Letters 12-13-2012


Entitlements

Benefits were paid for

To listen to politicians talk about cutting so-called entitlements, they make it sound like freebees to the people.

Anyone who has worked 30 plus years during his/her lifetime has not only paid taxes, but also paid into Social Security and Medicare, so they are entitled to receive those benefits they paid for — as it would be with a savings account.

If you read the obituaries daily, you will find that a lot of people die in their 60s, some even younger. The people who die in their 80s and 90s are frequently Japanese or Filipino and a lot of those folks continue working until they die.

The money that the younger ones paid before they died goes back into the coffers of Social Security.

Now they tell us that Social Security is, or soon will be, broke. That’s only because they put that money into the general fund, rather than keeping it in Social Security.

That money needs to come back into the coffers of Social Security and we should not have a problem of Social Security going broke.

No smoke and mirrors, please.

Christa Wagner

Kailua-Kona

HSTA

Don’t put teachers last

One of the popular slogans seen on the signs and T-shirts of teachers protesting on the streets near their schools all over the state is: You can’t put students first if you put teachers last.

Today, along with more than 80 schools, Kealakehe Elementary School teachers and supporters were out sign-waving in force. One of the teachers at my school told me a parent didn’t like that slogan because it sounds like we don’t put students first.

I was shocked and dismayed by that perspective, but I am always grateful for an opportunity to shed light on a topic. There are other slogans similar to this one with the same sentiment: “A teacher’s working environment is a child’s learning environment.” And “ain’t nobody happy if mama ain’t happy.” Or how about taking care of your own oxygen supply before helping others?

Though we give and give of our time, energy, attention, care and money, there comes a point when you do not get enough back to replenish your reserves. When this happens, people quit. Hawaii, like the rest of the nation, has a problem with teachers leaving the profession. It is a shame when these are good teachers leaving for better opportunities.

We want to fix this. And we don’t ask for much: respect, a fair contract, fair evaluations and fair evaluators, and a wage commensurate with our educational level and the workload required. I hope the community will see that by supporting teachers, they are supporting students. Give us the oxygen, so we can give oxygen to the students in our care.

Diane Aoki

Kealakekua