Letter: Fair sacrifice

August 21, 2013

To the editor:

I want to endorse two statements made by Mr. Robert S. McDonnell in his recent essay “Circus Act.”

First is the statement that “Effective change [in public policy] requires shared sacrifice.” I agree, but I think that the sharing of sacrifice should be fair. Let’s look at some major cuts approved by the current General Assembly.

When health care benefits from Medicaid are blocked, who sacrifices? When long-term unemployment benefits are cut off, who sacrifices? When the earned income tax credit, a concept endorsed by President Reagan as “the best anti-poverty, the best pro-family, the best job creation measure to come out of Congress,” is eliminated, who sacrifices? The answer every time is people who are struggling to make ends meet.

Now, I am well aware of the fact that some people who would have been helped by those aid programs do not really need that assistance. But there is ample reason to believe that the majority do.

So, what are the sacrifices that people who are better off - people like me - are making? Are we sharing the sacrifices in a fair manner?

I also endorse Mr. McDonnell’s assessment that, due to poor choices during previous legislatures, “North Carolina needs to raise the salaries of its teachers.” Moreover, under that circumstance, I think it is doubly unwise for the current legislature both to refuse to raise teachers’ pay and to cut back state support for teacher assistants. How does that help solve this problem?

Allen C. Dotson