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Home / Articles / Views / Letters /  Letters | Don't blame older workers
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Thursday, July 28,2011

Letters | Don't blame older workers

Don’t blame older workers

(Re: “Summer of our discontent,” cover story, July 21.) It is inflammatory, prejudiced and somewhat ridiculous to even insinuate that teens can’t find jobs because older people have taken them. There are so many things wrong with this theory that I hardly know where to start.

First off, why not place the blame for the lack of jobs where it belongs, on the companies that aren’t hiring, or more to the point, on the corporations that have laid off millions of Americans and continue to cut corners at every turn in search of the Almighty Quarterly Profit? Corporate greed is the reason why our jobs have disappeared; stop looking for a scapegoat.

Second, older workers face far, far more discrimination in the workplace than young people do in a culture that is dominated by, and obsessed with, youth. Having been downsized out of a job repeatedly in the past 10 years (twice because of corporate mergers), I’ve often interviewed at companies where no one seemed to be much over the age of 23 or so, and interviews are usually conducted by managers that look no older than my children. In one case, I easily outperformed all of the kids at the table with me in an editing test, but despite this, plus years of experience and a degree, I never even received an initial call back. Was it because they couldn’t afford an older, experienced worker, an employment trend many economists have reported? Or, perhaps it was because I didn’t fit in with the corporate (youth) culture, or it was a little of both?

Third, while some teens might really need work to contribute to the family in these hard times, most are not faced with the reality of paying utilities, rent or mortgage, water, trash and groceries, as most older workers are. Rather, they want jobs to help cover the bills for their cell phones and i-Thingies, or to get a car. Important things, perhaps, but these are mostly what are called “luxury necessities” and do not rise to the level of “need.” Confusing “want” with “need” is a common mistake made by the young, including myself, when I was young and had yet to be humbled by life into understanding the difference.

If your paper feels the need to blame someone for the lack of work for any group, put the blame where it belongs, on the companies, rather than singling out a scapegoat such as the older worker. Can you even imagine the uproar you would create if you ran an article stating that whites can’t find a job because they’re all taken by minorities and foreigners? Such jingoistic racism might play well with a certain segment of the readership, but it would never make it past the editor’s desk (I would hope). Why, then, is ageism fair game?

Michael Passe/Lafayette

Danish’s idiotic proposal

(Re: “A modest proposal for the budget impasse,” Danish Plan, July 14.) This proposal ignores political realities, and common sense, putting forth a “compromise” that will only make our deficit crisis worse. It is flawed for several reasons.

First, the author assumes that Republicans are even interested in compromise. In paperwork they released in April discussing reducing the deficit, they put forward a plan in which 85 percent of savings would come from spending cuts and the rest from revenue increases. In true form, the GOP has now decided to hold this country’s bond rating hostage until spending cuts are substituted for the remaining revenue increases that they originally proposed.

Second, to suggest “swapping” the Bush tax cuts for “Obamacare” is nonsensical. On one side you have landmark legislation that makes it illegal for insurance companies to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions, which the Congressional Budget Office estimates will save more than $1 trillion over 20 years. On the other side you have the Bush tax cuts, which have already cost more than $3 trillion in tax revenue and have not created jobs. In fact, the last administration saw the lowest overall percent increase in jobs since Herbert Hoover. Not only did these cuts fail, but they are set to expire in 2012. If Obama does nothing, these onerous tax cuts will simply disappear.

Why would Democrats trade a signature piece of legislation in order to repeal tax cuts that are set to expire? Answer: The author is either a Republican or an idiot and has adopted their definition of “compromise.”

To sum up my issue with each point: 1. “Obamacare” is set to save us more than $1 trillion. See above. 2. The Bush tax cuts are set to expire in two years. See above. 3. By virtue of basic math, Danish is suggesting that we extend these cuts for one year. See above. 4. In 1937, Congress and FDR tried massively cutting spending, and it nearly sent us right back into the Great Depression. 5. Raising the debt ceiling has happened 89 times since 1917, usually in a bipartisan manner, and should not require a compromise to begin with.

I challenge the author to show me why this “compromise” is anything but kowtowing to Republican obstructionism and doesn’t solve our debt crisis, but makes it worse, all the while throwing the most vulnerable members of our society to the wolves, better known as health insurance companies.

