Workers squeezed

So now Republicans in another state have railroaded through their Legislature a bill to, in effect, do away with unions, which are important to workers and their rights.

Yes, jobs brought to states are crucial, but in states like ours people work for less. And corporations and their heads are making huge profits with little regard for the rates of their workers.

Workers in unions have the right to join or not, but those in unions have been able to win salaries that give a living wage, plus health care and a safe working environment.

Those in right-to-work states have no voice and have rights only if the working conditions are favorable to the CEOs.

Republicans seem to be on the wrong side of almost every issue that is important to the public: They vote against the United Nations treaty for the disabled — which is beyond belief. They vote against the poor, the environment, the economy, the middle class, and on and on.

It is difficult to understand why the wealthy are the ones they must protect at all cost even though the wealthy have not suffered during this recession. They have flourished.

A large percentage of the economy has gone to the wealthy upper class while the rest either have lost their jobs or been forced to take one or two jobs at minimal wages.

So who is the loser? The worker. Workers will begin to realize the squeeze is on them and never the corporation.

Bonnie Seabright

Groves Manor Court

Mount Pleasant

Top tax-rate myths

When you hear the mantra “We can’t increase the top marginal tax rate without killing job creation,” do you accept it as truth or check the facts?

Here’s what facts (using U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data) say: Since World War II, our economy has created approximately 88 million jobs. Of that total, 85 million (96 percent) were created when the top rate was higher than it is today. The biggest job increases by four-year presidential terms are either Lyndon B. Johnson’s (highest percentage gain, 3.9 percent) or Bill Clinton’s (highest total number, 11.5 million jobs). Under LBJ the top tax rate was 77 percent; under Clinton, 39.6 percent. Both are higher than today’s 35 percent.

In a comparison of extremes — 70 percent vs 28 percent — consider that President Carter’s four years produced 10.3 million jobs (70 percent top rate) while George H. W. Bush’s term produced 2.6 million (28 percent top rate). As for President Reagan, in seven of his eight years the top rate was 50 percent.

Since the rate was reduced in 2002 to 35 percent, our economy has created the fewest new jobs of any 10-year period since WWII. Conclusion: Low “top rate” income tax is not the driver for job creation.

Savvy Republicans should recognize that this phony premise could now be used to their benefit. They could publicly declare their willingness to allow the top rate to go back to the pre-Bush level, conditional on spending cuts or debt payments they stipulate. Such a move would put public sentiment back on their side.

They would likely find broad acceptance for finally paying our war debt. Taxes were used to pay for all previous wars except Iraq and Afghanistan. For those two, we got big tax cuts then borrowed the money and charged the debt to future generations. It’s not too late to right that wrong.

Carl Voelker

Deer Park Drive

Seabrook Island

Sweet treat

On Dec. 11, a group of old friends known as the Boys Lunch Club met at FATZ in North Charleston. We have lunch at an area eatery once a month.

This time three of those who came were distinguished veterans. Two wore hats and other clothing that made it clear they were veterans.

One is a retired submariner who had been assigned to and was wearing the hat of the USS Clamagore, the submarine currently moored at Patriots Point, and the other was an original frogman during WWII before there were U.S. Navy Seals, who was wearing a hat and a jacket signifying his service in the U.S. Navy. The third had been a tank commander and held other staff positions before retiring as a colonel in the U.S. Army.

We all talk loudly and caught the ear of two ladies sitting across the aisle from our table. While waiting for our check, our waitress, Morgan, gave us a piece of paper. One of the ladies was expressing thanks to our veteran friends by paying for lunch for all seven of us.

We did not know these ladies, but wish to express our sincere thanks for their kind generosity and the wonderful respect they gave to our three veterans. We were touched by their generosity.

Seymour Rosenthal

Waterfront Drive

Mount Pleasant

Work together

I’m 80 years old and am a staunch Republican. I did not vote for President Obama, but I recognize he is whom we’ll have as president for the next four years.

I read about the impasse among members of Congress, and I am distressed by the entrenchment and unwillingness to negotiate. Our country, its people and its economy are in desperate straits.

Why can’t our representatives put aside partisanship and simply focus on what needs to be done to revive our people and the economy?

We must bring back an economy that provides jobs for all who want them and benefits for those who take the risk to provide those jobs. It seems fairly straightforward. We must cut spending and increase taxation.

By the same token, we as individuals need to put aside our differences on behalf of the greater good for all of us and our country.

Allen Miles

Parkwood Drive

Summerville

Fresh air

Brian Hicks’ column on Dec. 16 about Charleston County Council’s decision to finish I-526 was a welcome breath of fresh air. No recriminations, no rehash of tired and incomplete arguments. Just a neat analysis of the political forces that prompted a decision, followed by a common sense plea: Rather than play dog-in-the-manger and throwing up road blocks to delay construction, work together to get the job done right.

As for Johns Island staying forever rural, if islanders really want that then work together to restrain over-development. Developers and bad zoning create over-development, not roads.

Hicks is on the mark, although rural Johns Island probably ended some five years ago when the only bridges to the mainland switched from drawbridges to fixed structures. Once commuting time became predictable, the commuters came.

Moreover, current zoning on Johns Island would allow some 6,000 to 16,000 thousand homes and apartments — estimates vary widely, but it’s a lot. Now there’s a challenge for Johns Island.

Warren F. Kimball

Otter Lane

Johns Island

A deal’s a deal

I would not do business with Jim DeMint. He is breaking a contract with the citizens of South Carolina by failing to fulfill his obligation to serve in the U.S. Senate for six years, not two.

It appears that pride and money got the best of him.

Regardless of his politics and whether he is admired or reviled, he is breaking the arrangement for which he was elected.

He seems to have a messianic view of himself.

Raymond J. Vogel

Fresh Meadow Lane

Mount Pleasant