On gun laws, a bogus ‘surplus,’ and what’s best for workers

Gun News

Gun laws are not keeping us safe

Know what happens when every self-inflated creep, every drunk in the bar, every sad high school loser, and every wacko with a list of grievances exercises his “constitutional right” to own and carry firearms whenever and wherever they choose?

They start shooting each other — and parents, wives and children, neighbors, teachers, lawyers, bartenders, doctors, therapists, judges, and law enforcement officers — anyone who challenges their God-given rights, freedom, their manhood or good looks. Thank you NRA, Iowa gun owners, Brownells, and state Rep. Matt Windschitl for your diligent efforts to make Iowa a more safe and secure place to live.

-Jim Walters, Iowa City

Surplus nonsense

What is this so-called “surplus?” Iowa Republicans say that you have been overtaxed and deserve to have your money returned. This is a twisted version of reality. Here’s the truth: Our communities have been underserved by our own tax dollars, and Republican tax proposals will skew the system further in favor of corporations and the rich.

While you were swerving to avoid potholes, scrambling to find child care, facing eviction, losing your business — the Kim Reynolds administration kept our tax dollars banked. Instead of putting them toward a stronger, healthier state, they sat back and called it a “surplus.” 

It’s no secret that the state’s income is artificially high due to federal pandemic relief. The flow of cash is ending, though, and what comes next if we slash state revenue? Pose this question to your representatives. The answer some won’t want to admit is that the state general fund — over 50% of which goes toward education — will wither up. That doesn’t bode well for schools or families.

This temporary “surplus” is really just a missed opportunity to invest in Iowa.

-Sean Finn, Iowa City

One-size-fits-all bargaining is not the solution

Regarding the Feb. 8 opinion, “Johnson County Democrats can strike a blow for workers’ rights in Statehouse,” Austin Wu’s proposal of sectoral bargaining would do harm to workers, job creators, and even is viewed with skepticism by some unions.

There are several problems with the scheme.

First, it would force workers who never voted for a union to accept their representation or work under union-negotiated terms.

It would also harm workers’ ability to get a raise. Workers would not be able to go from one employer to another in an industry for better pay or benefits, because it would all be set by the union-negotiated terms.

It would harm small businesses. If unions are negotiating or helping set wages or benefits for entire industries through government boards, then large businesses will have more clout. The needs, innovation and flexibility of small businesses will be outweighed by big business interests.

Wu holds up European countries where sectoral bargaining is prevalent as an example to follow, but in fact the model is on the decline there. In Germany, for instance, many employers are opting out of sectoral agreements, finding them inflexible and unresponsive to modern work needs.

Even the AFL-CIO has voiced concerns in the past, likely because they would be negotiating for workers who are not paying them.

That is why sectoral bargaining should be considered another bad idea that is wrong for the county, state and nation.

-F. Vincent Vernuccio, Hamilton, Virginia

Why I support Michael Franken for Senate

Michael Franken is a Democrat from Lebanon, Iowa. He is vying to be the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, and, if victorious in the June primary, would  run against Charles Grassley in November. Franken spent more than 30 years in the U.S. Navy and rose to the rank of vice admiral. I strongly support his candidacy, both because he is the best qualified candidate to be the next U.S. senator from Iowa and because he is by far the best bet to defeat Grassley.

It may seem paradoxical for a peace advocate like myself to be supporting a retired three-star admiral. My support is personal. I am not speaking for any organization to which I belong. Franken is not a war-hawk. In 2002, he advocated against war in Iraq, and in 2004 urged that the U.S. withdraw troops from Afghanistan. He supports a “no first use” policy in regard to nuclear weapons. He recognizes the need for a redefinition of what constitutes national security, and is uniquely qualified to lead that effort.  

He is strong on his defense of the Constitution, and on domestic issues, but that is material for another article. Please give him a close look.

-Ed Flaherty, Iowa City

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