A place to call home
Increasing property values in McLennan County may mean an increase in taxes for some (Tommy Witherspoon, July 31) but for others, it means renting. Potential homeowners are being knocked out of the market because income is not increasing at the same rate as housing costs. But the problem doesn’t end there.
In 2017, 38% of Texas households rented their homes. This is higher than the national average. Many of these families are housing-cost burdened, meaning they spend more than 30% of their income on rent. Between 2017-2018, the hourly wage required to afford a two-bedroom rental home in Texas was $20.59. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. This wage gap has led to numerous evictions, leaving school-age children with unstable housing.
In the current housing crisis, renting isn’t an option, but neither is owning a home. Something must be done. Everyone deserves a place to call home. I call on Sen. John Cornyn, Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Bill Flores to shift tax resources to support a “renters tax credit” for low- and moderate-income families. We must address the affordable housing crisis and end poverty.
Kristen T. Carlisle, Waco
Changing our minds
As a scholar of rhetoric I never have entirely understood why politicians continually live in fear of and inappropriately respond to the “gotcha” moment — those occasions when political opponents or pundits accuse them of a contradiction in statement or behavior. The Democratic presidential debates are replete with examples of this, whether the issue is criminal justice, gun control or health care. This tendency transcends the ideological leanings of candidates, whether it is Vice President Joe Biden or Sens. Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders or Cory Booker. The question we must ask: Are alleged contradictions inherently a vice or might they be a virtue?
For more than 40 years I have taught a class in argumentation. My students learn that what initially appears to be a contradiction is not always a fallacy. It is spurious only if nothing significant has transpired between the first statement or action and the second. If nothing has changed circumstantially, it may indeed be a fallacy; conversely, if we believe there have been important developments in the intervening period of time, then what appears to be a contradiction could actually be a reasonable evolution in thought — perhaps showing one’s intellectual maturity and openness to persuasion. I wonder, therefore, why politicians accused of contradictions more often don’t respond: “Time and circumstances are substantially different now from when I first said or did what you note. Don’t Americans want leaders who adapt and are willing to change their mind, especially in a quickly evolving world?”
Richard Cherwitz, Ph.D., Founding Director, Intellectual Entrepreneurship Consortium, University of Texas at Austin
Just a suggestion
Perhaps District 1 Councilwoman Andrea J. Barefield and the Graysons could agree to allow the Graysons to retain their roll-down doors if the Graysons commissioned an artist to paint a mural on the exterior of the doors so when evening hours necessitated closure, the doors would become a piece of art [“Door could slam on TIF funding for Elm Avenue Market,” July 25].
Such a mural would tie into the other murals in the downtown area. Just a suggestion.
Jackie Benfield, Waco