LETTERS: Irish immigrants, State pension plan, Substance abuse war

LETTERS: Irish immigrants, State pension plan, Substance abuse war



The fate of immigrants

Editor:

Saint Patrick’s Day is a good day to discuss immigration. I sent a letter to the editor on this subject two years ago. Unfortunately this subject needs to be revisited.

Attempts at obtaining government assistance during the Potato Famine in Ireland were thwarted by bureaucrats and elected officials for fear of upsetting market prices for farm goods. Their government and the press reverted to stereotypes to rationalize taking no meaningful action.

It is true that most of the Irish Immigrants arriving in America in the middle to late 1800’s were poor, illiterate and some were or became criminals, struggling to survive. The same was true however of every immigrant wave arriving in this country. The Pilgrims were the exception and not the rule. This new wave of immigrants arriving on the East Coast during the 1800s, Irish, Poles and Italians had something else that caused concern. They were Catholic, which meant they couldn’t be trusted. This prejudice still exists, to a lesser degree, today.

As the survivors of the famine fled to North America, laws were proposed to deny entry rights and citizenship to these alien Papists. They were considered a danger to our society. Many survived the famine only to die of disease on their ship. Most people are not aware that many of the Irish arrived in the U.S. illegally, walking across the border from Canada or being smuggled on small ships. Humans have been migrating for at least 100,000 years, very often to escape problems created by fellow humans. And politicians have used them as scapegoats for probably as long.

With the exception of crop failure, the conditions driving today’s migration are very similar. No land, no prospects and hostile or indifferent government. Only by understanding why it’s happening can we then have a discussion about it!

Peter N Hargett, Meriden

‘Regionalization’ won’t solve it

Editor:

It finally made the Record-Journal front page headlines (Feb. 12), “States, cities, towns wary of rising costs for pensions.” The story has some life, but the politicians and the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities still don’t understand the problem. And throwing another 21 percent increase or “regionalization” won’t solve it, but only make it worse.

The agreement is an unjust, discriminating benefit plan that handsomely rewards government retirees for doing nothing. The value of their labor is zero and senior taxpayers with little or no pensions at all must pay them 10, 20 times as much for doing nothing. It borders on the immoral that an 85-year-old widow, who is just scraping by, has to pay a 50-year-old a six-figure pension to sit it out.

It is not fair to the working taxpayers to support those so favored who do nothing while wintering in Florida. Even the minimum wage earner with no benefits and who can barely get by, has to pay the pensioners tens of thousands of dollars plus benefits for doing nothing.

Stay-at-home moms who get nothing to care for their young should not pay for baby boomers municipal retirees. Nor should home schoolers be paying big bucks to those pensioners. Mom and dad don’t get overtime.

In fact the union membership should strike against its management for the inequality and injustice toward their own lesser status graded pensioners and the misuse of union dues. Some say the politicians and the government unions failed their moral obligations, which causes the unfunded liability. This can be solved easily and fairly but won’t be because they are greedy and selfish. They promote the lie about wanting equality. They are intellectually and morally lazy.

John Montgomery, Meriden

We’re losing the SUD war

Editor:

An estimated 20.7 million Americans aged 12 or over needed treatment for substance use disorder (SUD) in 2017, but only about 4 million Americans aged 12 or over received any form of treatment for SUD. This current addiction treatment gap will never be closed with the current addiction treatment workforce. To make a meaningful and sustainable impact on the current opioid overdose epidemic, and to stave off emerging epidemics related to other addictive substances it is imperative that our country makes strategic investments to grow the ranks of trained and qualified addiction specialists.

Right now, Congress has an opportunity to fund two new programs that would strengthen the nation's inadequate addiction treatment workforce. First, Congress should appropriate $25 million in funding for the Loan Repayment Program for Substance Use Disorder Treatment Workforce, authorized in the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act. This would provide for a new and robust student loan repayment program to professionals who pursue full-time SUD treatment jobs in high-need geographic areas.

Second, Congress should appropriate $10 million in funding for the Mental and Substance Use Disorder Workforce Training Demonstration Program authorized in the 21st Century CURES Act. This would fund more training opportunities for medical residents and fellows in psychiatry and addiction medicine, as well as nurse practitioners, physician assistants and others who are willing to provide SUD treatment in underserved communities. 

I urge our lawmakers to take the next step and appropriate federal funds for these programs. Building a robust SUD treatment workforce is critical and should be part of any comprehensive federal response to the opioid overdose epidemic. Otherwise, far too many patients seeking treatment will continue to lack access to care and more lives will be lost.

Kenneth Morford, New Haven


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