Construction work should pay a living wage

Regarding “Tomlinson: Construction Companies Cheating in Texas Putting $1.9 Billion Burden on Taxpayers” (January 12): Thank you, Mr. Tomlinson, for pointing out another issue that proves that not “doing the right thing” is not only immoral, but quite often bad for business. No one in this country should fall below the poverty line by working 40 hours a week. Every person on the shockingly low minimum wage of $7.25 (which hasn’t increased in over 12 years!) has an inflation-adjusted minimum wage that’s lower than it was 50 years ago. And I shudder to think that seasonal workers and waiters are supposed to make ends meet with a lot less. Why should state and federal governments subsidize highly profitable businesses by giving tax-funded aid to these exploited workers?

It baffles me why this isn’t a national priority, but given the extreme political polarization and hyper-partisanship, I’m not surprised either. The fact that such festering injustices continue unabated are all signs that this country has, for all intents and purposes, become “ungovernable”. And being ungovernable is often a hallmark of a future failed state. It would be up to the powers that be to reconsider certain fundamental rights and economic fair play if we do not want to sink into such a deplorable state.

Michael Waldau, Houston

I totally agree with Mr. Tomlinson, especially about contractors driving down poverty-level wages for American workers. By using undocumented workers, they pay no payroll taxes, social security, unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation, and provide no medical benefits. Guess who pays. We, the taxpayers. Yet our Texas Legislature and other elected officials statewide allow these entrepreneurs to operate freely in our Texas communities. Unionized contractors offer all of the above benefits, plus additional health and retirement benefits. Even the vast majority of non-union contractors offer some type of medical benefits and 401K retirement benefits. The Texas Legislature and our elected officials must represent the citizens of Texas instead of these scumbags.

Philip Lord, Pasadena

Health insurance contract

Regarding “Federal Government Terminates UMMC Medicare Contract; Hospital Appeals Ruling” (January 11): Any organization that repeatedly and dramatically fails Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services audits does not deserve Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee’s defense or our tax dollars. She and they are partners in providing second-rate medical care to the community. Rather than fighting for them, Rep. Jackson Lee should demand that the federal, state, county, and city government work with reputable medical providers and get real medical services for those areas of the county.

Phillip Knox, Cypress

Asset

Regarding “For Trump, the thirst for winning knows no bounds” (January 12): The editorial reminds me that it is time to use the right term for the actions of Mr. Trump and those who remain convinced that he won the election. They are nothing more than a smoking coup. They are ready to overthrow our legitimate government for an illegitimate government. They are willing to ignore the overwhelming evidence that Mr. Trump lost the election fairly. If the Conservatives wish to nominate a champion for their leadership, surely they can find someone with more substance and less hubris.

John JamesHouston

criminality

Regarding “Houston man learns fate after inadvertently directing police to international smuggling ring” (January 11): Victor Martinez got just four years in federal court for his recent crimes in Houston? I read the article twice, to make sure I understood the facts correctly. He admitted to kidnapping a woman outside a nightclub, attempting to rape her, holding six immigrants hostage (as part of a ransom scheme) and also pleaded guilty to unauthorized possession of gun ! So please help me here. How does this pathetically light sentence serve “justice”, whether it is a simple punishment or a deterrent effect?

I do not understand.

Von Niezgoda, Houston

Keep Coach

Regarding ‘Smith: It’s like the Texans are keeping David Culley guessing’ (Jan. 10): The 2020 Texans went 4-12 with an experienced team to play together and Deshaun Watson as quarterback. The 2021 Texans went 4-13 with a cobbled-together team in frequent flow and a rookie quarterback. It seems to me that coach David Culley is a good coach worth keeping.

Dorothy AndersonHouston

Michael A. Bynum