We need jobs and lots of them, but more government jobs are not the answer.
John Musial, Wycombe
Not working for common good
Dick Polman notes that the GOP has had a job-killing election game since 2010, in hopes of limiting President Obama to one term. To accomplish this, the GOP has blocked all economic stimulus, even when the bills included Republican ideas such as an independent, privately funded infrastructure fund, slashing payroll taxes, and fully expensing new investments. It then places the blame for a lack of economic growth on Obama.
Voters cannot allow this strategy to prevail. We must make it absolutely clear that the American public is not so gullible. Voters know the difference between the pursuit of political power for one party and working for the common good of our country.
Joe McCaffrey, Bala Cynwyd
Fed up with unions
For years I have been a center-left Democrat. Now, however, I am totally fed up with unions. Once a bulwark against communist insurgence, they are now counterproductive.
As a retired public-sector employee, I find myself agreeing with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker ("A Waterloo for organized labor," Monday). Public unions hold us hostage while they lobby gutless politicos who defer fiscal realities to future administrations. A similar path of least resistance in Philadelphia has driven my property taxes higher. The new Actual Value Initiative is the latest dodge.
Another public union opposes liquor store privatization. Just drive to any store over the state line, count the number of Pennsylvania license plates, and translate that into lost state tax revenue.
Private-sector unions? The majority of their members do not live in the city, selfishly push wage rates higher than suburban areas, and drive potential conventioneers away, losing revenue and non-property-tax income to the city.
Property taxes continue to rise. Wake up, Philadelphia.
Al DeLucia, Philadelphia
Be grateful for union wages
The best friend that the American worker has is the union to which he does not belong. Union wages have been the engine that allow nonunion wages to rise above the level that industries would like to pay. If union wages are reduced, control of wages will fall into the hands of employers. Then, union-bolstered wages, which have built the middle class, would end and all wages would fall, further exacerbating the divide between the 1 percent and the rest of us.
Reese Palley, Philadelphia, firstname.lastname@example.org
Costs of higher education reform
The headline on the Sunday editorial about the proposed New Jersey higher education reform states: "Rutgers-Rowan plan better for the region." I respectfully disagree with your definition of what is "better" for South Jersey. What this plan does is dismantle a world-class university system. While Rutgers-Camden may get to keep the name, we would be Rutgers in name only.
The world of academia has its own system of designations — the Carnegie Classifications. According to the Carnegie Foundation's website, these designations are "derived from empirical data on colleges and universities." Rutgers-Camden as a stand-alone is a "Masters level" institution, as is Rowan. Rutgers-New Brunswick is under "Research Universities (very high research activity)." It is through that affiliation with Rutgers-New Brunswick that Rutgers-Camden is afforded entry into the most exclusive "clubs" of academia, which translate into access to resources and opportunities for grant funding.
That would all be lost in a merger.
What the citizens of New Jersey will actually gain through this reorganization is the bill for the massive financial costs for this reorganization, which might exceed $120 million. The total costs have not been disclosed.
Finally, the citizens of New Jersey will get three parochial public institutions at Camden, Newark, and New Brunswick, and the governance of each will be wide open to local political influence in place of being run by a highly prestigious statewide university system.
Vibiana Bowman Cvetkovic, Collingswood
Listen to voices of homeless
In our society, the voices of the powerful and the privileged are heard because of their position and resources. The voices of the homeless poor are rarely listened to because they do not have the resources to command attention.
It is no surprise that those involved in the ban on feeding the homeless on the Parkway have listened to those who want this "problem" to go away, but have not listened to those who simply want a legitimate alternative in place before the ban is implemented.
I heartily agree with Sister Mary Scullion, who gave a very balanced critique of the decision to proceed with the feeding ban before other options have been provided ("Charity isn't the problem," Friday). I want to add my voice to those frequently forgotten members of our human family who long to be heard. In a city whose very name suggests a brotherly love and sisterly affection for all its citizens, I believe we can do no less.
Rev. Domenic A. Rossi, executive director, Bethesda Project, Philadelphia, email@example.com
Help from education tax credits
The story "As Pa. budget deadline nears, GOP legislators vow action on thorny school issues" (Thursday) describes EITC, or Educational Improvement Tax Credits, as giving "tax breaks to businesses that provide scholarship aid to low-income students." It's true that a growing portion of the tax credits funds scholarships, but another portion funds "Educational Improvement Organizations," or organizations that support public education.
A number of educational organizations are working hard to support the hundreds of thousands of public school students who show up every day at underfunded schools by providing teaching and learning strategies that benefit students, teachers, and communities. As a beneficiary of EITC, we have been able to support teachers in schools throughout the city as they guide their students through pedagogically rigorous projects in which students apply academics to problems in their communities and schools.
My hope is that EITC funding continues to support a wide range of school-reform efforts, since it's clear that one size does not fit all.
Barbara Dundon, executive director, Need in Deed, Philadelphia, firstname.lastname@example.org