News From Terre Haute, Indiana

July 8, 2014

Readers’ Forum: July 9, 2014


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Don’t eliminate our six-day mail

In early June, U.S. House Leadership (Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R) announced a proposal to use the elimination of six-day mail delivery as a “pay-for” for the Highway Trust Fund, a multi-billion dollar fund. The Highway Trust Fund traditionally has been financed through fuel taxes at the pump. The fund is expected to run out of money in August.

This would slow the delivery of mail to citizens and harm businesses in their districts, while making hardship on the elderly and rural people who most rely on the mail. It would also drive business away from the Postal Service, reducing revenues. Millions of business mailers (40 percent) say they want to keep Saturday service. Cutting it would be anti-business.

The Postal Service has recovered from the Great Recession. If not for the 2006 Republican congressional mandate to pre-fund future retiree health care costs decades in advance, the USPS would be reporting profits. This artificial crisis caused by pre-funding is something no other private company or independent agency is required to do.

Ending Saturday delivery would eliminate 80,000 full- and part-time jobs. The Postal Service has already shed nearly 200,000 jobs in the last six years. A large percentage (25 percent?) of its employees are veterans.

The Postal Service is a self-funded agency financed by us, the postage ratepayers. It should not be used as the piggy bank to offset the costs of the Highway Trust Fund. To repeat, the Postal Service is paid for by us, the American public, by stamps for revenues. It does not take any taxpayer money whatsoever.

We must protect it from being used as a piggy bank, subject to the whims of any member of Congress who wants to fund a pet project.

— Joanne Ratcliff


Zamperini death stirs memories

Regarding the article in the July 4 issue of the Tribune-Star about Louis Zamperini passing away; and that 72 years ago he was in a B-24 plane crash in the Pacific Ocean. It is interesting that the pilot of the plane, who survived the crash with Zamperini, both, in the end, survived the horrible treatment in the Japanese prison camp.

That pilot was Russell Allen Phillips, son of the preacher of our church, the Centenary United Methodist Church at Seventh and Eagle streets. Phillips’ girlfriend and much later his wife went to Indiana State Teachers College. Rev. Phillips was at Centenary from 1936 to 1942, at which time he left to become a chaplain in the U.S. Army.

I knew Rev. Phillips, but not his son, who was just a tad older than me. Later on, as soon as I could, I joined the Army Air Force to become a navigator. During that time I rode around in a B-24, but not overseas, and if you had to ditch a B-24 you had a maximum of 60 seconds to get out.

— David C. Mitchell

Terre Haute