Letters to editor for Friday, April 16, 2021

Readers write about immigration, corporate wages, infrastructure and political corruption in letters to…

Letters to editor for Friday, April 16, 2021 1

Blame migrants or corporate ‘greed’?

The disparity between billionaires growing richer during the pandemic and a woman working two jobs yet being unable to afford her insulin or food (as highlighted in articles one recent day) was blamed by one writer on immigrants flooding our country and working for low wages. I’m sure that’s what Walmart, McDonald’s and other corporate entities want you to believe.

But in November 2020 the Government Accountability Office released data showing some of the biggest and most profitable corporations in the U.S. are the top employers of workers who receive Medicaid and SNAP aid to buy food.

Walmart is the top U.S. employer (with about 1.5 million workers in America, according to Fox Business, June 19). About 30% of Walmart’s employees work there part-time and receive fewer benefits, such as health insurance (Reuters, May 2018). Walmart’s starting hourly pay has been $11 since 2018 (Fox Business, June 19). 

However, Target, Costco and Amazon all pay $15 as a minimum wage* and are profitable. So taxpayers are subsidizing Walmart’s and McDonald’s choices not to pay fair wages.

Perhaps we need to address the greed of corporate America, instead of blaming immigrants for seeking a better life.

(Editor’s note: Reuters reported Feb. 25 that Costco was raising its minimum wage* for its hourly staff to $16 — a dollar more than rivals Amazon.com and Target pay per hour — and that Walmart raised its hourly wage to an average of $15 in February.) 

Chris Friedrichs, Fort Myers area

McConnell to block infrastructure fixes?

Now that the president has presented his planned bill for taking care of infrastructure, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has vowed no cooperation from Republicans. This is reminiscent of 2008, when he said his most important job was to make Barack Obama a one-term president. Is it any wonder the Democrats are forced to go it alone again?

All of a sudden, McConnell has had an epiphany with his concern for the budget deficit. That certainly was not considered for his almost $2 trillion (tax cut legislation), a giveaway mostly to the rich. 

Who on Earth doesn’t think we need modernization of our infrastructure? The U.S. is woefully behind other industrial countries. Our airports, rail system and bridges are in such disrepair, not to mention our ancient plumbing, with its lead content.   

Glenn Chenot, Cape Coral 

Call it political corruption; oust them

Some defend Gov. Ron DeSantis’ preferential vaccine disbursement by calling media coverage “hit pieces.” I view giving preferential treatment to his political donors as an abuse of his position as governor and a form of political corruption. DeSantis has used vaccine distributions — health care for Floridians — to help his campaign funding;

Corruption has been normalized in Florida politics. We elect some people against our own interests and despite serious examples of their misuse of power for personal gain.

The most egregious example: U.S. Sen. Rick Scott was CEO of a company ultimately fined $1.7 billion for Medicare and Medicaid fraud that clearly victimized taxpayers. Even so, he was elected governor and later senator.

Yet Scott refused to expand Medicaid as governor, and as a senator he votes against any program that would expand health care to low wage-earners. DeSantis, Scott and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio spread misinformation while opposing the expansion of medical coverage to low-income working Floridians.

It is time to recognize political corruption for what it is: administering policy for a politician’s personal gain, instead of in the interests of all Florida residents.

Instead of defending these guys, we should vote them out.

Judy Freiberg, East Naples

Seeing red at busy road intersections

Traffic has been very heavy on Naples roads recently, but there are some things that seem to cause particular problems for some drivers. Turn right on red is one. 

Your right to turn right at a red stoplight isn’t unconditional. It is conditioned on the way being clear. Vehicles on the road you want to turn onto have the right of way, especially when they have a green light, highly likely if you have a red. This means you need to stop, check the way is clear, then proceed, not just blast through as if you had a green light.

This is still true when vehicles are doing a legal U-turn at the lights, turning back on the road you intend to join. They are on that road already, so they have primacy and have a green light, so they, not you, have the right of way. Let them turn, then move on.

I saw three very close misses last week alone. In all of them, the drivers turning right on red lights clearly thought they were in the right. 

A little courtesy and knowing the road rules and all of us can safely enjoy the paradise we live in.

Greig McCallum, North Naples


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