THE WEEK IN COMMENTS: Economic theory, state benefits, terrorism, labor unions

Sunday, September 11, 2011 | 5:46 p.m. CDT

Legislation by Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., to keep call centers in the U.S., Missouri lawmakers' push to reduce benefits for the poor and disabled, paranoia and class warfare lit up comments on last week. We put together the highlights.

McCaskill: Call centers should disclose location

Comments: 98 / Commenters: 15

To help keep jobs in the United States, Sen. McCaskill suggested a new federal law requiring call centers to disclose their location. Readers were not thrilled with the idea, but soon the discussion turned to a broad criticism of the political forces influencing the U.S. economy.

“Until the Dems stop disincentives for business to outsource overseas, I believe McCaskill's approach to call centers has more racial/hatred of foreigners and hatred of big business overtones then anything else,” commenter Ray Shapiro wrote. “No need for more business regulations to announce what country your call is being forwarded to. Just make it profitable to do business in America.”

Derrick Fogle criticized the government for chronically spending borrowed money and said he doesn’t think any politician will solve the problem easily.

“After 30 years of it, people are now saying we're out of bullets. Will the bullets magically be found as soon as Obama is out of the White House? Will the propaganda machine be able to make everyone forget the evils of debt and deficits again, as quickly as people were made to be so overwhelmingly concerned about it?. ... Upon trading places with Obama, his successors might find the handcuffs a little harder to remove than they expected.”

Michael Williams wrote that the government should enact every possible policy to increase investor confidence.

“Fact is: Anything you can do to lower risk and improve the psychological outlook of entrepreneurs will help you achieve what you wish: More jobs and higher government revenues. It really is that simple. And there's one helluva wad of cash sitting on the sidelines waiting for that improved psychological outlook. Unfortunately, we are far from any actions or underpinnings that would support such a psychology.”

Missouri lawmakers seek to end tax breaks for poor, disabled

Comments: 14 / Commenters: 8

Missouri lawmakers are proposing cutting benefits to poor and disabled residents. Readers disagreed on the issue.

"As someone who has received the rent tax break for years and relies on it for basic needs, the most a person can receive is a once yearly $750,” commenter Jackie Jones wrote. “I pay one of the lowest rents, 520 a month and I receive the full 750. Big whoop. Doesn't go far but it helps when all my money goes to bills and nothing is left.”

Lynne Nichols suggested cutting health benefits to state lawmakers rather than the poor.

“I, for one, would like to see some leadership coming from the statehouse for a change; instead of the governor paying lip service to the public, then cutting the worker-bee state employee positions and creating more high-paying 'management' positions and then filling them with his friends, family, and political cronies!”

Allan Sharrock wondered why public health benefits are necessary.

“When services are added people become dependent on them. When they are withdrawn people cannot cope. ... Why is it that Americans, Europeans, and other wealthy countries feel they must provide everything to every citizen? What is the incentive to get a job to pay for health care when it can be free? Why have we become a culture that pushes our disabled off on the government instead of taking care of them within the family?”

Rosman: Terrorism has defined America since 9/11

Comments: 11 / Commenters: 9

Missourian columnist David Rosman said terrorists and radicals succeeded in making America live in fear after the events of Sept. 11. Readers debated his conclusion.

“I disagree that we in the USA are living in fear of the terrorists. I am more in fear of what TSA and the Patriot Act is going to do to us next,” commenter Jim Jones wrote. “If I am in fear of anything it is the stupidity of our elected 'leaders.' My feelings about the people who perpetrated the horror on 9/11 is more anger than fear.”

Mark Foecking reminded his fellow readers that the risk of dying in a terrorist attack is extremely low.

“Your plane is far more likely to crash than it is to be destroyed by terror attack. If anyone fears dying in a terrorist attack, it's not a rational fear. There's a lot of behind-the-scenes work that helps us track and avoid terrorist attacks that were not done (or not seriously) before 9/11, and by and large, they're working. Where's the terror?”

Everything you want to know about Labor Day

Comments: 8 / Commenters: 5

A short piece on the history of Labor Day drew comments on the state of the middle class, class warfare and the holiday’s link to labor unions.

“The 'job creators' fear an organized middle class. They will try to convince those in the middle class that unions are no longer needed. They are needed more than ever,” commenter Tim Dance wrote. “With corporate money now legal in American politics, unions will be the only mechanism where a worker will have any political power. The wealthy are waging a class war that the middle class is losing with the help of those who believe that if they only speak the words of freedom and liberty, they too will ‘join the club.’”

Mark Foecking noted that the definition, and financial comfort, of the middle class has changed drastically since the ’60s.

“Today a ‘middle class’ family expects to have several TVs (and cable for them all), a car for everyone over 16, mobile and Internet service, myriad gadgets and games (many of which have recurrent expenses), and a house that's half again to twice as big as 50 years ago. … It's quite possible to live at least as well as in the '60s on a 'middle class' income if some of them figure out they really don't need all that crap.”

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