News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Letters

December 14, 2013

Readers’ Forum: Dec. 15, 2013

Work to save jobs in manufacturing

We must support good manufacturing jobs. I support hard-working middle class families in my community. And it bothers me that our politicians would rather sit on their hands than stop good manufacturing jobs from leaving.

We know China’s funny money business (currency manipulation) is a major cause of our trade deficit. Putting a stop to it would help American manufacturing — and create jobs, increase exports, lower our trade deficit and reduce the national debt.

Congress needs to get serious about currency manipulation and let American companies and workers compete on a level playing field by passing the currency reform bill (HR 1276).

I urge Rep. Bucshon to support it. We’ve lost over 5 million manufacturing jobs the last decade and it’s time to wake up and stop the madness.

— Mary Harvey, Terre Haute

Great story on visit to Debs home

Kudos to Gary Daily for his column  in  Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, Tribune-Star about Bill Walton, Larry Bird and the visit to the home of Eugene V. Debs.

And kudos to Larry Bird for taking the time to visit Debs’ home, just a few blocks from the awesome 15-foot statue of Bird created by Terre Haute’s awesome artist, Bill Wolfe.

What a wonderful world it might be if a giant sport’s figure (Bird), a great artist (Wolfe), a local humanitarian of world renown (Debs) and a professor (Daily) would set the stage for a universal merging of arts, sports, social awareness and the telling of these stories by gifted, community-involved writers.

Thanks to the Tribune-Star and Gary Daily for bringing our community this  story.

— Ann Seltzer, Terre Haute

Health care signup positive experience

I have just finished enrolling in a new health insurance plan through Healthcare.gov.

For the past six years, I have been a self-employed tennis instructor and coach. Prior to becoming self-employed my health care coverage was provided by my employer at no cost to me.

After becoming self-employed at the age of 33, my original monthly premium from Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield was $117 per month. As of my most recent Anthem statement, I now owe $470 per month. This is an increase of 302 percent over six years, or an average increase of over 50 percent per year.

To put this in perspective in my life, the cost of taking a tennis lesson from me would go from $42 per hour to $168 per hour, if I had the pricing power Anthem has had the last six years. I am a qualified, proven tennis instructor and coach, but I would have very few students if I raised my lesson rate by 50 percent each year.

My new policy through Healthcare.gov and the Affordable Care Act will cost me $85 per month after applying the tax credit I received through the marketplace. In addition, my old policy through Anthem had a $2,500 deductible with a maximum out-of-pocket fee of $4,500. My new policy will cost me nearly $400 less per month, plus it has a deductible of only $750 and a maximum out-of-pocket cost of $3,000.

The new plan provides better coverage and is significantly less expensive. The cost savings for me are real, and I will feel the benefit of a better plan and lower cost immediately. In addition, I have an easy way to find and sign up for individual coverage. Prior to the Affordable Care Act, it was very difficult and time consuming to find new options for individual coverage. Rates were high, hassle was high, and acceptance was uncertain. These problems are gone now for me and millions like me.

A change needed to be made to swing some of the leverage back to the consumer in health care. I have watched my parents in their 60s wrestle with health care premiums over $1,400 per month on top of large deductibles. I have watched my health care premium rates go up huge amounts every year I have been self-employed. This happened because competition was dead in health care at least in the individual market.

Anthem wanted me as a customer only if I was healthy and did not cost them anything. If a problem in my health arose the truth is no insurance carrier would want to insure me in the individual market or at least they would not want to insure me for the health problems I needed insurance for in the first place.

Add one more piece to this. Insurance companies could drop you whenever they wanted to drop you and no one had to pick you up. What happened in this environment? Millions of people in the individual marketplace got caught where they could not find insurance or afford insurance.

What I love about the Affordable Care Act is it creates standards that give more rights to consumers of health care. Insurance companies cannot exclude us from coverage. They have to provide standard benefits. They have to be willing to compete on price if they want our business.

The Affordable Care Act reminds us that everyone in our nation is important and that we help each other most by sharing the risks we all face in health care. The old insurance system forgot this. Its motto would have been, “Health care for all as long as you are healthy, wealthy, and in a group plan.” The new health insurance motto is just “Health care for all.” There is no tragedy in this simple motto.

There is hope and a chance to save a broken system.

— Wesley Kirk, Terre Haute

Help America by buying America

Millions of dollars are spent each year on gifts, holiday decorations, clothes, toys, furniture, cookware and just about anything else you can think of. Why not put that money to good use buy buying products made in the USA?

