Pot Through the Years (copy) (copy)

In this Nov. 6, 2012 file photo, people attending an Amendment 64 watch party celebrate after a local television station announced the marijuana amendment’s passage in Denver.

Willingness to speak out

I applaud Robert Corry’s comments on the unintended consequences of Colorado’s effort to decriminalize marijuana. As our society drifts headlong into socialism, his comments in Sunday’s paper should give everyone pause. Government regulation of an industry often does not accomplish what was intended and comes at a tremendous cost. Licensing and regulation may start out with good intentions but, as Corry points out, they frequently become a barrier to entry for new competitors and a tool for the enrichment of entrenched interests.

The web page for the Colorado Department of Professions and Occupations is instructive. There are 41 occupations listed that require licenses. Having been in one of those occupations, I can personally testify that licensing had little impact on my job performance but forced me to support a “continuing education” industry that was often a joke. Having worked in a heavily regulated industry, I saw examples of regulatory agency nonfeasance, misfeasance, and malfeasance.

Beware of giving the government any power; it is usually abused. On a lighter note, two of the licensed occupations in Colorado are Barber/Cosmetology and Unlicensed Psychotherapy. Hair regrows and you do not have to go back to a bad barber or stylist. And the idea of requiring a license to practice unlicensed psychotherapy seems to me to be an oxymoron. Interestingly, growing marijuana is not a licensed occupation although, as Corry points out, bad practices here can have notable impacts on public health. Congratulations to Corry on his willingness to speak out.

Bill Healy Jr.

Monument

Inverted cause and effect

While I agree with the editorial viewpoint (“Biden must expand labor if he wants to fix roads”, April 1, 2021) that America needs more skilled labor, I must take issue with one bullet item. It reads, “Elimination of welding and shop classes in public schools, as a direct result of the emphasis on college and white-collar work.” The editorial board has unfortunately inverted cause and effect.

Auto, metal, and wood shop classes started disappearing from middle and high schools in the mid 1980’s as a result of budget cuts. Further cuts reduced or eliminated art, home economics, and music classes from elementary and middle schools. The loss of trade skills training necessitated emphasis on college preparation, not the other way around.

It would certainly be a good thing if funding could be found to restore shop classes (along with art, music, and school nurses,) but that seems unlikely. Nobody wants to pay higher taxes, least of all the editorial board.

Considering the fact that shop is inherently dangerous, would schools be willing to front higher insurance premiums and risk personal injury lawsuits?

Mark Von Hendy

Colorado Springs

No simple or obvious solution

In the April 1 editorial, the Gazette editorial board complained about the dearth of skilled tradesmen, as they used to be called.

While I agree with most of their points, there is one so egregiously wrong that I must take issue.

The problem statement reads: “Elimination of welding and shop classes in public schools, as a direct result of the emphasis on collage and white-collar work.” This statement errs in that it mistakes the order of cause and effect.

Back in the 1980s, high schools and junior high schools began to eliminate shop auto, metal, and wood classes, not because of lack of student interest, but because of budget cuts. Home economics courses were cut, too, but since, most of the students were female, nobody cared. And subsequent budget cuts endangered or eliminated arts and music programs (not to mention school nurses) in elementary and middle schools.

With the trades cut due to lack of funding (God forbid that taxpayers should be compelled to pay more for student education,) schools were forced to emphasize college prep.

Now, I would be the first to admit that a four-year liberal arts college program is not ideal for the majority of high school students. Trade education results in lucrative careers. Current statistics show that roughly 40% of college students drop out before completing their sophomore year. This means we wind up with many young adults with large debt and poor job prospects.

There is an adage among engineers: For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, obvious, and wrong. Personally, I cannot see a simple or obvious solution to the education problem. Devoting more money to trade education seems obvious, but how to convince taxpayers that it is worthwhile?

Mark Von Hendy

Colorado Springs

A roundabout magic trick

Are you happy that President Joe Biden wants to increase the corporate tax from 21% to 28%? A lot of people are pleased that more money is going to be taken away from the rich corporations.

Guess what? The corporations will not lose any money no matter how high their taxes are raised. Guess who will be paying more? That’s right we will.

The corporations will simply place their higher tax expenses on their products and services that we will buy at higher prices. The President is raising the living expenses of the people rather than taking money away from corporations. The president told us that he wasn’t going to raise the taxes of people who are making less than $400,000 but in a roundabout magic trick he is doing just that. What a guy.

Vern Swim

Colorado Springs

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