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LETTERS: Unions and health care, unemployment stats and more

Congress caved in,

not the unions

The headline was "Unions OK tax on plans" [News, Jan. 15].

The last paragraph of the story tells us that the unions and the government agreed that the 40 percent tax on high-cost health plans would not apply to plans covered by collective bargaining or any municipal workers.

So they agreed that anyone in a union should be exempt from this tax but everyone else should pay. The headline makes it appear that the unions made a concession, but it was the Congress who caved.

William A. Lau

Kings ParkUnemployment stats

don't tell full story

Let's see, there are over 7 percent "discouraged" workers who have given up looking for work and don't count in the unemployment statistics ["An unexpected turn in jobs report," News. Jan. 9], and the largest job gains in December occurred in the "temporary" services sector. Based on these two facts alone, how could anyone really believe that the economy will begin to turn around in 2010?

Keep in mind that these "discouraged" and "temporary" workers once had full-time jobs that enabled them to pay their monthly mortgages and offered them supplemental health benefits that they most certainly cannot afford to pay for any longer, since they are either working for reduced salaries or not earning wages at all.

Factor in the day laborers and homeless individuals living in makeshift shelters throughout the country that are not included in either the temporary or discouraged figures, and the employment situation is even worse than presented to us.

Does anyone in the government that publishes these statistics really see an end to the recession and a return to prosperity in the near future? If they do, I would like them to explain their reasoning to me.

John R. Volpe

East MeadowMall-solar idea

too smart to fly?

A recent letter ["Cover LI's malls with solar panels," Letters, Jan. 15] offers precisely the type of common- sense approach to our energy crisis that should be considered seriously, but unfortunately, probably won't be.

The writer makes a great argument that helps everyone. Even the real estate owners of the malls would make money selling energy back to the grid. And if the mall owners resist, this is probably the best example for an eminent-domain action that I have ever heard.

The government has the power to take away people's property for the public good, so why not the unused airspace above malls and parking lots?

Eric Robert Santiago

Port Jefferson