Re: Aug. 5 article, “4.3% jobless rate still may improve.”
There is much celebration over the latest jobs numbers with 209,000 jobs added in the most recent month. Closer inspection of these numbers should throw cold water on the party: 53,000 of these jobs, or one quarter of all new jobs created, were in bars and restaurants. Not exactly stable, high-paying employment with benefits.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 14,000 jobs were in temporary employment services, which also lack stability and benefits. The total number of jobs created in all categories of mining, construction and manufacturing was 44,000, an anemic number compared to waiters and bartenders. So, we are no longer makers and builders; we are eaters and drinkers. We did, however, add 39,000 health care jobs. I’m just not sure the waiters, bartenders and temporary workers will be able to pay for real health care — and I doubt they are celebrating the jobs numbers.
BEKI HALPIN, AUSTIN
Re: Aug. 6 letter to the editor, “Let the pros operate VA health facilities.”
No, we do not know what a disaster the Veterans Health Administration is. There are wait problems in places, but the VA is a fantastic success overall. My brother’s experiences over the last 20 years with the VA have been great. He is presently in the San Juan VA hospital. My brother has nothing but warm feelings for how well the VA system has worked for him.
Wait times in the Chicago VA are two weeks. What are the wait times for your health network? Mine is almost a month.
The letter writer who wanted to sell VA assets to private health networks is extremely misguided.
Private health care is a malignant tumor on America’s economy. This country does not need to go down that useless, needlessly expensive road.
If Republicans would quit cutting veterans’ benefits, the VA system could work to perfection.
RON TORREY, AUSTIN
Racism is not just a problem that is prevalent in matters of social behavior. It has crept into other aspects of everyday life, such as education, income and even environmental resources. The rapid economic development has been extremely detrimental to the planet; we are facing an energy crisis. But why is this phenomenon linked to racism?
Years of marginalization has led to a point where minorities have been forced to live in areas where clean water, steady electricity and clean air are scarce. What is disgraceful is that these minority communities are not even partly responsible for these dingy conditions. Their backyards become dumps for the rich. The growth of large corporations and rapid industrialization by richer communities have led to colossal amounts of pollution.
We need to take a step back to reorganize our priorities. Is the rapid economic growth worth the costs of environmental damage and injustice?
SHRABASTI SAHA, AUSTIN
Re: Aug. 4 article, “Girlfriend who urged suicide given 15 months.”
Just my quick opinion on the Michelle Carter sentencing: I don’t necessarily agree with the sentence and weight of punishment. Her texts show direct intent to convince Conrad Roy to kill himself so that she would be the center of attention as the grieving girlfriend. She has shown little remorse during the trial period.
I personally believe she should have been given a much harsher punishment for what she did, maybe 2 years in prison plus probation. Despite the precedence it may set for future cases of this kind, I believe that would have been the right call.
JACOB REECE, AUSTIN
The dispute over laws regulating where our transgender sisters and brothers can use the restroom is a disagreement between Christians and other Christians, not Christians and secular people. Will we put our faith in an earthly, human-created social order based on wealth, gender and skin color — or follow Christ and treat everyone as our neighbor, even our worst enemies?
In Christ, our fears are relieved, even fears about people who refuse to bow down to that social order. There is no place for warfare of any kind. The claim of protecting one’s children is simply absurd. Locking your children in a closet will never keep God from revealing to them their authentic self that God created them to be. Whether gay or straight, cisgender, transgender or a nonbinary gender, they are all children of God who were created to be themselves.
NATHAN G. HARDEE, AUSTIN
After a lengthy conversation with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s office, it appears there will be no raises for the retired state employees for various reasons. Certain laws prevent the state from helping us. Sound familiar?
They were able to sidestep those laws to give one to the teachers, but not to the retirees. The last raise was in 2002, so in a manner of speaking, our annuities have gotten smaller — much smaller. The state used us up and now throws us on the trash heap, hoping that we will go away. It is the flu and allergy season. If all the state employees became sick, do you think that the legislators could run the state? It would be worse than the job they are now doing, which would rate an F minus on their report card. Cannot afford your medicine or doctor visits? It is your legislators’ fault.
JIM SMITH, AUSTIN