Flawed study’s stats degrade welfare debate
The public effect of the Cato Institute’s welfare study repeats the cacophony that accompanied its original release in 1995. Serious comparative flaws exist, the largest being the inclusion of the equivalent cash value of health insurance and housing subsidies in calculating the total gross income as though it is cash in hand. These calculations are separately flawed by using national standards vs. local reality, with lower-cost such as Indiana being more misrepresented.
Welfare-hating conservative pundits are raising largely Republican voices for alarm but are basing those calls from an even broader Cato misrepresentation by referencing 1995 comparisons.
From my many years in welfare service, most folks wanted to work. Indiana’s cash assistance level, currently based on 1973 cost of living, was generally half the minimum wage and only a fourth of current entry levels, so Indiana hand-wringing is even more inappropriate.
Only recently have corporate welfare incentives been called to task for what would be welfare fraud prosecutions if seen in a family welfare program. Private contract oversight by government is almost non-existent, most notably in education and traditional government services. Family welfare is always the easy target for political and media types interested only in selfish upmanship. Current Republican grandstanding on food stamps and the defunding reactions signal a significant prostitution of these flawed findings.
It’s time to defang the tea party and see Cato as just one more brothel.
FRED GILBERT Fort Wayne
Syrians now learning the price of freedom
The death of several thousand people in Syria’s civil war is a horrible thing. However, our media seem to forget that 600,000 Americans died in our own Civil War to end slavery and preserve the union. I don’t remember reading about any foreign country coming to our aid then.
Freedom has a price. If the Syrian people want freedom, they have to fight for it. Down through the ages many Americans have paid that price.
It is too bad our school systems don’t spend more time teaching kids about the price and less about what they are entitled to.
JOHN LANDGRAF Fort Wayne
Editorial misrepresented GOP use of caucuses
I take exception to a couple of points in the editorial, Undemocratic GOP (Sept. 5). The suggestion that the Allen County GOP is undemocratic in its use of the caucus is disingenuous. I say this even with the knowledge that my own bid to become state representative is rather daunting because of a caucus. Nevertheless, the caucus has been used throughout our nation’s history to elect candidates and office holders, including president. Citizens can run for a seat as a precinct committeeman or state delegate. That our local GOP has held several caucuses over the years is a reflection of the fact that our community prefers Republican candidates.
The reference to a candidate who considered a bid for the District 84 seat as an independent candidate apparently referred to me. I did not reconsider because of the advantages enjoyed by the incumbent. Those advantages do not go on hiatus in a primary. The fact is that I’m a lifelong Republican, and running as an independent would not properly reflect me as a candidate. Indeed, I was elected as a Republican precinct committeeman.
Our electoral process isn’t perfect; but it’s the best one in the world. And if citizens aren’t happy with the results they can do something about it – vote. I’m counting on it.
MICHAEL BARRANDA Fort Wayne