Hunting in Pennsylvania

I’ve hunted in Pennsylvania for 62 years and missed only one year due to travel. I missed many opening days of buck season due to school and work requirements, but that didn’t deter me. In life one does what is required at the moment and not what is convenient.

Things I’ve read and heard recently about hunting are discouraging. Hunting opportunities and the hunting environment far outweigh hunting license sales. While the general interest in hunting is declining,it’s more likely that Pennsylvania Game Commission decisions have had a greater effect on license sales. I’ve never encountered the complacency that hunters now display due to a feeling of non-control over commission decisions.

Going to a Saturday opening for the deer rifle season will surely result in fewer license sales due to the proximity of Thanksgiving and the constraints it puts on travel. If what I’ve heard is accurate, the majority opinion of game commissioners does not reflect the majority opinion of hunters.

Allowing hunting on Sunday also bothers me, and it will certainly bother those who are non-hunters.

Instead of increased license sales, the commission should be focused on the real needs of hunters.

Robert Uhrin, Mendham, N.J.


Here’s what Trump has done

Regarding Carl Mochak’s letter “Trump must be impeached”: It seems like you’re in line with the Trump haters.

Your last line asked what has he done for me. Here’s what he’s done: more than 4 million jobs created since his election, including 400,000 manufacturing jobs; 4.2 percent economic growth last quarter; unemployment at a 49-year low, with unemployment at its lowest rate ever for African-Americans and the lowest in 17 years for women; 3.9 million less people on food stamps since his election; tax cuts benefiting many that not one Democrat voted for; $300 billion reinvested in the U.S.; Obamacare individual mandate gone; right to try. The list goes on and on.

God has helped us, Carl.

Tom Behun, North Huntingdon


What’s happening to our country?

Are politicians really working for us? Can there be no compromise? Is the revelation that a governor put on a black face or white sheet, more than 30 years ago, really more offensive than the bill he backs that legalizes the murder of an infant in the late third trimester?

Must a highly regarded university cover its wall paintings of Columbus because approximately 300 people are opposed? What about the opinions of 12,000 enrollees or the alumni of that university? Do they get a say in the matter?

Do we really believe that illegal immigrants should take precedence over immigrants trying to enter our country legally? Do we really have to tear down our historical statues because a handful of people object to them?

Our history has not always been great but, judging by the people wanting to enter, we are still the best country in the world. Has our rich history been forgotten? Whatever happened to the teaching of civics? Shouldn’t our students study the workings of our government? Do people realize that all the free things being promised must be paid for by someone? Do people understand who pays for government largesse?

Do we really need “safe rooms” for college students? Shouldn’t college learning experiences include many things? Why should opposing points of view make students feel unsafe? Perhaps they are not yet mature enough to be away from home in a college atmosphere.

What is happening to our beloved country?

Dorothea Cremonese, Hempfield


Josh Shapiro and Medicare competition

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, appears on the front page taking UPMC to court to force it to permit Highmark Medicare recipients to forever be entitled to UPMC’s lower in-networkrates for their physicians, services and hospitals, eliminating the inherent competition between the two firms (“AG Shapiro: UPMC’s ‘corporate greed’ hurting patients”).

A senior woman attending Shapiro’s recent press conference complained that her UPMC oncologist, who she has seen for seven years, will become an “out-of-network,” more expensive doctor, while shedesires to remain with Highmark. This action would disadvantage UPMC and all its clients, while Highmark expands its business with the best prices in both going to their clients.

News for Shapiro, the headlined woman and those who read this letter: Each fall, Medicare-eligible people can elect to change their provider. There is actually real competition to change providers if it’sbeneficial. Republicans generally propose “across state lines” competition to expand these choices. Shapiro’s distressed woman can simply change her coverage to UPMC and continue using her oncologistat UPMC’s “in-network” rates. This is competition.

People are not stupid and do not need the likes of Shapiro to litigate reduced competition for political purpose. How much state money is he wasting on this case when all that’s needed is some good adviceto the distressed woman? (Refer to the “Medicare & You” handbook, issued annually by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to find the best Pennsylvania program for you.)

Len Bach, Murrysville

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