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Letters to the Editor

Speech impediment not a reason to be rude

Some people have no respect for the “differently abled.”

I have a speech impediment and fine motor issues (for example, I can’t tie shoes, have trouble doing things that “normal” people take for granted, etc). I’m known by practically everyone on campus, yet I’m still treated like a two-year-old by some people.

I don’t get it. I mean, I am in college. That alone should tell people I’m not stupid. The sad thing is that I’m still treated like crap by some. I’m not mean and I surely don’t cause trouble.

There is a place on campus (it will remain nameless) where the employees treat me like I’m stupid. I’ve talked with them, but they still won’t stop their behavior. I’m infuriated that people can think so low of me before they even get to know me. I didn’t ask to have this disability, so why treat me differently than my friends?

I hope this letter will make people think differently when passing judgments on others.

James Geiger is a sophomore majoring in theater arts.

Bush not lowering taxes for small businesses
Re: Column “Let your wallet vote,” Oct. 7

I agree in part with Erik Raymond. Lowering taxes for small businesses could spur economic growth, but he failed to mention that John Kerry also has a plan to lower taxes for small businesses. Just go on his Web site and you will find information on it. says on their Web site, “It should be noted that Kerry is proposing several tax cuts specifically targeted at small businesses, including a refundable tax credit aimed at reducing the cost of health-care benefits, eliminating capital-gains taxes for ‘long-term investments’ held for five or more years in small businesses and a ‘new jobs tax credit’ for small businesses that add new jobs in 2005 and 2006.” also mentioned that Kerry’s tax increase would not affect as many small businesses as some may think. Erik also said that raising the minimum wage and taxes will “cancel each other out.” Well, not exactly.

An Aug. 30, 2004 article in The New Yorker written by John Cassidy explains that if Bush carries out his economic plan completely, “labor would end up shouldering practically the entire burden of financing the federal government” because about 60 percent of “taxable income is paid to workers in the form of wages and benefits.” Bush’s plan will favor cutting taxes for the rich, who receive about 1/3 of the taxable income. So Bush may lower taxes to small businesses, but it will affect those who pay capital gains taxes or receive stock dividends and not the average worker.

On the minimum wage issue: The Economic Policy Institute notes that Nobel laureates from M.I.T., the University of Pennsylvania and about 560 economists in total from universities around the nation — including USF — say a modest increase to $7/hour for minimum wages will positively benefit the economy and labor market.

I agree that we must closely examine all the issues when choosing a president, but claiming “the raise in tax and minimum wage will cause the business market to struggle, which would result in a recession and higher unemployment rate” is just scaremongering.

Justin McGrath is a senior majoring in marketing.

Notable economists say Bush’s plan flawed
Re: Column “Let your wallet vote,” Oct. 7

Erik Raymond’s column suggests that we vote in the upcoming election with wallets. It’s a good idea, but then he suggests that we vote for Bush. Sorry, but it takes some fanciful thinking to get to that conclusion, and that’s exactly what we find in this column.

To begin with, Raymond brings up the federal government’s sad fiscal shape — in particular the massive deficit — as though it were an act of God. If we reach back into the past four years, we find that the federal government was looking at surpluses as far as the eye could see. What happened?

Could it be that Bush and the Republican congress have imposed tax cuts that have lowered revenues even as they’ve increased spending at a rapid rate? The idea that we should cut taxes in order to improve fiscal health reeks of the same type of discredited right-wing orthodoxy that gave us massive deficits under Reagan and the president’s father.

The general problem of this column is evidenced in my first example: Raymond writes as though the last four years never happened, as though what Bush says is infinitely more important than what Bush has done.

Raymond writes that Kerry’s policies will lead to recession and high unemployment. But didn’t we have a recession under Bush? Doesn’t Bush have the worst job record since the Great Depression?

It’s hard to find experts on the economy (who aren’t on his payroll) who think Bush has done a good job in this area. On Aug. 10, Nobel Prize-winning economists endorsed John Kerry and blasted Bush’s policies, saying they threaten the “long-term economic security and prosperity of our nation.” And just recently, 169 business-school professors sent Bush a withering denunciation.

In their open letter, the professors remind us that growth “is the lowest of any presidential term in recent memory,” that more and more Americans are living in poverty and express concern that Bush has taken economic policy on a “dangerous turn.”

Raymond’s stale ideology and scaremongering rhetoric collapse in the face of reality. If we are truly concerned about the economic health of this country, one thing is clear: Bush must go.

Alex Costantino is a first-year graduate student in art.

Meal plans not neededfor some students

I am extremely disappointed in the manner in which USF has handled my situation.

I am a junior who transferred to USF this semester. I purchased a meal plan, as required by USF for my first semester. I will be a few hundred dollars short this coming semester, so I went to dining services to cancel my costly meal plan and be able to attend school next semester. I do not eat very much and cook well, so I am very sure I could feed myself for less than the cost of the meal plan.

I was told USF was unable to cancel my meal plan. I explained that if I did not cancel it, then I would not be able to attend USF any more. I explained that the school could make over $13,000 if I stayed, or nothing if I was forced to leave because of this ridiculous policy. The lady behind the counter explained how the policy is supposed to be for the good of the students and that I am forced to have a meal plan because there is no kitchen in my room. I assured her I was a competent adult who was able to apply peanut butter to bread or use the kitchen at the end of the hall to blacken chicken. She did not see my point.

I then asked what my other options were. The employee informed me that I would have to pay half the meal plan without actually getting any food or I would have to attempt a mid-semester transfer to a more costly dorm that featured a kitchen, which just happens to cost almost as much as paying half of the meal plan. Again, I suggested that these policies seem not to be in the best interests of the student. After asking for about ten minutes where I could comment on this problem, the employee finally told me about the complaint section of USF Dining Services’ Web site.

I feel it is underhanded for the school to say they are looking out for the students and then turn around and bleed them dry.

There has to be some flexibility for such a policy if it is supposed to be in the best interests of the students. Even if it is about the money, does it not make more sense to pass on $1,400 to make $13,000 in the long run?

I hope to at least get a straight answer from USF, but from what I have seen so far I doubt I will.

Justin Martin is a junior majoring in political science.