Regarding the June 22 article, "If minimum wage is raised, who benefits?": Having the job loss statistics at the bottom of the story downplays their importance.
The number of jobs lost is tragic. I have worked at a lot of jobs for minimum wage. It's hard to get by on a minimum wage salary, but it's impossible to get by if you can't get work at all.
What would really help low-wage earners is eliminating the withholding tax by instituting a national sales tax. This would effectively give everyone an immediate pay raise without requiring employers to raise the minimum wage.
Regarding the June 22 article, "Minimum wage vote vexing for GOP": How ironic to see the Senate debate the rationale for denying a decent increase in the minimum wage, when they have just quietly given themselves another $3,000 pay raise.
Republicans continually claim to be the party with the "family values." Maybe that should include an income that a family can live on, rather than tax cuts for the wealthy.
Regarding the June 21 article, "Why mom enlisted an online sleuth to keep tabs on child": With both parents working in today's society to pay the bills, the need to install a monitoring device on the computer only makes sense.
The more aware America's parents are about whom their children are conversing with online, the less chance there is that children will encounter predators.
For parents who are not tech-savvy about computers, there are computer services out there to help. A national computer service called Data Doctors Computer Services has warning signs to identify where the children have gone on the Internet.
There are also books available, such as "Staying Safe in a Wired World: A Parent's Guide to Internet Safety," by Rob Nickel.
It was with great relief that I read the June 22 article, "Conservation will trump access at the national parks," about Bush's changing philosophy on conservation in the National Park system. Finally, it seems, the president is getting the message that most Americans want their natural areas to stay that way. To solve the problem of funding for the parks we need to find creative solutions – sponsorships, higher user fees, etc. – rather than weakening the regulations that have kept our parks the finest natural areas in the world.
David J. Ellis
Silver Spring, Md.
In response to Jeffrey Shaffer's June 2 Opinion piece, "Overcrowding at the gas pump": I wonder if a return to a society of "rugged individuals" is the best solution to this complicated century. Logic tells me that welfare programs and government subsidies may be inflating the problems Mr. Shaffer brought up. They create an unnatural group of people that is dependent on the tax money of the productive. This clearly creates a burden on the economy. If things were left on their own, production, as well as the prices of products and services, would develop naturally, and the fruits of the labor of the "rugged individual" would be the mainstay of the economy.
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