Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

July 24, 2006

Don't impose costs of care on business

I was delighted to see the "Wal-Mart law" overturned for two reasons ("Court voids `Wal-Mart law,'" July 20).

First, it was obviously doomed to fail because it conflicted with the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA.

Second, health care is a benefit or perk. When you choose to apply for a job, you are told what your salary and benefits would be. If you don't like the mix, you can look somewhere else.

Despite all of this, state Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael E. Busch wasted money getting this doomed legislation passed, and then overturning the governor's appropriate veto, as they wanted to force Wal-Mart to pay more for health care.

I think voters should also look at the reaction of Mayor Martin O'Malley and consider it when voting in the next election.

Mr. O'Malley said, "I don't think that any corporation ... ought to be able to push their health care costs off on the people of Maryland."

But as the court indicated, these were not Wal-Mart's health care costs. The people's health care costs rightly belong to the people involved.

And working people decide how they will cover their health care costs when they choose where they work.

Jeff Dreier

Pasadena

Another big victory for those with plenty

Heaven forbid that we, the people of Maryland, offend the Great Gods of Big Business by asking them to help even out the field of play ("Image already hurt, business leaders say," July 20).

But when, exactly, did it become inappropriate to ask that those with lots give a little more so that those with less could stay healthy?

And when did the working poor become the enemy of progress and development?

Today, of course, the loudest voices would have us believe that unrealistic goals such as a living wage and health care for everyone would hurt the forward motion of this state and this country.

But what about the ideas of fairness and justice, not to mention the fact that when others don't have access to health insurance, those of us who do have it pay the bill for their care?

While there are small sparks of hope (such as the growing living-wage movements across the country), the emphasis seems to be, "What can we do to placate money-hungry corporations?"

I appreciate The Sun pointing out that Wal-Mart's standing in this state was never in real jeopardy from this law. But maybe the headline should have read, "Big business wins again; when will this end?"

Nicholas Seldes

Baltimore

No need to tolerate exploitive practices

Aris Melissaratos, secretary of the state's Department of Business and Economic Development, and business leaders in Maryland cite the supposed harm done to Maryland's image in the business community by passage of the "Wal-Mart law" ("Image already hurt, business leaders say," July 20).

But what of the real harm done to employees, citizens and taxpayers by Wal-Mart's business policies?

Should the state not act to protect employees from inadequate health care insurance and the state treasury from being tapped by private interests for private gain?

Support for harmful business practices by government and business leaders can also damage the state's image.

I long ago stopped shopping at Wal-Mart, a practice that I intend to continue.

Sometimes the cost of low prices is just too high.

Merrill Milham

Baldwin

It's right to rebuke the Wal-Mart haters

The Maryland legislature received a well-deserved kick in the pants when a federal judge knocked down its legislative effort designed to single out Wal-Mart for punishment by forcing it to increase the amount of money it pays for employee health care ("Court voids `Wal-Mart law,'" July 20).

The Maryland Wal-Mart haters titled their bill "The Fair Share Health Care Fund Act."

That sounds as wonderful as Mom and apple pie. But there was nothing "fair" about it - particularly given that it was formulated with one company in its bull's-eye.

America will no longer exist as we know it if we empower any branch of government to use its long arm to create a vast new entitlement program at the expense of one company.

Oren M. Spiegler

Upper Saint Clair, Pa.

Unfair to profile just one candidate

The Sun's article on Lawrence A. Bell III's bid for the state Senate in the 40th District left me floored ("Bell making political return in city with run for state Senate," July 18).

Here is a guy who has been absent from city and community affairs for nearly seven years, and The Sun decides to do a lengthy article on him while ignoring the other candidates running for that seat.

I am particularly appalled that none of the other candidates has been profiled, especially Del. Salima Siler Marriott, who has the most experience in Annapolis.

In the interest of fairness and of educating readers, The Sun owes it to the community to profile all of the candidates.

Joyce A Kramer

Baltimore

The writer is a campaign coordinator for Del. Salima Siler Marriott.

Enforcing the law isn't `nitpicking'

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