YAY: Working to retire
It’s Labor Day today, a time to celebrate the American labor movement and the contributions of millions of workers, past and present, to our nation’s prosperity. For the bulge of Baby Boomers, every Labor Day now marks a year closer to retirement. Studies show that 43 percent of American workers would take a pay cut in exchange for a larger contribution from their employer to their 401(k) account. For some employees, any contribution to any retirement plan would be an increase.
YAY: Cultural exchanges
Sixteen Thurston County young people learned more about the Japanese culture this summer through a trip to Japan organized by the Olympia-Kato Sister City Association. These programs are invaluable to international understanding. When people learn to respect and appreciate other cultures, historical fears and other barriers to common goals disappear. While exchanges with friendly countries are beneficial, imagine what could be achieved through safe exchanges among traditionally warring nations.
BOO: Burger King
Tim Hortons is a popular Canadian coffee and donut shop named after a legendary Canadian hockey player. Burger King bought it, and now they’re moving their corporate headquarters north of the border. That’s fine for our northern neighbors, but it’s an obvious tax inversion scheme for the American hamburger joint. And we don’t like it. When major U.S. businesses – who depend on American consumers -- shelter their income and profits abroad, it puts greater strain on individual Americans through loss of programs and services, and upward pressure on taxes.
YAY: Good test results
South Sound schools outperformed statewide averages in most categories of this year’s Measurements of Student Progress tests. Results were released this week. Local students excelled in both the grades three to eight and high school divisions. The Olympia School District recorded three perfect scores. Congratulations to our educators.
BOO: Ironic layoffs
We could laugh about the irony of 150 people getting laid off from the state Employment Security Department, except it’s not funny. Not for the individuals involved, or their families. And it’s not funny that the layoffs come as a result of federal sequestration – last year’s budget cutbacks in federal dollars to state programs that occurred because Tea Party members of the U.S. House obstructed good government and the art of compromise.
YAY: No more ‘boarding’
We feared that even though the state Supreme Court banned the practice of “boarding” psychiatric patients in hospital emergency rooms – because there was nowhere else for them to go – nothing would change. Because, in fact, there isn’t anywhere else for some people suffering from mental illness to go. So it was good news that Gov. Jay Inslee approved $30 million to fund new beds and treatment. And the court approved the state’s request to delay full implementation of its order to give the state time to properly prepare.
YAY: Best summer in years
For sun-lovers – both people and plants – it’s been an awesome summer. Our lawns may be dry, but our fruits and vegetables are luscious, and those of us from Caucasian heritage are no longer pasty white. Even people who typically complain about Western Washington having August and the rainy season are finally saying they’ve had enough sun for a while, and would welcome some cool, replenishing rain.