Republicans now have majorities in both Houses and soon will have the presidency. Congress may waste no time in attempting to make radical changes to the social safety net, dismantling programs such as SNAP and Medicaid that allow millions of people to make ends meet every year.
The good news is that federal anti-poverty programs have allowed millions of Americans to move out of poverty. And despite urban myths, SNAP and other programs have very low percentages of waste and fraud. In fact, SNAP actually has a positive economic impact by returning $1.73 in benefits for every dollar spent. We cannot let Congress risk this progress, especially when 13 percent of Travis County residents fall below the poverty line.
I urge Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz and my representative, Congressman Lamar Smith, to maintain these programs so that even more Americans can be lifted out of poverty.
GLENN ROSS, AUSTIN
Re: Dec. 20 article, “All but 2 Texas members of the Electoral College choose Donald Trump.”
I take exception to the term “faithless electors.” In my opinion, the real faithless electors aren’t the ones who voted their conscience — as in actuality considering who would be the best choice to lead our nation — but the ones who voted strictly along party lines. The elector’s charge was to think — think! — and use their best judgment about how to move this nation forward as the leader of the free world. To accuse those who voted their conscience of being “faithless” is to denigrate people who chose to think and exercise their right to judgment, as they were charged to do.
My thanks to those “faithless electors” who stepped out of the party lines and exercised their right to think. You have my gratitude.
MELODIE GREIDER, DRIPPING SPRINGS
Re: Dec. 22 article, “Planned Parenthood ousted from Texas Medicaid, plans to fight in court.”
As a neonatologist, I work on a daily basis with the consequences of unplanned pregnancy and inadequate prenatal care. Planned Parenthood provides contraception, STD treatment, cancer screening, prenatal care, and yes, legal abortion services. Whatever one feels about the morality of abortion, there is no question that Planned Parenthood provides many more benefits that prevent medical tragedies to innocent newborns: vision and hearing loss, intestinal infections that require a lifelong ostomy bag, and brain damage. This suffering can cost millions for a single patient and perpetuates the cycle of poverty. It drives up medical costs for all. The decision of the Texas Health and Human Services inspector general to deny Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood will only cause untold additional misery to the most vulnerable among us. Fight against abortion if you believe it is wrong, but don’t compound the suffering by denying essential medical care to the poor and their children.
BRIAN HALL, AUSTIN
Re: Dec. 29 letter to the editor, “Article on Earth’s spin incorrectly calculated.”
Like the reader who responded to the article on the slowing rotation of our planet, I too was left scratching my head over the nonsensical math as well as its astonishing implication: In ancient times, a day — from sunrise to sunrise — would have been 7 hours shorter than today!
My guess is that the journalist misinterpreted his or her source, which meant to say that, due to the compounded effect of the slowing rotation over time, an imaginary clock set in motion 2,500 years would now be off by about 7 hours. I agree with the letter writer that the science in the article was sloppily presented at best.
STEVE EATON, AUSTIN
Ted Cruz and Greg Abbott want to discriminate against the LGBT and not allow them basic civil rights. This works both ways. Corporations and local business owners throughout the civilized world should use this law to demand all customers be screened as nonbigoted, misogynist Republicans with proof of citizenship and recent voting record to prove they are not a bigoted fool to buy products and enter stores. It makes perfect sense for an insane oligarchy run by a man whom I would not allow in my living room.
CRAIG C. BUDREAU, AUSTIN
Re: Dec. 25 commentary, “Will: New defense chief faces significant balancing act.”
In George Will’s column on Christmas day, he stated a huge Republican lie. His statement was “about the crisis of the entitlement state … swallowing government resources, with alarming national security implications.” Social Security and Medicare pay their fair share and then some for the national budget.
If government paid back all the money taken from Social Security, then Social Security and Medicare would be solvent until the 22nd century.
Will is imitating Komrade Pinocchio, creating a false premise to raise fear. Make no mistake — any politician who steals from Social Security and Medicare will be writing their political obituary.
If Will wants to help the political process, then fight for term limits and independent redistricting. Ya can’t drain the swamp without a plan.
RON TORREY, AUSTIN
Dear President Trump …
What are your hopes, fears and expectations for the next president? We’d like to know.
Send us your “Dear President Trump” letter by Jan. 13, and we’ll publish as many of them as we can as part of our inauguration coverage. Keep your letters to 150 words or less. Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org along with your full name, address and daytime and evening phone numbers. Or submit online at www.mystatesman.com/opinion/letters/form/