Letters to the Editor -- May 25, 2012

It is National Asthma Awareness Month

While we enjoy the springtime air, it’s important to remember asthma triggers also are in the air. May is National Asthma Awareness Month. Did you know that asthma is the third leading cause of hospitalization among children under the age of 15? Or that it is a leading cause of school absences? More than 25 million Americans — including 96,807 in Delaware — currently have asthma. It is a serious, life-threatening disease, but the below steps can help keep asthma under control:

• Make your medical visits more satisfying — There are a number of resources available to help you ask the right questions about asthma management and treatment next time you see your healthcare provider.

• Create an asthma management plan — Learn how to develop a plan between you and your healthcare provider that includes key information on managing your asthma.

• Assess and monitor your control — Common asthma symptoms can include a cough, tight feeling in your chest, wheezing, activity limitation and feeling tired. Keeping track of your symptoms will help you stay in control.

• Understand your medication — There are a variety of medicines available to treat asthma. Each person’s asthma is different and your doctor and healthcare team will work with you to set up the best plan for you.

• Reduce asthma triggers — Identify your asthma triggers and learn simple ways to limit your exposure or avoid it all together.

• Participate in an asthma self-management class — Find out what asthma management classes are available through the American Lung Association in Delaware.

To learn more about asthma and the programs and resources available, visit www.lunginfo.org.

Deb Brown, President & CEO
American Lung Association of the Mid-Atlantic

Legion commander not happy with Carper

As commander of American Legion Post 28 in Oak Orchard, I requested an interview with Sen. Tom Carper for the Delaware Legionnaire Newspaper. With 3,200 veterans and 5,500 total members, our Post 28 is the third-largest in the nation.

The interview, requested a month in advance, was scheduled for 3:30 p.m. on April 6. Close to 4 p.m., I received a call saying that the senator was running late but was en route to his office so we would begin the interview by phone. The connection was poor, so we had to wait until he arrived. I was told I would have five minutes with the senator.

I opened the discussion with questions about veterans’ cuts and benefits. I soon sensed that this wasn’t something the senator wanted to discuss. Even though he is a veteran, Sen. Carper does not support the Flag Desecration Amendment and did not want to discuss that either. He and his aides exhibited frustration with me. After five minutes I was dismissed and given a stack of papers with basic public information and shown the door.

Before I left, Sen. Carper asked where my tape recorder was — that a “real reporter” would have a recording device. I reminded him that I was a veteran looking for answers, not a professional reporter. I came to his office to address some issues of concern to the veterans of Delaware. Since I wasn’t able to ask all my questions, I will list them here:

(1) Where do you stand on the reduction of forces to 400,000 — while concurrently the federal government’s budget (or lack of one) is growing at an alarming rate?

(2) Why hasn’t the Senate proposed a solution to rising gasoline prices, especially as we enter tourism season — one of the few businesses still thriving in Delaware?

(3) Do you support the northern connection of the Keystone XL pipeline? If not, why not?

(4) You and Sen. Coons voted “yes” on a bill that will allow the federal government to imprison American citizens without due process. Why do you support this violation of our Constitutional rights?

Sen. Carper: I am a concerned American veteran. If you don’t consider me due respect as one of your constituents — and I represent many of my fellow veterans — why should we support you?

James H. Gallagher, Commander
American Legion Post 28

Delaware’s economy: four years in the wind

The April 2012 labor market data for Delaware has just been released and the numbers are not encouraging.

Compared to April of 2008, four years ago, total employment in Delaware is down by 20,000. Construction jobs are down 40 percent, manufacturing off 22 percent, and finance jobs down 6 percent. Government, of course, is up 2 percent.

Although compared to four years ago the civilian labor force in Delaware is off by 5,000 people, the number of folks unemployed is up by 68 percent.

Real (inflation-adjusted) Delaware personal income is essentially unchanged and real total wages have dropped 4 percent. And, unsurprisingly, the state’s real personal income tax revenue is flat.

What has been the state government’s response to this crisis? Well, the state has raised taxes on business, including the gross receipts tax and corporate franchise tax. It has kicked the top personal income tax rate up to almost 7 percent and reinstated the estate tax. Taxes have been raised on alcohol and cigarettes.

An increase in the public utility tax makes the cost of living and doing business in Delaware more expensive. The tax hike was eventually rolled back for electricity and natural gas, but in 2012 the state’s various alternative energy experiments added $38 million to Delmarva Power customers’ electric bills.

After receiving lots of federal government money and moving the chairs around on the educational deck of the Titanic in various ways, public school test scores are still not improving. State debt relative to personal income is at a 20-year high. Fisker Automotive received $21 million of grants and loans for an electric car that might set a house on fire.

Perhaps the state government should try a different approach…

Dr. John E. Stapleford, Director
Center for Economic Policy and Analysis