Reader letters, 4-14

Apr 13, 2017

Meadows’ position on healthcare is light on specifics

To the editor:

In a recent Q and A in the April 5 Mountaineer, Congressman Meadows seemed very light on specifics related to health care.

In response to being asked what he believed to be inadequate in the healthcare bill, in 21 lines of print, he said premiums would not come down enough and that it had to have a safety net for those who can’t afford insurance.  Admirable goals.

In 28 lines of print in answer to what an ideal affordable health care plan should include, he repeated the same two goals.   Is that all?

In a conversation with a constituent in his Washington office, he commented, “Who would have thought that health care was so complicated?”  Indeed! Who would have thought that a member of Congress voting on national health care legislation would not know that?

In health care legislation, a tweak here has repercussions there.  It is indeed complicated.  You can’t change one component without affecting something else.

He also stated that he didn’t want to do anything to hurt children, the poor or the elderly.  Then please remember that those are the ones most affected by Medicaid and by the Affordable Care Act.

Congressman Meadows:

We need to get away from simplistic throw-the-baby-out-with-the-bathwater solutions.  I have a problem with repealing the Affordable Care Act if it is not replaced with something better.

It is not perfect, but please work to correct its shortcomings.  Don’t ditch it till you are sure, in the complicated world of healthcare insurance, that you have something better to offer.

Joanne Strop


Look beyond the statistics in the wage gap issue

The April 4 online Mountaineer had an article regarding the gender wage gap.  The article alleged that women are paid less than their male counterparts for equal work or $.86 on the dollar in North Carolina.

The article was from an advocacy group, the National Partnership for Women and Families.  The article continues the promotion of the meme that in current day America, women are paid less for equal work.

Let’s start with an indisputable fact.  The Equal Pay Act of 1963 requires that employers pay men and women the same wages for the same work.  It’s the law.  If a company does not comply with this law they can be investigated by the EEOC.

Companies do not like being investigated so virtually all companies and employers follow the law.  In the cases where they do not and it is substantiated, corrective action is ordered.

Each year since 1997 fewer than 1,000 such cases nationwide have been filed and only a third of those have been found to have merit.  350 cases per year in our vast $18 trillion economy is not evidence of widespread wage discrimination.

For the record, I am completely against any discrimination of any sort but the numbers show this problem is both relatively small and isolated.  And, the means exists to rectify abuses when they occur.

Christina Hoff Sommers is a noted author, researcher, speaker, and educator.  She is currently a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.  Her work includes the books Who Stole Feminism (1994) and The War on Boys (2000).

Dr. Sommers has a bachelor’s degree from NYU and her PhD was awarded by Brandeis University in 1979.  She is a registered Democrat.

Dr. Sommers has extensively researched the subject of the gender wage gap and she is openly critical of what she calls, “the myth of the wage gap”.  Her research has found:

• Once you control for type of work, hours of work, occupations, positions, education and job tenure, the wage gap disappears.

• Men do make more money than women.  This is not in dispute.  Why do men make more money?  Answer:  They work more hours, they choose the types of work that pay more, they have longer tenure, they choose the more dangerous positions, they have more education and training, they are more competitive and negotiate harder for pay raises and promotions.

• 90 percent of the fatalities in the workplace are men.  Why?  Men do the more dangerous assignments, assignments that pay more.

• Male doctors make more than female doctors.  Why?  Men seek the higher paid specialties of surgeon or anesthesiology and women are seen to prefer specialties like general practice or pediatrician which take less training, involve treating less complex medical situations, and therefore pay less.

• For a large percent of women, their priorities are different than men’s — namely the focus on the family.  So, understandably women take more time off, volunteer for less overtime, take the assignments that make it easier on their responsibilities to their families than men do.

Another noted educator and researcher is Dr. Claudia Goldin, the Henry Lee Professor of Economics at Harvard.  Dr. Goldin’s research finds results like that of Dr. Sommers.  That is, once you control for hours of work, occupations, type of work, education and training, etc. the wage gap virtually disappears.

Instead of focusing on the myth of the gender wage gap, the nation would be far better off examining the problems of men and boys, dropping out and falling behind.  If you have missed this disturbing trend, you might read:       or


Brent Ramsey lives in the Balsam area.