Letter: Expecting Better

I write not take issue with your critique of my data selection. You are right to point out other measures could show Tennessee in a better light. ["Better'n You," Secret History by Jack Neely, April 18, 2013]

However, you did not report on the main point of the piece: We, as a nation, are blaming and punishing the poor for being poor, and we are doing so despite the obvious fact that we are suffering through historically high levels of unemployment

Unless the news stories are all wrong, Mr. Campfield is not the only Tennessee legislator who supports cutting 30 percent from a low-income parent's meager welfare payments if the child is not doing well in school. The bill was reported out of committee with little or no opposition. How did that happen?

Furthermore, we are doing much of the same as a nation on a grand scale. Wall Street crashed the economy and now we're asking low-income seniors and the poor to tighten their belts some more to help cover the debt? That seems outright cruel.

Finally, the piece was also designed to critique the philosophy of Ayn Rand—a philosophy that ridicules any government support for those in need. That worldview is catching on in America and I think we need to speak out against it.

As a writer, I worry if the lede of a piece takes people in the wrong direction. I see it did so for you. Next time I'll get right to it: Many Tennessee legislators, not just one person, are attacking the poor. And so are many in Washington. We should expect better of each other.

Thank your for your thoughtful critique

Les Leopold

Author, How to Make a Million Dollars an Hour

Montclair, N.J.