Letter of the month
Investments in early learning pay dividends
I echo Sheriff Dan Kimball’s response to the recent Olympian editorial calling for Gov. Chris Gregoire and the Legislature to make early learning an established part of our basic education system.
As a business executive, I want our elected representatives to devote tax dollars to programs that deliver the biggest punch for economic development. Investing in early learning creates new jobs immediately and grows the economy. For every additional dollar we invest in early childhood programs, more than $2 will be generated through additional employment and spending on goods and services. Additionally, for every two early education jobs created, the spending from those two workers will support an additional job.
Providing early learning also will attract skilled workers and new business to Washington state, while reducing employee absenteeism by allowing working parents to focus on their work rather than their child care arrangements. Access to these services appeals to skilled individuals as well as employers who know these programs improve worker morale.
Rigorous research shows that early learning also yields a solid return on investment. Enrolling at-risk kids in high-quality early learning can save as much as $10 for every $1 spent by reducing crime, special education, and other costs.
When you add up these important benefits, early learning is essential to a well-managed education system. It’s also good business for Washington state.
MICHAEL EDWARDS, Olympia
We need a new health care delivery system
Universal health care should be a primary concern of any civilized society, secondary only to military defense and police protection. Education would come next.
However, health services do not belong in the free enterprise system because a sick and/or dying person is not in a position to bargain about the cost of his care.
Next comes the problem with Americans’ apparent fear of government and governmental intervention. We are, unfortunately, by nature selfish — some call it original sin. Because of this selfishness, we need rules and regulations. Football has lots of rules and regulations, which are necessary in order to play the game. Referees also are necessary to enforce the rules.
Our rules about health care also are inadequate. Approximately 45 million people have no health insurance and more have inadequate coverage. Sixty percent of bankruptcies are due to medical debt. We need rules to control health insurance, pharmaceutical companies and health providers. That is part of what government is for.
All of this costs money — taxes. However, we pay $7,500 per capita for health care while the second most expensive country, Norway, with the world’s highest standard of living, pays only $4,500 per capita. That’s a little hard to understand. We probably have the best-trained medical personnel and the finest equipment, but too many people cannot afford the services.
We need different rules and regulations about health care delivery. We need to concern ourselves more about the common good, not just individual rights.
DR. TORE K. NIELSEN, Olympia
Republicans not ready to rule
Go back in history. Both Social Security and Medicare were voted against by the majority of the Republican Party in the early years of its formation.
Yes, that means your parents’ Social Security and Medicare would not exist today.
Where would your parents be? Living in their own homes? Putting food on the table? Enjoying any part of their remaining years?
Then think about yourself. If, after your working years, you would have no Social Security and no Medicare, what would life be like?
The Republican Party’s most recent plan for governing, called “Roadmap for America’s Future” will again, as President George Bush tried, attempt to privatize Social Security, so the plan we have today will not exist for you.
The Republicans, although they use different convoluted terms, want to drastically reduce Medicare benefits as we know them. Do you really want to return to being governed by the Republicans, where hypocrisy, not facts, are the rule?
DIANE M. WILLIAMS, Lacey
Hell will overflow with politicians
I started smoking in the 1950s.
Smokes at that time were 15 cents a pack — the same as a gallon of gas.
I quit smoking a number of years ago for health reasons and not because of the price.
Letter writer Cara Shipley thinks if another dollar a pack tax is added on, it will make the young people not smoke.
She has another thought coming.
I am also very proud of our governor.
She said in her campaign that now is not the time for increasing taxes. She now wants to put a tax on bottled water, soft drinks and chewing gum and call them sin taxes. If it is going to be a sin to do any of these things, then I will be going to hell for sure.
Maybe she is learning how to lie better by listening to President Barack Obama.
I want to go to heaven, because hell will be overflowing with politicians.
JIM HENDRIX, Tenino