A wish list

A wish list for our state leaders:

1. Medicaid expansion: a no-brainer, but then again, we seem to have an abundance of no-brainers in leadership.

2. Raise minimum wage to $10 per hour. At $20,800 a year before taxes and Social Security deductions for a 40-hour week, this is still not a livable wage, but it would get us back to the minimum wage level for 1960 when adjusted for inflation.

3. Propose an amendment to the state Constitution that states, “If leadership cannot agree on a budget by the due date, then members of the legislature and the governor shall forfeit all of their salary (non-refundable) from that date until the date when a budget is approved.” The last time I checked, getting paid for a job and then not completing that job is classified as fraud.

Gary Benesh

North Wilkesboro

What if?

What if we bypassed the Washington establishment in favor of an outlier from the business world to occupy the Oval Office and run the country like a business?

And what if that individual in three short years engendered an economy of mind-boggling proportions whose benefits cut across social, economic and ethnic lines and inured to the benefit of all? And what if that individual negotiated favorable trade agreements with China, Canada and Mexico? And what if that individual brought us to the cusp of energy independence? And what if that individual bolstered our military and convinced our allies to increase their defense spending? And what if that individual reintroduced deterrence to the Middle East with calculated shows of strength?

Our response, as it turns out, would be to impeach said individual essentially for being an “impostor” absent the desired pedigrees and social graces. Which rather begs another question: Exactly how galactically stupid are we?

Mike Parker


Reducing the risk

The Journal’s Jan. 15 editorial, “An assault on environmental sense,” illustrates a problem with our laws when it comes to dealing with climate change. The 50-year-old National Environmental Policy Act and the 50-year-old Clean Air Act rely on administrative action to address the environmental problems of the 1960s and 1970s. Neither act was designed to address risk to the climate caused by emissions of greenhouse gasses. And interpretations of how each act is applied can change based on who is president.

Congress needs to enact comprehensive legislation designed to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are altering our climate. The bipartisan Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act is an important first step to reduce the risk of climate change. Instead of having some administrative agency tell us how to reduce the risk, this legislation would empower all businesses and individuals to find the best way to reduce emissions, create jobs and protect low- and middle-income households. It is time for Rep. Virginia Foxx and Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis to act on this issue.

Bill Blancato


Dictionary definitions

The dictionary defines “evangelical” as “good messenger;” it refers to those who preach the Gospel. So I looked up “Gospel” and it means “good message” or “good news” and refers to conveying the teachings of Jesus Christ and the apostles.

Maybe those meanings need to be changed because I’m reading a lot about evangelicals who basically bow down to President Trump most of all and proclaim whatever teachings he promotes: never-ending disrespect for human beings (including a teenager who is actually doing something about global warming), constant falsehoods, love of money, self-idolatry and lack of inclusiveness — views that reject the love Jesus has for all people.

Of course, the president can easily issue an executive order requiring dictionaries to change those definitions of evangelical and Gospel. But, alas, he hasn’t needed to do that. His devotees have already taken care of it. What they’ve done is called apostasy.

So I looked up “apostasy” and it means “a renunciation or abandonment of a former loyalty.”

The Rev. Bill Gramley


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