Once deposited, pension funds become private

Once deposited, pension funds become private

In your Jan. 8 editorial titled “Grubby Pay Raise Bill,” the author demonstrates a complete lack of understanding as to what a pension system is; consequently, he or she lacks the understanding that the funds in a pension system are private, not public, funds.

As such, they are not subject to public exposure any more than those of any other individual.

Public employees receive a salary like anyone else. They pay a portion of their salary into one of the pension systems as does their employer. Salaries, minimum pension contributions and benefit formulas are set in statute or otherwise readily available to the public.

Once earned and deposited into a pension account, the amounts and/or individual information is private, not public.

There is no secrecy about minimum employee and employer contributions, benefit formulas, nor salaries paid to government employees.

The public has no responsibility for pensions, amounts or operating expenses beyond the initial employer contribution, which has already been paid.

It is apparent that this author is not talking about transparency. So what are his motives?

William I. Winegarner, Westerville

William I. Winegarner is executive director of Protect Ohio Pensions Inc.

Lordstown plant worker appeals to leaders of GM

Happy New Year! I hope your new year will be better than mine. In the U.S., General Motors is closing plants including the one that I work at in Lordstown, so my future in making a living is not secure along with many others.

It seems GM wants to invest in cheaper labor (and maybe other reasons such as less costly safety and environmental restrictions) overseas and in Mexico.

I understand the business concepts of making a profit and helping underdeveloped countries improve their standards of living; I am all for it.

The problem with reaching these goals arises when there is no balance between making a livable wage and maximizing profits. I don’t live in an underdeveloped country so I cannot compete with low wages offered in underdeveloped countries.

I am interested in knowing what Mary Barra and other top GM executives made in salaries last year. Google says Barra made $21.96 million in 2017, that’s about 270 times what the average autoworker makes with benefits. Who knows what the ratio is to low-wage workers outside the U.S.?

Since I will be losing my job March 1, I cannot buy or lease a new GM car at this time. I am hoping the people making decisions about our futures here at Lordstown and other U.S. GM plants will change their minds and invest in the U.S. employees and share the wealth.

GM was born and raised in the USA.

Sandy Groza Hrabowy, Liberty

Fuss over wall spotlights incompetence of leaders

If our government hasn’t broken under the weight of its own crippling greed for money and power, then the shutdown spectacle playing out now is the finest-ever imitation of a democracy being ruined by the pride and incompetence of its elected leaders.

Hard to believe a commander-in-chief whose heel spurs were so painful as to keep him from military service now digs in his heels in a temper tantrum that harms his country. What he wants is a useless (by his own advisers’ estimation) wall, which he insists is the same thing as national security, which he knows it is not. He is abetted by a GOP too afraid of the bluster of TV and radio hosts, with questionable journalistic credentials, to stand up and urge their leader to follow his sworn oath of office.

And, to add injury to insult, federal employees, many of whom are in the same socio-economic group that the demagogue considers his supporters, are now paying the price of his malfeasance as are citizens deprived of their public services.

Many citizens are now deprived of their income so he can waste the country’s treasure, your tax dollars, on an ugly monument to his ego.

I think the valuable lesson in this mess is that we learn never to give to a liar that which he wants most, our trust.

Jim Cartwright, Canfield

Use $10K fines on illegal immigrants to build wall

It is important for any nation to manage and maintain its border. Without control of immigration, the safety of the people and the economic structures are at risk. Today most of the people living in the U.S. illegally probably don’t recognize the problems they are creating. Sure it’s a rich country, but it’s the disadvantaged Americans who are suffering under hardship.

Without a secure border, it is difficult to make adjustments to immigration. Certainly there are many problems facing people who are living here illegally. It would surprise me, however, if many were not very productive, giving evidence there may be a place for them in our society.

Therefore, I feel that if those Mexicans living in the country illegally were willing to come forward and pay a $10,000 fine for entering the country illegally, they could receive a five-year “builders visa” to stay in the U.S. During that five-year period, they can establish a case for citizenship.

The fines would be collected and used for construction of the Mexican border wall. Once the wall is complete, the opportunity to receive those visas will lapse.

The idea is to resolve the problem in a manner which is fairest to the population at large.

Robert G. Mossman, Youngstown

Let’s ‘advocate’ for Valley, not ‘fight’ General Motors

Political people and media alike call for civility in public discourse, yet fail to practice it themselves. Even seemingly well-intentioned discourse includes subtle divisive language.

In your recent article “Mahoning commissioners join Lordstown ‘fight’”, the divisive word is “fight,” putting one side against another. Area leaders will fight for workers? How about substituting “fight’’ with “support,” “promote,” “champion” or “advocate”? Why are “we” fighting GM, a company that for more than 50 years has provided for the whole of the community?

Why are the circumstances adversarial? Let’s “champion” our workforce and “advocate” for the Valley, not “fight” a Fortune 500 company.

David A. Kovass, Canfield

Don’t buy Mexican vehicle

The Chevrolet Blazer will be on the market soon. It is being built in Mexico instead of the U.S.

Our president gave General Motors billions of dollars in tax breaks, and he promised to bring jobs back to the United States.

However, President Donald Trump has no moral compass and is not truthful.

Don’t be fooled to buy or lease this vehicle. As consumers, are you seeing and listening to what is happening in our country?

Please send a message to GM and our president: Don’t buy foreign-made vehicles, and vote Trump out of office when the time is right.

Danny DeMatteo, Poland

GOP senators lack guts

I don’t know why I’m surprised that President Donald Trump is talking of declaring a national emergency to get the border wall he wants.

What amazes me is that the Republican senators have no backbones to stand up to his bully tactics. The majority of Americans want border safety but not a wall that will cost more than $5 billion.

What will it take for them to do the right thing and stand up for America and not this dictator we have in office?

Darlene Torday, Berlin Center