Testing societal decency

As a consequence of our changing economy and our increasing and wrongheaded allergy to activist government, we seem to have a permanently high unemployment rate. Those ranks include many dropouts from the middle class, and an alarmingly high number of people in low-wage jobs previously seen as entry positions for teens. These poverty-wage jobs increasingly filled by older family providers cannot sustain a family. To cut food-stamp benefits under these circumstances is just plain cruel. Do we have no sense of decency and human feeling left, or is the purpose of both government and the economy to serve the already wealthy at the expense of the impoverished? This should not be a matter of debate, or used as a bargaining chip. Food-stamp funding should be restored and then increased. Similarly, the minimum wage should be raised substantially, despite the dire, utterly self-serving scare tactics of corporate giants. The few extra pennies that a fast-food burger will cost will in no way cut into their number of customers.

Rabbi Avi Winokur, Society Hill Synagogue, Philadelphia, rebwinokur@societyhillsynagogue.org

Failed to embrace differences

Holy Ghost Prep students, according to school policy, are expected to "seek to understand their particular role in God's master plan," among other virtues ("School failed to honor ideals ," Dec. 11). It's really sad, then, that Holy Ghost administrators irrationally and insensitively terminated teacher Michael Griffin on the basis of his being a creation of God, and for being different.

Jerry Silverman, Philadelphia

Sideline these Eagles fans

Since moving to Philadelphia from Houston more than a year ago, I have switched loyalties from the lackluster Texans to the Philadelphia Eagles. Last Sunday's win against Detroit was a cause for celebration and joy for most Eagles fans. So it pained me to read of the Detroit fan who was beaten unconscious by a group of so-called Eagles fans ("Man: Eagles fans beat him unconscious," Dec. 10). Eagles players, led by dynamic quarterback Nick Foles, should speak out strongly against this violence and make it clear that no true fan of any sports team behaves this way. As for the perpetrators, let them watch future Eagles games from the confines of a prison TV room.

Lynn Meyer Brown, Philadelphia

Winning: Cheaper, better plan

Like millions, we purchased health insurance through a private carrier and were never happy with the benefits received for the price paid. So it came as no surprise when our insurance provider notified us that our policy did not meet the standards of the Affordable Care Act. Instead of complaining, though, we turned this into an opportunity. After doing our homework, we were able to secure a new policy from the same company - one that provides us more comprehensive coverage at a lower monthly premium, and with a much lower annual deductible, without any government subsidy. The law known as Obamacare is at last working for us, just as President Obama said it would.

Edward and Amber Zygmunt, Laceyville, perennialacres@epix.net

Toomey's extreme tendencies

Whenever I see some pragmatic reasonableness from Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.), he says something remarkably stupid like his comment that "Obamacare is proving to be the disaster many of us feared" ("Getting serious, and realistic, on budget," Dec. 8). That's exactly the same mistake that the Republican Party has been making for years, perfected by the dynamic duo of Romney and Ryan: using over-heated, over-the-top declarations with no basis in fact that make independents and other sensible voters roll their eyes, and stop paying attention.

Kenneth M. Foti, Malvern, kfoti36@yahoo.com

Taxpayers left a little flat

The Treasury Department bought shares in General Motors for $49.5 billion under the TARP bailout, and recently sold off its shares, netting $39 billion. Due to the timing, this bailout ends up being a $10.5 billion loss for the taxpayers - one that a recovered GM will not be required to repay.

David M. Levin, Vineland

Boyd re-do is just the ticket

I am a big proponent of historical preservation. But with the Boyd Theater, it is time to let go. Let's applaud the Boyd developer's aim to give new life to this ugly mess.

Barbara Dock, Philadelphia