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Letter: Hardship looms large in season of giving


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From: William Scarbrough

Columbus

Received: Dec. 9

‘Tis the season of giving, during which our empathy is directed to those living in poverty. These are the homeless including school children, those unable to work because of disability, those who have experienced a catastrophic financial event and those who are working hard, often at two jobs.

Working hard and in poverty? This is not the American way. Or is it? Our federal and state governments are controlled by wealthy interests, and this has resulted in an enormous income disparity between the haves and the have-nots.

Last week, President Obama addressed income inequality and the needs of those people working hard for wages but are still poverty-stricken. He proposed that the federal minimum wage be raised.

The next day, in over 100 cities, McDonald’s workers took to the streets to demand an increase from an average of $9 an hour to $15 an hour. Enough to support a family. It has been reported that a 15-cent increase in the price of a Big Mac would maintain their current profits if the corporation offered such a raise.

Since the Reagan administration, Republicans have destroyed the unions that protected workers’ rights and wages. Having accomplished this they are now turning their attention to destroying the government subsidies dealing with poverty. They choose to ignore that $7 billion a year in government funds is spent to assist the workers in the fast-food industry, and $1 billion of this is used for food stamps which Republicans want to cut by $39 billion!

Forget the spirit of the season.

It’s unfathomable that these “fiscal scolds,” who claim to be so concerned about the federal deficit, pay no attention to a $7 billion government expense that could easily be eliminated. Although it’s not surprising because these same Republicans led by their tea (partiers) shut the government down for two weeks over a hopeless health care uproar. That cost $24 billion in unnecessary government spending.

People are beginning to understand that these politicians suffer from brainlessness. So, right after the president’s speech, Fox News pundit Bill O’Reilly trotted out his annual war on Christmas rant as a diversion from the obvious. For those of you who do not watch Fox News (I do occasionally so I know what’s going on in their camp) the rant is that it’s not right to say “Happy Holidays” in place of “Merry Christmas” because this is a Christian nation and there are no other holidays to celebrate.

Whoa, O’Reilly. There are many holidays between Thanksgiving and mid-January. Some religious, some secular and some (gasp) pagan. Four out of five Americans declare themselves Christians. That means O’Reilly considers 20 percent, or 60 million Americans, who are not Christian not quite American. That’s unacceptable.

In the true spirit of the season, I trumpet with goodwill to all — happy holidays!

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