MTA board finance committee chairman Lawrence Schwartz, center, argues with...

MTA board finance committee chairman Lawrence Schwartz, center, argues with Transport Workers Union president John Samuelsen about workers' overtime. Credit: Todd Maisel

Overtime costs that reached $1.3 billion in 2018 have raised concerns at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority [“Out-of-control overtime,” News, Aug. 16]. In several cases, employees whose regular rate is about $50 an hour amassed $300,000 in annual pay by adding overtime.

I am retired, but as an employee of the U.S. Postal Service, I occasionally earned premium pay by working overtime and on holidays. However, no matter how much I worked, my retirement was based on 56 percent of the average of my last three years’ base salary, without overtime or holiday pay included.

The MTA’s system, which includes overtime when calculating some workers’ pensions, needs to be reformed or replaced with a similar plan with the help of union and management officials. This would help prevent supervisors and workers from taking advantage of the system and driving up overtime costs.

George DeSpirito,

   Williston Park

American way leads to high health costs

Columnist Lane Filler is right. Single-payer is un-American [“Why not single-payer food, shelter?,” Opinion, Aug. 21]. Private health insurance is very American: massive executive salaries, absurdly overpriced drugs, tens of millions who can’t afford insurance, inadequate insurance for many who can, additional millions bankrupt because they got sick, humongous billing fraud, old folks having to decide between food and pharmaceuticals, gobs of money devoted to advertising instead of research, etc. Nothing is more American than greed.

Perhaps a little dose of the un-American is overdue. And yes, it can be paid for. Perhaps ending our military involvement in Afghanistan and other places would be a good start.

Dean C. Nataro,


Trump had the will to face down China

Many Americans have seen the label “Made in China” for most of their lives. Despite President Donald Trump’s abrasive style, and perhaps because of his business background, he is the one president to take on the gross trade disparity with China [“Tariffs lead to higher prices,” Business, Aug. 20]. China has grown comfortable with a superior position on trade and resists the idea of compromise. China wants to reap the benefits of a free global market, but places strong restrictions on U.S. and other companies that want to do business there.

President Xi Jinping is emboldened by the removal of constitutional term limits, and I believe he wants to run out the clock on Trump’s four-year term.

The United States needs to tell Beijing that regardless of who our president is, our government will continue to face down China on trade. Throwing the global markets into a slowdown is not in the best interest of any country. U.S. politicians from both parties need to present a unified front to attain equal trade status with China. Beijing is preying on divisions in our country to its advantage.

Michael Sullivan,

   Garden City

Trump to blame for tension with Europe

There were several times I almost spit my coffee all over my copy of Newsday while reading Ted Bromund’s column “Why Europe should look inward” [Opinion, Aug. 18]. His premise was that Europe, not President Donald Trump, is to blame for its rocky relationship with the United States. Huh?

Europe is at fault because, according to Bromund, it is a monoculture of liberalism and has moved further left since World War II than the United States has moved to the right. What nonsense.

Italy and Greece are teetering on fascism. Eastern Europe has become a hotbed of far-right nationalism. Western Europe has seen a big spike in anti-Semitic activity. Britain’s Tories have given the world the chaos of Brexit. Members of the Le Pen party in France aren’t exactly Eisenhower Republicans.

No, it’s not Europe; it’s Trump and his ill-advised trade wars, withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, NATO shenanigans and alignment with Vladimir Putin that have destabilized things. Trump has shown himself to be impervious to reality, making meaningful dialogue improbable. His subordinates sometimes try to smooth things over, but by now the world knows those overtures mean nothing. Trump just undercuts them in the end.

Win Ritzert,


Democrats should ignore Trump tweets

The best thing Democrats can do is ignore tweets from the White House [“Trump sticks to stance on ‘disloyal’ Jews,” News, Aug. 22]. They are calculated to win reelection for the president. By keeping Democrats busy expressing outrage, instead of passing the laws we need, he’ll be able to point to their lack of accomplishment compared with all he will claim he has done.

Reports indicate that if he can win, the policy that a sitting president cannot be indicted, and the statute of limitations, will help him avoid prosecution for various crimes.

However, Democrats can win the White House if they unite, rise above the fray, treat Donald Trump as unworthy of a response, and concentrate on health care, the environment, education, infrastructure, immigration reform, etc. Impeachment is a losing battle with a Republican-led Senate and would score a victory the president can crow about. Let the voters impeach him at the polls.

Frances Arnetta,


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