Letters Feb. 4-5
The conversation around the affordability of education has been sorely neglected in the past year.
In 2018, 61% of students at four-year schools faced homelessness, housing, or food insecurity; and with how things are going these days I can’t imagine that number has improved, especially considering that adult dependents were exempted from both of last year’s stimulus checks.Furthermore, tuition is clearly far too expensive and students are not alone in needing better social services.
While more money needs to be spent on social services, a huge part of the problem is that with so much on our plates, it’s a common problem for students and other people in need to not even be able to navigate the disorganized mess of forms and services available to them, which is why it’s so important to fund social workers who can ensure clients get exactly what they qualify for.
The idea that millions of people are expected to get through school without proper food and housing while also shouldering tens of thousands in debt is an unreasonable burden, and the worst consequences of this short-sighted failure to support our future and current workforce are yet to be seen.
Yellen and carbon pricing
On January 25th, the senate confirmed Dr. Janet Yellen as the United States Secretary of the Treasury. For a long time the US economic policy and US climate policy have been out of step. Not anymore.
Secretary Yellen has a long track record of economic experience, most notably during her term as chair of the Federal Reserve.
But Secretary Yellen recognizes something important, the cost of pollution is real and currently our markets do not recognize that cost. The cost is instead reflected in the damage caused by wildfire to communities like Talent and Phoenix. How does Secretary Yellen plan on shifting that cost from southern Oregonians to big polluters? The answer is carbon pricing.
Secretary Yellen has been a long time supporter of carbon pricing. Last Thursday she made her opinion clear in written answers to the Senate Finance Committee, stating “I am fully supportive of effective carbon pricing and I know that the President is as well.”
It is a positive sign to see unified support for carbon pricing in our legislative branch. Now we just need to ensure it is also a priority for our representatives.
We need to reach out to Representative Cliff Bentz, as well as Senator Merkely and Senator Wyden to ask them to work together in bipartisan support for carbon pricing legislation, such as the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend act.
This will ensure that the cost of pollution is paid by polluters, not our community.
I am weary of media calling Trump supporters “Trumpists” and their movement “Trumpism.”
Most people referred to as Trumpists actually call themselves Republicans. Shouldn’t these Republicans be called “Trumplicans,” leaving Republicans to continue as a party with a conservative platform and the Trumplicans as a personality cult?
Send them home
What good has the legislature and court done in 50 years? All they do is argue. Send all those judges, reps and senators home. President Biden has done more in 10 days than those guys did in 50 years.
All we need is one man making all the decisions. That’s efficiency!
Who could object to that?
Better than the old ‘normal’
We failed to heed warnings of a possible pandemic from the World Health Organization. We mis-managed our response to the tune of millions of cases and hundreds of thousands of deaths.
When offered salvation by rapidly developed vaccines a significant percentage of us refused to be vaccinated. Assuming as a society we survive this pandemic without totally collapsing we should not return to the old normal.
COVID-19 has shown a merciless light on our society. Our pre-pandemic society was racist, our medical care flawed and uneven, our education system offered unequal opportunities, our service workers were enslaved by low wages, our politicians were caught up in self-centered campaigns instead of working for the common good, our institutions were under attack by hate groups spurred on by leaders spewing misinformation and enmity, and our government was restrained by a bloated military budget.
Why would anyone want to go back to the old normal? Can’t we do better? The world is watching. Let’s acknowledge the flaws in our country and work at the local and national level to forge a new normal.