Letters

Letters

Inequity and stakeholding in the Bay State

The wealthy and powerful are a very special interest indeed

Christopher Anderson, president of the Massachusetts High Technology Council, wrote that the Commonwealth cannot afford key social safety net components, and he listed MassHealth/Medicaid and health insurance and pensions for government retirees (“Prioritizing state spending,” Opinion, July 4). Anderson stated that the council opposed the “so-called millionaires tax” to prevent any special interest groups from setting budget and spending priorities in the state’s constitution. Didn’t the council do that by opposing the constitutional amendment?

The owners of substantial property and wealth are not a special interest; rather, they are a socially and economically powerful class. US law has enshrined them with that power, even initially allowing them to own slaves.

Unions are not a special interest; they are how the working-class majority gains power to declare and defend their rights against the minority owning class.

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Anderson either ignores or denies that the council’s excessively wealthy individuals and corporations used their power to block a statewide vote to set taxation and spending priorities.

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The Globe has reported that were Massachusetts a nation, it would rank as the fourth wealthiest per capita and have substantial wealth inequality. Further, the state’s 50 wealthiest individuals are worth $133 billion.

Rather than cut shared social services, let’s have the economically and socially powerful pay their fair share.

Craig Slatin

Medford

In shot at MassHealth, the devil is also in overlooked details

Christopher Anderson’s op-ed on the state’s economy comments that “the devil’s in the details” when discussing the challenge that MassHealth, among other big budget items, presents to an otherwise strong state economy. Interesting how Anderson is then selective in the details he talks about for MassHealth. Here’s the devil to his argument: Approximately 50 percent of the MassHealth budget he’s concerned about is reimbursed by the federal government — the state’s actual obligation is half of what’s alleged, something Anderson overlooked.

We often get excited at the prospect of federal investments around research or military bases for the state. But what’s the catch when there’s big federal money that supports quality health care for low-income, elderly, and disabled people? This is care that is provided by the various workers, who are paid by these federal and state dollars, throughout the many layers of the state’s rightfully vaunted health care system.

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MassHealth is being changed at many levels already by the Baker administration. Viewing the program isolated from its role as invaluable insurer, de facto engine of numerous jobs, and a source of significant federal financial support for the state distorts the picture.

Bill Henning

Director

Boston Center for Independent Living

Boston