Biden plan gets spending priorities back on track
A letter was published recently in which the writer took exception to President Joe Biden's student loan forgiveness initiative.
This is really a very modest step toward helping people after COVID caused so much disruption in society. It does not forgive all debt, only $10,000. It exempts families over a certain income level.
And here is probably the most important justification for this: We bailed out the banks, mortgage companies, the auto industry and the airlines to the tune of billions of dollars. We also fought two meaningless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which ended up costing us over $8 trillion. Yes, that's trillion.
At least the country will be getting some concrete benefit from this. It is the least we can do when college costs have gone through the roof, and wages have remained stagnant.
David Pauli, Forest Grove
Use liquor stores for flavored tobacco?
Regarding the article on Multnomah County consideration of ban on all flavored vape and tobacco products:
Why don't they look into having vaping products and flavored tobacco sold out of liquor stores, where the rules on youth purchases are much more restricted? It would seem a logical location if adults would like to continue their use of choice.
Deanna Unger, Hillsboro
U.S. must carry fight against disease onto global stage
For 20 years, Americans have led the fight against preventable disease. In the wake of COVID, our support matters even more.
The COVID-19 pandemic pushed global health systems to the breaking point and set back our fight against preventable diseases. For the first time in decades, 2020 saw dangerous declines in progress against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria as the pandemic jeopardized access to testing and treatments. Without bold action from world leaders, we could be on track to reach another concerning "first" — failing, for the first time since its inception, to fully replenish the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the most important resource we have in the fight to end these diseases.
U.S. leadership plays a critical role in the Global Fund's continued growth and success. In 20 years, Americans' support for the Global Fund has helped save 14 million lives, creating healthier societies and better futures for people and families around the world. Oregon alone has helped save 142,005 lives, provide antiretroviral drugs to 74,462 people, treat 16,068 people for tuberculosis, and distribute 640,412 mosquito nets.
Oregon's hard-won progress is now at risk. At its replenishment conference later this year, the Global Fund needs to raise $18 billion to recover gains lost to the ongoing COVID pandemic.
The U.S. has proposed a $2 billion per year pledge. Sen. Jeff Merkley must finish the job and get the fight to end HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria back on track.
Michael Kalkofen, Beaverton
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