Union Democrat staff

Obama and the banks

To the Editor:

President Obama (to ABC news) …

"Banks should accept a lower profit so their customers won't have to pay for debit cards." … "Banks can make money, they can succeed the old-fashioned way - by earning it by lending to small business and by lending to consumers, by making sure we are building the economy together."

How can it be that there is no one in the White House adult enough to sit the president down and explain the basics of an economy to him? How can he still, at his age, be unaware that one of the ways the banks earn their keep is by providing services to the public, and that one of these services is the ability to transact purchases without carrying around large wads of cash? Given the number of people in the America who seem to use their debit card for every purchase, no matter how small, $5 a month seems like a screaming deal to me. However, if the people living from their debit cards are unwilling to pay for the convenience, they can avoid the fees by not taking advantage of the opportunity to exercise the convenience.

And please note that Obama's response is not to simply complain, he wants banks to waive these fees and make their money via loans, which will result in higher interest rates as banks, with the president's encouragement, seek to recoup the fees he has decreed unconscionable.

On the other hand, why should we expect anything else from a man who led sit-ins at banks as a Chicago community organizer? He's simply using his bully pulpit to foment discord as he has always done. He knows no other way.

Ray Anderson


Learn something about

Spina Bifida in October

To the Editor:

October is Spina Bifida Awareness Month. Spina Bifida is the most common permanently disabling birth defect, affecting about one out of every 1,000 newborns in the U.S. What is Spina Bifida? It's a birth defect that results in the spinal cord protruding from a baby's back. The back can be surgically closed before or after birth, but damage to the spinal cord can cause paralysis, hydrocephalus (fluid on the brain), bowel and bladder issues, and other challenges. What causes it, and how can it be prevented? No one knows what causes Spina Bifida, but women can reduce their risk up to 70 percent by taking 400mcg of folic acid daily for three months prior to conception. Every woman of childbearing age should take a daily multivitamin. What are people with Spina Bifida like? There is a wide range of outcomes. Some are barely affected, some severely disabled, and most fall somewhere in between. Some use wheelchairs; others use braces, crutches or walkers; and some walk independently. Most have normal intelligence. Spina Bifida is only one part of them and does not define them. They can become teachers, doctors, musicians, athletes, or anything they want to be. What do you do when you see someone with a disability? Instead of looking away, make eye contact and smile. Instead of shushing children who ask questions about a wheelchair or other differences, encourage children to ask the person about it, or answer with: "Some people's legs don't work the same as yours, so they need help to get around." Emphasize people with disabilities are more like everyone else than they are different. If you would like to learn more about Spina Bifida, visit www.spinabifidaassociation.org.

Holly Marquardt