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LETTERS for the May 20 issue

By Staff | May 21, 2021

Letter based on left wing views

The Lahaina News is one of the most informative, balanced news outlets in the country. It may be small but the messages are huge, equally or fairly written and disseminated.

Recently, Jim Hightower wrote a letter titled “Go big again, America.” Jim is a left wing manipulator, disseminating lies and bias toward Marxist, Socialist ideology for many, many years. May God forgive his wayward thinking… but that is what America is all about — freedom of thought.

With his words, he demonstrates the evil manipulation of the socialist left wing. He ignores the dictatorial ways of the Biden Administration and supports socialist ideology. I don’t.

Perhaps someday Jim will see his error of Marxist, communist and socialist oppression, as did my family when it fled communism and the identical oppression that is going on in America today.

Wake up, America.

RICHARD BODISCO, Lahaina

Attract workers with a living wage

The sudden shift from “we love our essential workers” to “they’re living off the government dole” seemingly happened overnight.

Across the country, local media coverage has been filled with stories of business owners lamenting that they are unable to fill positions as economies reopen.

Viral anecdotes, in addition to a weaker than expected April jobs report, have raised concerns over a labor shortage in the United States and how to best address it. The Wall Street Journal reports a record 8.1 million job openings across the country.

But it’s not that people don’t want to work — it’s that they don’t want to work for so little.

Dan Price, the CEO of Gravity Payments who raised the starting wage at his company to $70,000, recently said he gets 300 applications for every opening.

It turns out there’s no “labor shortage” — just a shortage of people who will work for starvation wages, especially during a pandemic that’s hit low-wage workers the hardest. What we are witnessing now is a reckoning and reassessment of the future of work.

But rather than think critically about why so many workers are hesitant to return, some pundits and right-wing politicians blame unemployment benefits. President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan provides an extra $300 a week for those out of work during the pandemic.

The GOP now wants to take that away. Republican governors from Montana, South Dakota, Utah, Iowa, and Arkansas, for example, have already announced they will cut unemployment benefits in order to force more people back to work.

If Republicans truly wanted to abide by their free market ideals, they would recognize that in order to stay competitive, employers must adapt to the demands of the market and pay their workers what they are worth.

Instead, they’re opting to slash unemployment benefits, oppose significant increases in the federal minimum wage, and have the government subsidize businesses by forcing employees to rely on assistance like food stamps to get by. Same as it ever was.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the reality that our economy is dependent on exploitation. As the virus spread, many workers watched their bosses prioritize profit over the lives of employees, who risked their health and lives to work frontline jobs during a pandemic that killed over 500,000 people in this country.

While these low-wage workers braved the pandemic, their CEOs cashed in.

It’s been well over a decade since Congress raised the federal minimum wage. But meanwhile, the CEOs and speculators who get rich off minimum-wage labor have seen their fortunes skyrocket. If the minimum wage had increased at the same rate as Wall Street bonuses since 1985, it would be worth $44 an hour today.

With all of this in mind, would you put your life on the line for $7.25 an hour? For employers, the lesson should be simple: if you want workers, pay them a living wage.

REBEKAH ENTRALGO, OtherWords.org

The fateful choice: Nuclear arms race or nuclear weapons-free world

After decades of progress in reducing nuclear arsenals through arms control and disarmament agreements, all the nuclear powers are once again busily upgrading their nuclear weapons capabilities.

This nuclear buildup coincides with the scrapping of key nuclear arms control and disarmament agreements, including the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, the Iran nuclear agreement, and the Open Skies Treaty.

Like arms races of the past, the reviving nuclear arms race places the world in immense danger, for when nations engage in military conflict, they are inclined to use the most powerful weapons they have available. How long will it be before a nuclear-armed, aggressive government — or merely one threatened with military defeat or humiliation — resorts to nuclear war?

In addition to creating an enormous danger, a nuclear arms race also comes with a huge financial price — in this case, in the trillions of dollars. Military analysts have estimated that the U.S. government’s nuclear “modernization” program alone will cost about $1.5 trillion.

None of the nuclear powers has signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. And without their participation, a nuclear-free world will remain an aspiration rather than a reality. In fact, the most powerful nuclear nations remain in a state of high tension with one another, which only enhances the possibility of nuclear war.

Assessing the situation at the beginning of 2020 and 2021, a panel appointed by the editors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists placed the hands of their famous “Doomsday Clock” at 100 seconds to midnight, the most dangerous setting in its history.

As a result, a fateful choice lies before the nuclear powers. They can plunge ahead with their nuclear arms race and face the terrible consequences. Or they can take the path of sanity in the nuclear age and join other nations in building a nuclear weapons-free world.

DR. LAWRENCE WITTNER, PeaceVoice