Oklahoma Gazette provides an open forum for the discussion of all points of view in its Letters to the Editor section. The Gazette reserves the right to edit letters for length and clarity. Letters can be mailed, faxed, emailed to pbacharach@okgazette. com or sent online at okgazette.com, but include a city of residence and contact number for verification.

preserve affirmative action

Evidence shows that, on average, women earn nearly $10,000 less per year than their male counterparts in Oklahoma. It shows that the number of black and Hispanic students attending poorly resourced, lowperforming schools is nearly double that of white students in Oklahoma.

And these disparities are actually improvements.

Affirmative action programs were created to help decrease these inequities, as well as others, and combat discrimination against women and minorities. These programs have helped establish women’s clinics, domestic violence programs, breast cancer screening programs, higher education funding for minorities interested in medical and engineering fields, and for girls and women interested in technology and science fields. They have helped qualified students attend higher education institutions and qualified minorities and women find employment.

And instead of focusing on more ways to improve these disparities and create equal opportunity, Oklahoma elected officials are attacking the use of affirmative action with State Question 759, which sets out to prohibit state affirmative action programs in schools, employment, and state contracts. SQ 759 claims that affirmative action gives “preferred treatment based on race, color or gender” and a recent editorial in The Oklahoman goes as far as to refer to affirmative action programs as acts of reverse discrimination.

But this reasoning for the need to prohibit affirmative action fails to take into account the conditions that necessitated its creation. Affirmative action programs set out to increase the representation of minorities and women in the areas of education, employment and state contracts.

They set out to ensure neutrality when jobs are hiring, when schools are accepting. These programs do not set out to provide preferential treatment.

And procedures are in place to ensure that affirmative actions do not result in preferential treatment. Oklahoma has the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to monitor such programs in the workplace.

Universities and colleges have equal opportunity offices, multicultural divisions, and people working to guarantee equal opportunity to all persons.

Prohibiting affirmative action programs in Oklahoma is a step in the wrong direction. By voting no on
SQ 759 in November, Oklahoma has the opportunity to continue to improve
disparities affecting minorities and women, and combat discrimination.

—Angela Hooks Bethany

Stop worrying, we’re not europe

an American living abroad, and a former resident of Oklahoma, I have a
unique perspective on news and events in the U.S. So, when I recently
came back for a few weeks to visit family and friends, I was surprised
to learn that President Obama’s “radical” agenda had so greatly
transformed the United States that it had, in fact, become Europe.

live in Austria, a country that has been ruled by socialists with only a
few periods in opposition since 1945. Let me assure you all, the U.S.
is not becoming Europe.

Austria, health care is totally universal, financed by employers,
workers and taxes. Seeing a physician is never a problem, as they
recognize that it is both cost- and care-effective to provide care at a
doctor’s office, rather than through an emergency room.

in the U.S., where skyrocketing health care costs previously threatened
national bankruptcy, Austria’s health costs are well controlled, while
providers are fairly compensated for their services. Doctors, not
bureaucrats, are firmly in control of medical decisions.

of more effective and universal preventive care, Austrians live longer,
suffer lower rates of disease and obesity, and pay less.

what does it say of conservatives’ faith in the idea of America that
one president with an unfriendly Congress can totally transform the U.S.
in just three years? Is one element of the nation’s greatness not found
in its enduring and living Constitution? In the strength of its

—Andrew A. Kierig Salzburg, Austria

Happy canadians

Mike Brake (Commentary, “Point: Disaster is ahead for Obamacare,” Aug. 8, Oklahoma Gazette) tells
us that he doesn’t like government health care and that in Canada, with
a government system that covers everyone, dogs can get a hip
replacement in under a week while humans may have to wait two or three

Brake doesn’t
mention that the Canadian dog will have to come up with thousands of
dollars for the hip replacement while the human hip replacement is
covered by the government program. Overall, the average Canadian is
quite happy with the Canadian system. Brake could also have told us that
every year thousands of Americans go to countries like Mexico and India
for affordable, quality hip replacements and other medical procedures.

We need more affordable and equitable health care. Obamacare is a welcome first, but probably not last, move in that direction.

—John Downard Norman

pricey medicaid expansion

The letter from D.W. Tiffee (“Medicaid expansion vital,” Aug. 1, Gazette) uses some pretty shaky arguments and assumptions to make his point that Medicaid should be expanded.

assumes that the money collected from hospitals in the form of a
2-percent provider fee will not be passed on to those using non-Medicaid
forms of payment for hospital services. This assumption is ridiculous.
Of course the hospitals will pass it on to their paying customers.

and those who support his position believe that money from the federal
government is like manna from heaven. However, the federal government
can only borrow the money it will spend on expanded Medicaid from China,
collect it from taxpayers, or fire up the printing presses. Federal
government money sent to Oklahoma does not come from the Easter bunny or
Santa Claus. It comes from taxpayers or consumers.

misleads readers by reporting that in 2020 the expanded Medicaid
program will cost Oklahoma $32 per person per month. I guess he assumes
there will be no inflation over the next eight years. If inflation was
reported honestly, I believe this cost will be at least 50 percent
higher than the figure Tiffee reported. However, expecting honesty from
the federal government is perhaps expecting too much.

one uses Tiffee’s figures and assumes an 8-to-1 federal match, the cost
per individual for Medicaid coverage would be $288 per month, not the
$32 per month per covered individual that he asserts. That equals $3,656
per year for one person. For a Medicaid household of five persons, this
would cost us $18,260 per year in taxes, debt or devalued currency.

1964, we have spent more than $7 trillion in the “war on poverty” and
we are no nearer to eliminating poverty. Continuing to dole out massive
amounts for programs like Medicaid only encourages nonproductive
behavior by an increasingly large segment of our population.

Why work when everything is free?

—Russell W. Jones Guthrie

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