Every dollar you spend on items that are made in the USA helps keep another factory open in Ohio or Illinois; helps another worker keep their job in Pennsylvania or New York; helps another family keep the lights on in Oregon or Texas or here at home. We make fabulous stuff in Indiana. From purses to candy to vehicles, there’s bound to be something in everyone’s price range.

Buying American helps keep real people in real jobs across America, and it gives you high quality products for your family and friends. Can you think of a better holiday gift than buying American? Look for the label and save a few jobs in the process.

— Robert Timmons, Universal

Have a fiscally sound Christmas

The holiday shopping season is upon us. As we rush to complete our gift-buying, it is easy to get carried away in the spirit of the season and overspend. Some simple, money-management tips can keep you in the green and out of the red, and reduce the stress that can come with the hustle and bustle of the holidays.

According to a recent survey by Ypulse of teens and Millennials ages 14-29, 87 percent said they planned to buy holiday gifts this year, yet only 51 percent of those who planned to buy holiday gifts said they had a budget. It is critical for teens and adults alike to get in the habit of creating and using a budget to avoid accumulating excessive debt or depleting savings due to impulse purchases.

How can holiday shoppers avoid the pitfalls of overspending? Creating a budget and sticking to it is an important first step. Then, during the year before the holiday frenzy starts, plan for holiday shopping by saving up so you can earn interest on your money and help ensure wise use of credit.

The Ypulse survey also found that the majority of teens and Millennials (59 percent) plan to do their holiday shopping in-store rather than online (41 percent). The convenience of online shopping is one of its greatest assets, yet it is easy to give in to the temptation of impulse purchases. This can be avoided by having a list of friends and family for whom you are buying a gift, and a selection of items for each one, to help focus your efforts.

It is also easy to give in to the temptation of “one for you, one for me,” and buy items for yourself as you complete your holiday shopping. You might be able to save money by waiting until the post-holiday sales to reward yourself for being on the “nice” list this year.

These tips can help you have a happy holiday season without the fiscal hangover of overspending. Getting good money-management habits in place when you’re young can help avoid financial pitfalls, so it is important to model responsible personal finance habits for the young people in your life.

— Peggy Murdock, Interim President Junior Achievement of the Wabash Valley

T’is the season to be thankful

I do not think it will make much difference who won the election, they all owe their souls to the company store, and the American people do not own the store.

We could if we would just wake up and quit thinking of only ourselves and what we want, not what we need.

We seem to think we need to have equal rights and be able to act as we please and if it is not one set of rights it’s another. We only have one set of rights and that is to love ourself and treat all others with love and respect. If we used the Ten Commandments and the Lord’s Prayer everywhere, we would have a greater land.

Every time the government gets to making laws that are to help us you better look out. Our laws are not there for us, they are half-truths to give government the right to do as they please. We have no control over anything, even our own bodies.

We have been told so many times that this is what we should have. We are brainwashed. Wake up and live. Only you and others can change tomorrow if you just remember that things do not make a good and free world. It’s free people.

This is the season to be thankful. It’s not Santa’s birthday, it is the birthday of Jesus our Lord and Savior. Remember that when you see all the charities and ads to buy this and that. They say if you are living, you really, really must have this or help that.

Check into the charity and see how much really goes to the things they say it does. Also see the salaries paid and how many if they really do give most of your donation to help people who really need heat, water, clothing and food to make it through the cold winter months, not just toys that are put outside or left behind or sold.

Remember, a smile is just as important in January, February and March, and so is the feeling you have as a friend.

Are you one of the many well educated or one who thinks you are just smart? Did you fall for the old Black Friday gimmick? Businesses have been using gimmicks like that since the beginning of time for the greedy, not needy, to get you in the store. Did you get what you thought you wanted or was it already gone after you waited hours to get? Did you cuss the person who elbowed you or stepped on your toes? Did you knock someone down to get past them, all for something that was not there?

Remember, Christmas is Christ’s birthday. Yes, we should remember with a large dinner and a few gifts, but most of all Christ’s gifts to us, for they are many, and share it with family and friends. Time and love are the greatest gifts of all, and they are free.

— Eloise Reed, Terre Haute

Suspend Muslim immigration now

Bruce Bawer, in his book “While Europe Slept”, describes the problems Europe is facing because of Muslim immigration.

Two of the problems caused by Muslim immigration are because of the Islamic doctrines of Jihad (holy war against Kafirs — non-Muslims) and Sharia, a system that institutionalizes male Islamic supremacism over non-Muslims and women.

In view of the problems Europe is facing, the United States ought to suspend Muslim immigration until changes in Islam such as a “Global Islamic Reformation” occur, and the political doctrines of Jihad and Sharia are no longer part of  Islamic teachings.

— Hal Strahm, Terre Haute

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