Holiday shopping decisions can make a difference
Many of us participated in Black Friday sales, grabbing low-cost gifts to share with our friends and families. But where consumers see low cost, retail workers see low benefits.
At Wal-Mart, the average hourly pay of employees is roughly $8.81. The truth is, it is impossible to raise a family of three or four on $8.81 per hour without government assistance. Despite this level of poverty for their employees, Wal-Mart was ranked the sixth most profitable company at $16 billion in 2011.
This company is making millions in profits while subsidizing many of their workers' pay with taxpayer money. If Wal-Mart raised the minimum wage of its full-time employees to $25,000 a year, 700,000 people would be lifted out of poverty without government aid, at only a 1 percent price increase passed on to consumers.
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As consumers, we have the power to show Wal-Mart that these socially harmful and individually demeaning business practices are completely unacceptable by speaking with our money.
Be a conscientious consumer and support companies that support their employees. Websites such as Greenamerica.org/programs/responsibleshopper are resources to research where you are putting your money. Abusive retailers cannot continue their practices if we refuse to support them, so make the right choice this holiday season, and shop for change.
Ryan Donahue and Bekka Palmer
A satisfying race
I've been very fortunate and enjoyed some great experiences. I've worn my name on my shirt and carried it on a business card, I've tended bar and now I'm a member of the Kentucky Bar Association.
Few of those experiences, however, rival the honor of having been the 2012 Democratic congressional candidate for the 4th District of Kentucky. This was my first race, and I have not decided whether I will run again — but the reception I received was so warm it's certainly an inviting prospect.
I want to thank those who supported me in the primary and general elections, Republicans and Democrats in all 20 counties, the voters of the 4th District and all those who welcomed my family and me into their lives. Parades, festivals, county fairs, Democratic meetings, town halls, meeting citizens and hearing their concerns — all of those events were positive learning experiences for us. We enjoyed every minute of it. That's why, regardless of the vote result and because it was such an amazing experience, on Nov. 6 we had a victory party in Covington.
Again, my family and I thank you so much for making this campaign a rewarding experience.
Here's to an act of kindness by Good Shepherd Episcopal Church on East Main Street for placing a sturdy bench for those who await the Blue Trolley.
It even provides respite for the occasional weary walker.
Job creators? Hardly
Every time I hear Republicans say we can't raise tax rates on millionaires and billionaires because they are job creators, I feel they are trying to transport us to an alternate universe.
The primary goal of any for- profit business is to maximize profits, not create jobs. It's even worse than that. Employee costs generally consume a significant proportion of a company's income, so the fewer employees, the greater the profits. As long as profits go up, then whatever it takes to do that — reducing wages and laying off workers, etc. — is good for business.
I can understand millionaires and billionaires wanting politicians to create laws that make them even richer, but don't tell me they have any desire to use their accumulating fortunes to create jobs.
In the history of our country, every time taxes have been lower for the richest, deficit spending tends to rise and employment, personal income and the stock market trend down. At best, this GOP mantra is irrational, self-serving propaganda.
Our country has always been more prosperous under Democratic leadership because they tend to consider and involve all sides in creating solutions.
Even the richest have done well during Democratic administrations. Don't take my word for it; look up the facts for yourself.
Joseph P. Fox
Imagine our dismay finding out that people in certain states in our country want to secede from the union.
Scrolling through the news channels, we witnessed stories about concerned citizens feeling their freedom has been indefinitely infringed upon due to the re- election of Barack Obama.
However, we never in our lives dreamed that people from Kentucky would propose something as ridiculous as seceding. There are people from 20 other states proposing this petition, but many of them don't have concrete objectives for their state after secession.
Before making assumptions, we sought to see the objectives of the petition, and all it contains is two quotes from the original Declaration of Independence written in 1776. The petition calls for 25,000 signatures; it recently had more than 19,000.
If this magical number were attained, how exactly our state would operate baffles us. Are the people wishing to secede operating for the interests of those who aren't afforded access to services provided by the government?
We all have a right to advocate for an issue through petitioning, but there must be rational points to support, other than dated quotes from 1776 which don't give light to changing times.
Raven Darko-Mensah Danielle Jennings
Envision Town Branch
I love reading about new ideas to add to the already beautiful Lexington. The Town Branch resurrection sounds wonderful.
I would like to just make a small suggestion. Don't you think that branch would look good with an Oriental look all along its two miles?
Bridges over ponds with pagodas of different styles in certain areas would look good. Maybe a teahouse. Steppingstones always look good; fern, bamboo, waterfall, rocks of different sizes, iris flowers, maple trees, dogwood, crab apple, assorted pine trees have an Oriental look and don't lose their leaves, which would be good in winter. Some hostas look good and are perennial.
Oriental gardens are very showy and really get attention; they aren't made often enough. Lexington would look great with some Oriental flair. Don't you agree?
Who knows, you might even get something lovely given from the Orient.
Another thing. I loved the story about Anna and Harlan Hubbard and the simple life they lived. More stories like that need to be written.