Letters to the Editor: Oct. 6, 2010

10/06/2010 5:46 PM |

CUTCHOGUE

Attitude adjustment

On the Fox Business Network show “Money Rocks” on Sept. 16 there was a segment on the need for the U.S. Postal Service. I will not argue the need for or against the Postal Service because I am a postmaster. However, a GOP strategist on the show named Jack Burkman belittled postal workers as “unskilled labor that should be bumped down to cab drivers.” This man’s attitude needs an adjustment.
The U.S. Postal Service is the largest employer of veterans in the country. These same veterans who ran sonar, learned signal intelligence and radar and to fly helicopters and airplanes, became medics, cooks, navigated large ships, and so much more on very little sleep for very little pay deserve better. They allowed men like Jack Burkman the opportunity to better themselves in the private sector.
A man I knew, a veteran of World War II, drove a cab for a while. He did not see it as “unskilled labor” but it did feed his family and gave him dignity.  What Jack Burkman apparently did not learn in “the private sector” or in all his schooling or life experience that all veterans learn is that no matter what job you do in life it has value. No matter how small the job may seem, if someone did not do it bad things could happen.
It’s easier for Mr. Burkman to spin his talking points rather than research facts and present possible solutions. I would suggest that this is a GOP strategist gone wild. His type of rhetoric belongs on a sleazy infomercial, the kind that can only be seen late at night as you flip channels when you can’t sleep.
He is full of himself and probably never changed a diaper in his life. His assertions that tax money is wasted on a postal service are false. That Congress keeps it around so they can name post offices after themselves is just idiotic thinking.
He probably could not run or repair the machinery that moves the mail because he does not possess the skills. He certainly could not motivate the men and women who move the mail with his recently demonstrated “private sector” communication skills. This man owes the employees of the Postal Service and cab drivers an apology, particularly those veteran employees who gave him the opportunity to better himself while they served our country.
I call upon Fox Business Network to do the right thing and denounce his diatribe and in being “fair and balanced” present an opportunity for the other side to be heard.
Bob Bittner

LAUREL
The rich get richer
In the 1970s the top 1 percent of American earners received 8 to 9 percent of national income. By 2007, the richest 1 percent were taking home more than 23 percent of total national income.
In 2007 the richest 1/10 of a percent, 13,000 households, took in more than 11 percent of total national income.
Of the top 500 CEOs in corporate America, the median take home was $7.5 million. But a male worker earning the median wage in 2007 earned less, adjusted for inflation, than a male worker 30 years earlier. A rousing $36,000. Wow!
Now here we are, trying to lessen the deficit by reinstating the income tax on those families making over $250,000. That 2 to 3 percent of American households and the Party of No argues against it. What the Party of No does want however, is to cut Social Security and repeal the health care bill and eliminate regulation of almost everything.
Economists all agree that ultimately we have to produce and consume our way out of this national distress. Businesses have to make products and banks have to lend and citizens have to consume. And illogically we think this can happen while we let the rich run off with all the money and the consumers are all broke.
When asked why his workers’ paychecks were so large, Henry Ford said, “I need people out there with enough money to buy my cars.” So simple and sensible.
The Party of No, however, sounds remarkably like Marie Antoinette speaking of her famished peasants who were pleading for bread. Famously she said. “Let them eat cake!”
But there is hope. Marie Antoinette was beheaded.
Howard Meinke

SOUTHOLD

A no-win situation

As a businessman and taxpayer I certainly share Julie Lane’s feeling of injustice over the rising cost of health insurance for businesses and workers in the private sector (“Gouged on health insurance until 2014”).

Emblem, for example, a relatively small company and new player in New York’s health insurance scene, has requested a raise of between 67 percent and 72 percent from the State Insurance Commission.

Assemblyman Alessi has been responsive to the calls from businesspeople and private citizens to put pressure on the commission not to approve the rate hike. But ultimately this branch of state government, which has been none too friendly to small business, will, as they have done in the past, grant the increases.

For small businesses and private-sector employees this is a double whammy. Not only are their health insurance premiums skyrocketing, but so are their taxes, in part, because of their subsidization of the health insurance packages of public-sector employees. To say nothing of the skyrocketing costs of medical services.

It’s a no-win situation for those in the private sector, and reflects not only the greed of the big health insurance companies and some medical providers, it’s indicative of this state’s generally negative bias against the taxpayer and small-business owner.

New York state government, you might say, takes care of its own first and foremost.

Harry Katz



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Letters to the Editor: Oct. 6, 2010

GREENPORT

The ‘Sir Sean’ scam

No one likes to be made to feel like a fool. But the people of Greenport, and a good many others, sure had a fast one pulled on them during the Maritime Festival thanks to the “Sean Connery” scam.

All the fireworks in the world could not erase the blight this charade cast on an otherwise perfect weekend.

Emily Halligan

SOUTHOLD

A no-win situation

As a businessman and taxpayer I certainly share Julie Lane’s feeling of injustice over the rising cost of health insurance for businesses and workers in the private sector (“Gouged on health insurance until 2014”).

Emblem, for example, a relatively small company and new player in New York’s health insurance scene, has requested a raise of between 67 percent and 72 percent from the State Insurance Commission.

