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We pay now or pay later, Governor

Last week, Gov. Bruce Rauner called for a 20 percent reduction in the Illinois prisoner population over the next 10 years. But in his budget address on Wednesday, he called for a $110 million reduction in funding for mental health and substance abuse programs. I understand cuts need to be made, but doesn’t the governor realize where a large number of the people deprived of these services are going to end up?

Gary Bjorklund, Justice

SEND LETTERS TO: letters@suntimes.com (Please include what neighborhood or town you live in, and a phone number for verification purposes.)

Rauner’s plan is ‘monstrous’

I am aghast at Gov. Rauner’s budget plan:
1.  Poor people have no right to medical care.
2.  Poor people have no right to higher education to better themselves in life.
3.  People with special needs should get less help.
This is monstrous.
Sybil Hoffman, Evanston

Rauner ignores young people in need

Having listened to Gov. Rauner’s budget address, I’m even more concerned about the residents of my community and especially our youth.

I heard the governor’s concern for future generations, but I heard no compassion for the present generation, those young folks who struggle to be safe every day, employed and involved in after-school programs. To ignore the plague of violence and the need to support programming aimed at violence prevention is neither compassionate nor moral. Yes, we want to stop prison recidivism, but we also need to prevent young folks from going to prison in the first place.

Rev. Michael L. Pfleger, Faith Community of Saint Sabina, Chicago

Rauner targets the ‘permanent governing class’ 

In your Thursday editorial, “A hard governor sounds a loud alarm,” you sniff around the truth that Gov. Rauner’s budget will, at least, focus people’s attention on the fact that the state’s feckless business-as-usual approach has a rapidly approaching sell-by date. However, you still don’t really understand.  So here’s something to the point by Mark Steyn, who used to write for the Sun-Times. This bit of wisdom isn’t limited to Illinois:

“America has a looming rendezvous with destiny. You can’t tax your way out of it, you can’t inflate your way out of it, you can’t quantitatively ease your way out of it. The only door that leads anywhere is the one marked ‘Massive Government Cuts.’ There is not enough money on the planet for what the Permanent Governing Class is doing. If Americans decline to grasp that central truth, this country will die.”

Paul Nachman, Rogers Park

Let’s hear it for shivering mail carriers

This is a good time of year to leave a note of encouragement to the men and women who bring us our mail. I understand that reasonable tips are now allowed.

One of the educational steps in my getting out of the family cave was as a Christmas temp worker in the United States Postal Service. It was quite a jolt!  While my middle class neighbors peeped from their coal-fired  bungalows, this soft teenager backpacked through the snow and ice until darkness fell and a manager came out to look for me. This was good preparation for my later peacetime Army Selective Service.

With the Post Office under attack from the wolves of Wall Street, it is good to turn to the writing of Herodotus in 500 BC, as translated by Professor George H. Palmer:  “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

John Heinz, Aurora