Union Democrat staff

Grandparents Day a fantastic experience

To the Editor:

Well, Soulsbyville Elementary School staff, parents and students have outdone themselves again! They hosted their 35th annual Grandparents Day last week. What a glorious time was had by all. I have attended Grandparents Day each year since 2005 when my oldest granddaughter began kindergarten there. Each year has been a wonderful event. The staff and parents as well as the students provide such a warm welcome. All of the Grandparents are made to feel so "special." It is obvious there is a lot of work and organization that goes into this day. I applaud the teachers as well as the classified staff, parents and students for a job well done!

Thank you Soulsbyville for a fantastic day.

Pam Sharp


Walmart expansion debate continues

To the Editor:

Another local chimes in against the Walmart expansion - Stowell now joins Kirkbride, Conly, Carabas and allied groups.

I am confident that there are more than likely hundreds, if not thousands, more like minded people who will continue to shop at competitor grocery stores when Walmart completes the inevitable expansion. This demographic segment (predominantly affluent) is willing to pay more for costly amenities, including the dispensing of products/services by highly compensated union members. As a result, we will all end up with the desired grocery shopping experience.

Once again, when Walmart comes into a grocery market where they have not previously done business, they lower grocery prices 15 percent. Going against the expansion denies seven weeks of free groceries to primarily poor people (annually).

Conversely, if the expansion is not completed - thousands of local citizens would be denied this financial benefit - purportedly to save a few union jobs. Why deny your neighbors this economic assistance?

As an aside, I've noted that recent letters to the editor have a spectrum of qualities that melt into each other - becoming difficult to distinguish between straight-forward facts, double entendre, irony, and sarcasm. These letters appear to be coming from those on the left (narrowly self-interested). Interestingly, they collectively have a unique brand of humor - using statements with double meanings, some sort of innuendo or attempts to be witty in some way. Unfortunately, this is a sign of the times and expected, given the communication that comes out of the Obama administration as a guiding principle.

Ray Anderson


Conservatives' free market fails us

To the Editor:

There is a difference between capitalism and crony capitalism. What conservatives call the "free market" is crony capitalism and by design it transfers wealth to the wealthy at the expense of everyone else. This growing chasm between rich and poor makes for an unhealthy society, built on the foundation of substandard wages.

According to conservatives the free market should profit everyone. So let's consider an example of the free market model at work in China. Chinese workers suffer extremely low wages, long hours and substandard working conditions. Likewise, industry escapes environmental regulations. China consequently has the worst air pollution ever experienced, leading to 1.2 million needless deaths annually. Clean water shortages exist throughout China due to industrial waste and 1/6 of the arable land is polluted with heavy metals, while China must import food.

In America the conservative vision of the free market justified undermining labor unions. Thirty years ago unions representing 40 percent of the workforce negotiated living wages and reasonable working conditions. Now Unions represent only 9 percent. As unions declined wages have stagnated and abundant jobs have been lost. And now middle class is receiving similar treatment. Stores like Walmart should theoretically be demonstrating how the consolidation of wealth benefits all, but the opposite is true. The free market has a naïve and toothless social contract generating sub-poverty wages - where fairness has no advocate while the wealthy profit.

Britain and several Central American countries demanded union scale wages before allowing Walmart to enter their markets. Americans should demand the same. The proposed Walmart extension is development without prosperity. Creating sub-poverty jobs undermines our community. Many of our young families are leaving the county in search of a better life.

Good government and reasonable regulations protect a living wage and thus the health of our communities.

Robert Carabas