EDITOR: While we need to pay teachers more, why is the first reaction always to tax? There is a lot of money -- including lottery funds -- flowing into North Carolina’s education system, even though it is not as much as some other states spend.
A better approach is to first optimize how the state spends the current education budget. Establish performance metrics for every program and eliminate those and the associated administrative staff when they fail to perform. Review all regulations that are the source of spending and eliminate the unneeded. Only when that fails, inject more money.
Even then, why is the knee jerk to always go after corporations? It is absurd to push tax increases onto them as if they have a special pot of money to use. Don’t people realize corporations just roll a tax increase into their cost and we all end up paying for it when we buy a product? If they absorb the cost, then profitability takes a hit with reduced 401k/investment performance; also impacting huge numbers of people.
Steve Moore, Wilmington
Vote for children
EDITOR: Ask North Carolina parents what their top priority is and you’re certain to hear “My children, of course.” We parents pray for our kids’ health and safety, hope they do well in school, land a good job, and grow old in a peaceful and prosperous world. Their well-being is at the top of our agendas every hour of every day.
Well, almost, but with one exception. It would be difficult to reconcile our concern for our children with the way many of us vote, choosing candidates who represent positions contrary to their best interests.
Is it in our children’s interest to support a candidate who favors tax cuts for the wealthiest among us while cutting spending on education and denying teachers a living wage? How does forcing teachers to take second jobs … benefit our kids?
Is it in our children’s interest to support someone who denies that our climate is changing, that rising sea levels will force billions to abandon low-lying cities worldwide?
Is it in our children’s interest to vote for a candidate who’s more concerned about corporate donations than the quality of the water we drink?
Is it in our children’s interest to support politicians who refuse to even consider tightening our gun laws to reduce school shootings? What happened to our concern for our kids’ safety? ...
The upcoming general election is not about our present, it is about our children’s future. ...
Jeffrey Zalles, Southport
EDITOR: Oliver North, the right-wing extremist and infamous Iran-Contra gun runner who lied to Congress and beat a felony conviction with the help of the ACLU, recently called the survivors of the high school massacre in Parkland, Florida, "civil terrorists." He implored NRA members to "counterpunch" against the student activists, potentially inciting violence against kids who are forever traumatized by the mass shooting at their school last February.
He should thrive under the rock as the new president of the National Rifle Association.
Kenny Shoulars, Wilmington
Not a solution
EDITOR: This quote is from a recent Op-Ed column: “We don't lock people up for what they might do.” No, we don't, and we shouldn’t. However, this goes to the heart of why focusing on “mental health issues” regarding gun violence is bound to fail. How do you decide if someone with the generic label of “mentally unstable” is actually dangerous? And what can be done about it?
Is the NRA open to the idea that someone deemed “troubled” can have his gun rights revoked even temporarily? Who decides? And since gun ownership is sacrosanct is society ready to start doing the unthinkable and locking up “suspected” violent individuals before they do harm? Until when? Several recent mass shootings have involved individuals who through their behavior essentially announced to the world they were dangerous. Yet, was there really any legal way to prevent any of them from owning guns? ...
With this history it is doubtful that any new mental health policy can be implemented that will seriously mitigate the problem of troubled individuals obtaining high powered weapons and killing a bunch of people. …
Ben Bagby, Leland