Joe Illingworth/Boulder

Our agricultural future

While most Boulder residents are not paying much attention, nine Boulder County Cropland appointees are determining for you the future use of 25,000 acres of public open space designated as agricultural-use lands. The process began in May, and as a policy, will be presented to the public in October. At each meeting, every other week, we, the public, are allowed to observe, but not speak or respond.

There are numerous basic premises not being addressed by this group of nine. The primary one, of course, being: Do we want large agri-business, monocrop farmers who use numerous highly toxic chemicals to produce genetically modified organisms (GMOs) like corn, sugar beets, soy, and soon-to-be-GMO alfalfa in Boulder County public open space at all? Who decided in the first place that Boulder residents wanted these farmers polluting our soil, air and water every summer?

Only two of the nine people representing the hand-selected Cropland Policy Board are organic farmers with smaller farms, and more than 20,000 acres are already leased out to these “mainstream” chemical-laden farmers who sell their crops out of county. So, the odds are pretty good that the fundamental premise that this Cropland Policy document will support is the continuation of the failed Western Hemisphere farming experiment that has been going on the past 70 years. We can’t feed the world according to Monsanto, with large mono-crops. We need to return to smaller, local and traditionally based farming techniques that preserve natural systems.

We can do better than this, Boulder, and if we can’t do it, it’s not going to happen, except maybe up in the Northwest. I’ll be honest here. I have zero tolerance for “mainstream” chemical-driven farming. I do not believe chemicals are the answer to economics, feeding the world, creating health for people, animals and soil, or solving any other world problems.

We, the people of Boulder County, set the standards for who is allowed to farm in Open Space. We can have as high of standards as we want, I might add: permaculture and organic a must, bio-dynamic preferred, crop rotations required, soil health by only natural means, pastured animals. Set the standards high and people will respond. A certain percentage of the farmers would be required to be Community Supported Agriculture operations, which could include bees, bread-making, winter storage for vegetables, grain growing, and another percentage of farmers can be the Farmers’ Market farmers and have business arrangements with local restaurants. Those of you who care about saving Boulder County open space from GMO crops and toxic farming methods, please make your opinion clear and attend the Wednesday, Aug. 10, CPAG meeting that has been designated as the GE crop meeting when GMOs on county lands will be discussed.

Anne Harper/Longmont

Spaceship Earth

Once upon a time there was a spaceship. The ship was unique in the galaxy. It had the ability to sustain itself by sequestering energy from the cosmos as it traveled through space. Food for the crew was grown right on the ship, and through an ages-old process known as photosynthesis, oxygen was harvested for breathing as well. The operation of the ship was divided into three main categories: management, crew and technical support.

Management made all the critical decisions and controlled security and the judiciary, taking valuable input from the crew and the technical staff in order to keep the human species alive for the voyage that was to last for more than 2 million years. Human reproduction was to be regulated by available resources. After about 50,000 years and due to the fact that life spans increased as knowledge of disease control improved, population increased beyond the optimum model. The ship’s management over the years had also acquired a larger-than-normal amount of control, and influence over the crew, and ideological differences as to the purpose of and responsibility for the voyage became a source of contention. The technicians warned of lifestyle adjustments that were necessary for all on board to maintain the sustainability of the flagship, and the difference between a plentiful life and one that was stressed for resources became unduly imbalanced.

Eventually, after it became abundantly obvious that the ship was in peril, everybody agreed in principle to the necessary adjustments, but implementation was delayed. And even though there was a clear path for survival, management was slow to yield its resources or its ideological views, so the critical point for control of the ship passed before the necessary changes could be fully implemented.

The crew died first, then the techni cal staff and, finally, with no knowledge of how to run a hugely complex ship, management, rich in wealth and power and fixated in the righteousness of its ideology, also perished.

Astonishingly, the spaceship, running on auto pilot and relieved of its requirements to support human life, survived along with a few hardy subspecies for another 5 billion years and was even visited and inhabited by other intelligent life forms who were quick to marvel at the incredible resources available on the ship that were never tapped.

Tom Lopez/via Internet

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