Sun-Times Media library
Updated: February 11, 2014 6:21AM
Want to get people off welfare and food stamps, and pay taxes?
Raise the minimum wage.
People think all those wonderful hamburger flipper jobs will escape to Wisconsin and Indiana. I don’t think so. McDonald’s franchises are some of the most lucrative small business opportunities out there, resulting in many millionaire owners.
I wouldn’t mind paying two bits per meal more to get someone off government support.
Chicagoans were put to a test this past week with heavy snowfall followed by frigid temperatures. As usual, commuters were encouraged to take public transportation and avoid the risks associated with navigating icy roads and blowing snow. This should have been an easy choice, but thanks to Metra completely failing its part of the test, tens of thousands of commuters endured service that was so abysmal it was an outright disgrace. While it is true the frigid temperatures and snowfall provided a considerable challenge, this certainly should not exactly have come as a complete surprise to anyone working for Metra who is remotely familiar with Chicago winters.
Of course, poor service is really nothing new for Metra riders; despite the nearly 70 percent rate increases in 2012, service has declined so sharply in recent years that delays on inbound and outbound trains have become a routine part of the daily commute. But Metra’s dismal performance of the past few days made it glaringly apparent that years of corruption and cronyism have severely impacted Metra’s ability to provide even the most basic, timely train service to passengers despite the outrageous costs of fares.
It also has become quite clear that the inflated fares have done nothing to maintain, let alone improve, the rail system’s communication process, switching operations, equipment or reliability. But it is a safe guess the extra money came in quite handy when Metra generously provided Alex Clifford with his $700,000-plus severance package.
After this week’s debacle, Metra has permanently lost me as a rider.
Mary L. Swanson, River Grove
A little redundant
I read with surprise that convicted felons can run our local government. I was originally misinformed, I thought only non-convicted felons could run our government.
Bruce Rauner thinks that we should roll back the minimum wage to $7.50 an hour because it’s good for business. That’s an annual income, after Social Security and Medicare taxes, of about $12,000 per year.
If a business is to be profitable, it must provide a needed product or service, dependably, at a reasonable price. The employees of that business are crucial to its success, i.e. their attitude and their willingness to follow through and do the job right. It should be a win-win situation in which the employee is adequately compensated for his work and the employer makes a profit. For the last 10 years, that has not been the case. The middle class and the poor have been falling behind while Mr. Rauner and the rest of the 1 percent have made huge gains.
Twelve thousand dollars a year would not cover Mr. Rauner’s dry cleaning bills, and yet he purports to tell subsistence-wage earners that they should make even less. It is not only heartless, but bad business.
Carol Kraines, Deerfield
Rauner says whatever he thinks the audience wants to hear
So Bruce Rauner “misspoke” when he was wooing a bunch of business owners by saying that Illinois should lower the minimum wage to national levels. Now that his feet are being held to the fire, he says what he really meant to say was that we should raise the minimum wage. It’s insulting enough when a multimillionaire panders to the crowd, throwing his personal millions at the governor’s race, trying to buy our vote. But when his big mouth gets him in trouble, he flip-flops and expects the rest of us to be stupid enough to buy his baloney. Ahh, a typical politician, he is perfect for office. If Illinois elects this buffoon, we get what we deserve.
Scot Sinclair, Gurnee
Canceling school early was right move
I loved Neil Steinberg’s column [“Do we really expect Rahm at the Dells?” Jan. 8]. I am superintendent of School District 130 in Blue Island. I saw the forecast last Thursday for Monday and saw it was going to be ridiculously cold. Since we are an 80 percent low-income district, parents need notice to arrange child care. Aren’t a lot of nannies around Blue Island. So, I made the decision on Thursday to cancel classes on Monday! If I guessed wrong . . . if it was only zero degrees, so what? It’s a day of school in June. But all our kids were safe, and families and employees didn’t have to be crazy.
I got some pushback from my haters about calling school that early. Some called me crazy. I prefer “visionary.”
Dr. Raymond A. Lauk, Blue Island