Assemblyman Alessi has been responsive to the calls from businesspeople and private citizens to put pressure on the commission not to approve the rate hike. But ultimately this branch of state government, which has been none too friendly to small business, will, as they have done in the past, grant the increases.

For small businesses and private-sector employees this is a double whammy. Not only are their health insurance premiums skyrocketing, but so are their taxes, in part, because of their subsidization of the health insurance packages of public-sector employees. To say nothing of the skyrocketing costs of medical services.

It’s a no-win situation for those in the private sector, and reflects not only the greed of the big health insurance companies and some medical providers, it’s indicative of this state’s generally negative bias against the taxpayer and small-business owner.

New York state government, you might say, takes care of its own first and foremost.

Harry Katz

GREENPORT

Hoodwinker

Regarding the Sean Connery impersonator, we did not move to Greenport to be duped.

This was not in good taste considering the reputation of Greenport’s maritime festival.

Linda Mugford

ORIENT

Control the hunt

To my regret, deer hunting in the Town of Southold seems inevitable, at least this year.

I would ask, however, that substantial penalties be imposed on persons who hunt on private property without permission. Last year, it was necessary for me to ask the assistance of the police to get hunters to leave my property.

There should be further recourse in the form of fines and/or jail time.

Maureen Sanders

SOUTHOLD

Keep the wildlife

First the geese, now the deer. What next, the raccoons, foxes and rabbits?

The wildlife is what gives a last vestige of rural life to the North Fork. Why do people want to change it so that it becomes Nassau County east?

Carol Viteritti

SOUTHOLD

It’s more than Lyme

I would like to comment in response to your article on the hazardous deer population meeting.

Lyme disease is mild compared to an already-present disease called babesiosis. Concentrate on what is already attacking residents of Southold Town and then worry about West Nile. Deer ticks are ever-present and so are the deer, in astounding numbers.

Babesiosis is very much like malaria. In fact, doctors are treating it with almost the same drug routine. If you want to know more about babesiosis, search online.

There is a very good article in the July 2007 issue of National Geographic on malaria. Babesiosis manifests itself the same way — it is parasitic and destroys the red blood cells, first in the liver and then goes on to other organs.

Forewarned is forearmed.

Cecilia Loucka

SOUTHOLD

‘Exemplary?’ No way

In last week’s edition, State Senator Ken LaValle was quoted about Albany being a magnet for crooks. He stated that while suburban representatives have “exemplary” records the same cannot be said for the New York City delegations that dominate the Legislature.

He neglected to mention his friend Joe Bruno from upstate New York, whom he supported for leader of the State Senate for 13 years and who was sentenced to two years in prison after being convicted of two federal fraud counts.

Mr. Lavalle has become the poster boy for political dysfunction in Albany. He does one thing in Albany and tells us another when back home. He is supporting a Republican for Congress even though Mr. Altschuler moved to Suffolk County only recently. Mr. LaValle successfully bounced Regina Calcaterra from the ballot even though she has lived in Suffolk County 40 years longer than Mr. Altschuler.

The problem is that Sen. LaValle talks out of both sides of his mouth because he knows he can get away with it.

Larry Tuthill

Chairman, Southold Democratic Committee


SHOREHAM

Profit makes this country work

In response to Julie Lane’s column last week on health care (“Gouged on health insurance until 2014”), it’s interesting that Ms. Lane tells only part of the story to suit her needs. And perhaps she needs a lesson in Macroeconomics 101 to realize the importance of profits for all American industries.

Ms. Lane claims that WellPoint made a profit of $2.5 billion in 2008; UnitedHealth Group will have revenues of $93 billion; and Emblem is still reporting profits; looking at the 2009 results of WellPoint, their profit margin was 4% ($61.3B in revenues, $2.49 in net income); UnitedHealth Group’s profit margin was 3.7% ($81.2B in revenues, $2.98B in net income); Emblem had the following result for these years: 2009, less than 1% profit; 2008, no profit; 2007 profit of 1.2%. These are not obscene profits; in fact, fairly standard for this industry.

Companies need to make profits to survive; shareholders and pensioners rely on their dividends; pension holders, including civil servants, teachers, police and firefighters, union workers, need these companies to make profits year after year so that they get their monthly retirement checks. Profit is not a bad word; it is what has kept America going all these years; and no one, including the government, should dictate what percentage profit anyone or any company should make.

Ms. Lane expresses belief that since so many people give a favorable rating to Medicare, then the single option plan by the government should also be the answer; let me ask Ms. Lane about other government-run programs: How did Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac work out? How’s the U.S. Postal Service, a quasi government program, doing, losing $6 billion this year? How about the fact that Social Security and Medicare (both government programs) are expected to run out of funds by around 2030? If you want a government plan, go ahead, sign up for it; as for me, I want choices of which health insurance company I can join; freedom of choice is another tenet this country has been about.

Do not vilify the insurance companies; they are reacting to all the various medical costs that are constantly rising; government does serve a purpose, and trying to assist those that need health care should have that opportunity; however, don’t mandate to all a government plan; there are choices for everyone, the way it should be.

Robert Scharback


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