Hostile business climate prolongs unemployment
Regarding the young who are homeless and without jobs: one of the causes is that employers like me have to face myriad bureaucratic and insurance requirements in order to hire a person in California for part-time, on-call jobs. When employees do not perform and their services are terminated, these persons find they have rights. They can get free access to the Labor Board, IRS, unemployment departments, workers' compensation, mediation and even a lawsuit. The employer now faces time-consuming forms to fill, personal appearances and legal expenses.
If there were charitable organizations where these young workers could register and where employers could hire after minimum requirements, with wages based on kind of work, these young people would be able to work, learn trades and improve their futures. This would also discourage people from employing illegally.
Dr. Adi D. Adins
Elections in even years not worth trade-off
City officials are once again trying to convince voters that even-year elections are better for San Ramon, that it'll save $142,000 every two years. Yes, but at what cost to good governance?
Currently, candidates for elected positions need only focus their campaigns on those who care enough about San Ramon to vote during the odd years. That's roughly half of those voting in even-year local, state and federal elections. Candidates still need to raise substantial funds, but even-year elections would require vastly more in an effort to reach twice as many voters, half of whom don't care all that much, while there is a huge amount of general campaign noise afoot.
Where would these extra dollars come from? My experience: family, friends and self-funding yield maybe $5,000 to $10,000 -- not nearly enough! So the candidates, whether challengers or incumbents, will be forced to approach those who do business with the city: developers, public employee unions and other special interests. This will not be good for the city in the long run! Good local governance, without the heavy hand of special interest money, is easily worth $71,000 per year! Please, once again, vote NO on Measures D and E!
San Ramon former mayor, council member
Reduce mayor's, council's health care benefits
Recently, attending a San Ramon City Council candidates night, I heard the candidates stating the need to find ways to cut spending by the city, mentioning union pensions, etc.
I certainly have another way to do that -- by cutting out the generous health benefits that the City Council and mayor, who are the only permanent part-time employees, receive each year. The last two years I have checked, and while not all members take such an advantage, two members have been rewarded close to or more than $20,000 in benefits, the last year both more than $20,000 apiece, one of those almost $25,000.
I agree that City Council members do work hard, but this seems extreme and suggests that those members benefit largely by not having to pay for their own health insurance, putting city money in their pocket. Maybe new candidates will change this.
Congress good at one thing at very least
Now that the budget debacle is over (for the moment), I must say that you can always count on Congress to do the right thing -- after all other options have been explored.
Social Security's benefit -- devil is in the details
Regarding her Oct. 20 "Other Views" essay, "Social Security a huge boost to economy," Katie Hirning, California state director of the AARP, simply repeats the propaganda contained in the Oct. 1 report by AARP's Public Policy Institute.
Unlike Ms. Hirning, at least the AARP did confess on page 10 and in footnote 24 of its report that the basis of its analysis was gross, not net. That is, a gross analysis considers the economic benefits of payments to retirees without taking into account the economic penalties from payroll taxes being paid by current workers. Ms. Hirning conveniently omits disclosure of this salient fact.
Footnote 24 in the AARP report states, "A net analysis would subtract the economic effects of payroll taxes from those of the benefit payments." And the body of the AARP report on page 10 reads, "A net analysis would likely show some or even most of the positive effects of Social Security benefits described in this paper as being offset by the program's payroll taxes."
Since Ms. Hirning tells us the truth but not the whole truth, your newspaper has unknowingly contributed to publication of misleading information.
National debt trumps blame for shutdown
Recent writers have debated whether the cause of the government "shutdown" was Senate Majority Leader Reid refusing to let the Senate vote on HR 2775 or House Speaker Boehner refusing a vote on the Senate's appropriations bill or President Obama's frequent veto threats. These writers remind me of people concentrating on minor matters while ignoring the "elephant in the room."
What elephant? It's the enormous debt politicians have foisted upon us and on our children. With a total debt of more than $17 trillion, this means every man, woman and child now owes about $54,000. I'm not sure about other readers, but my kids certainly don't have that kind of extra money lying around.
If you had a relative who consistently spent more than his income and had credit card debt equal to an entire year's salary, what would you suggest he do? Would it be "find a fool willing to give you yet another credit card?"
If you keep voting for those who want more and more borrowing, you must still believe in Santa Claus.