Sounding off: Who will get reparations? |
Letters to the Editor

Sounding off: Who will get reparations?

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke visits Cargo Coffee in Madison, Wis., Sunday, March 17, 2019.

Many politicians on the left, including Beto O’Rourke, have stated that they support reparations for African-Americans.

I would like to know how they would determine who is a descendent of slavery. Is a person’s color going to be the determinant, or does a person have to have documentation in order to be paid? What about the Irish, Italians, Polish and others forced to America as indentured servants?

I would like to know, since my ancestors were forced to work in coal mines, live in company houses and buy at company stores, and received little or no pay. For most of their lives they were de facto slaves to a coal company.

How will the leftists and Democratic Party justify reparations for blacks and not the rest of us with ancestors who were used as slaves? My ancestors worked their way out of the situation they were in.

It is time the black community realizes the Democrats are trying to use them in order to take over the government. This is 2019, not 1819; slavery has been abolished for almost 200 years. You have never been anyone’s slave. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise. You can go as far as your talent can take you. The only person who can stop you is you.

John T. Watson, North Huntingdon

Climate activism not just for Democrats

Regarding the article “Gore: US getting close to political shift on climate change”: Climate activism is not just for Democrats; however, it has been associated with them. The article implies that conservatives and moderates being pushed toward action are outsiders to climate change, coming late to the party the liberals are in charge of. My own work with conservatives concerned with climate change refutes this impression.

There is indeed legislation so partisan as the Green New Deal that troubles the more economically conservative, but there is also bipartisan, even free-market legislation aimed at combatting climate change. The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act sets a fee for carbon emissions, and that money — instead of going to the government — will go straight into the pockets of American citizens, making up for whatever cost increases come from the fee.

With climate change such a polarizing an issue, bipartisan efforts are given little attention, so conservatives start to think they have no place in climate activism. Look into it and contact your members of Congress so we can show that climate activism is for everybody.

Kevin Marston, Monroeville

The writer is a member of the University of Pittsburgh’s chapter of Citizen’s Climate Lobby.

Gov. Tom Wolf’s tax plan will hurt consumers

Gov. Tom Wolf must enjoy Groundhog Day, as his latest plan, Restore Pennsylvania, is simply the same attempt to tax and borrow on the backs of citizens. Like Groundhog Day, Wolf’s plan is the same every year. The only difference is that every year he masks his attempt to tax the natural gas industry with some new, slick rhetoric.

The Restore Pennsylvania plan is simply the governor’s way of achieving a campaign promise to tax an industry that has delivered affordable prices for consumers, saved taxpayers money and provided economic growth for Pennsylvania. Additionally, the natural gas industry has paid nearly $1.5 billion in taxes already.

As Pennsylvania continues to make good use of our natural resources for both economic and security gains, the future of the industry may be impacted by yet another attempt by Wolf to accomplish a severance tax. Five years ago, he told us this tax would raise over $1 billion in Pennsylvania. The math simply did not support that rhetoric five years ago and today the governor’s message that a tax can “Restore Pennsylvania” must also be rejected. This tax will only hurt consumers and reverse Pennsylvania’s economic growth.

Randi Fowler Bick, Upper St. Clair

Leaving the liberals

I recommend that anyone who is a member of a minority (homosexual, black, Hispanic, women, et al.) and has a deep resentment of President Trump, or who cannot understand how any rational person could support this president, view Mark Levin’s March 3 interview with #WalkAway movement founder Brandon Straka on “Life, Liberty & Levin.”

Levin allows Straka, who is gay, to tell the story of his “conversion” from liberal to conservative in his own words. He is very convincing and even humorous.

You may agree or disagree, but you’ll have to admit that Straka is good at opening a much-needed dialogue between opposing factions.

Michael Contes, New Kensington

Socialism never works

There are some scary things going on in our country. The influential radical left of the Democratic Party is aggressively promoting economic socialism. As economist Thomas Sowell said, socialism sounds great, but simply has never worked.

Socialist policies promise free college, medical care, housing and support, so they attract poorly informed, naive voters.

Sounds great, but the history of socialism tells us that soon taxes go up, prices go up, inflation skyrockets, supplies run short, theft increases, unemployment goes up, people start demonstrating and destroying property, crime goes up, and people actually start leaving their country — as now is happening in Venezuela.

Years ago, my grandparents left Poland to come to the United States in search of work, opportunity and freedom. They told me socialism was ruining their country. It was so bad that they continually had to send American dollars to support their families in Europe.

Young activists, from kind hearts and limited life experiences, favor big government programs and handouts. People who have experienced life under both socialism and capitalism have lived the dangers of socialism and the successes of capitalism.

Capitalism causes all economic boats to rise and creates more jobs that help the poor much more than government handouts ever could. That’s why Sowell said socialism never works.

Ron Raymond, Buffalo Township

Do Democrats care about lower, middle classes?

Now that they weren’t able to nail President Trump with the Russia probe, congressional Democrats have moved on to obsessing about his tax returns. Meanwhile, they are almost totally silent about his budget proposal with big cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. But they go on and on about how much we need to care about illegal immigrants and pay “reparations” because slavery existed in the 1800s.

Democrats used to care about the economic and financial struggles of the lower and middle classes. Now, you barely hear a sound from them about the problems faced by those who worked hard for their entire lives and tried to do the right things in life and now can’t afford to pay for the prescription medications and health care they need.

The national Democrats seem to care more about getting the votes of all minorities and the future votes of illegal immigrants than they care about the rest of us. They figure we have no one else who we can vote for, so all they have to do is pay a little lip service to our struggles while they pander to and kiss the hind ends of minorities and illegal immigrants.

Stewart B. Epstein, Rochester, N.Y.

The writer is a former Squirrel Hill resident who taught at West Virginia and Slippery Rock universities.

Reasons to legalize marijuana

It’s hard to resist commenting on C.A. Ray’s letter “Why legalize pot”. Ray remarks that marijuana is “much worse” than tobacco, but offers nothing to support that. I believe no one has ever died from smoking pot. Cigarettes?

He asks the governor for a reason he is considering legalizing pot. OK, here are some reasons.

How many dollars do we spend locking up harmless people? I wonder if Ray would change his tune if it were his children going to jail.

Because marijuana is illegal it can be dangerously contaminated. It can also be a gateway drug because it is illegal. The pusher says he’s out of pot, but has this other stuff instead.

The better question for me would be why is alcohol legal? That is not victimless. Ever hear of someone coming home from a bar and beating up his wife? Alcohol encourages violent behavior; conversely pot relaxes the spirit. Remember “Make love not war”?

Laws against drugs have been a dismal failure; people will smoke pot regardless. As it is the pushers are getting the profits, and we waste money locking up harmless people. Wouldn’t it be better if these citizens would be free and productive, and the state get the profits?

Mr. Ray, please live and let live. You probably do some things I wouldn’t like, but this is supposedly a free country. Maybe if you tried it you might even see why it appeals to others.

Al Duerig, Salem

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