The proposed federal budget slashes resources for the Environmental Protection Agency, and recently passed legislation makes it legal to dump mine wastes into streams. I’m guessing those who favor these actions were toddlers in 1970 and have no memory of what life was like before the EPA, but my wife and I do.

On trips from my family’s then-home in St. Louis to Akron on U.S. 40, when approaching Terre Haute, Ind., you could smell the Wabash River long before you could see it. When crossing the bridge, there was trash along both banks and the stench was powerful.

When we moved to Akron in 1965, the city was on the top 10 list for dirty air. While some called the odor from the rubber shops “the smell of prosperity,” it wasn’t the smell of good health.

On an overcast Saturday in 1968 I went to see a Cleveland Indians game. I returned home and cleaned my face with a cotton square, and it was black from particulates.

My wife remembers playing in a neighborhood “chemical creek” downstream from a latex plant in southwest Akron. Later, health problems emerged with employees.

One need only to look at the drinking water disaster in Flint, Mich., to see what inattention or an uncaring attitude by public officials toward to environment can do. And given the overall performance of the economy since 1970, the argument that environmental regulations are “job killers” doesn’t hold water (clean or dirty).

Jim Kroeger

Fairlawn

Right definition ?for health care

The March 24 letter “Health insurance wrongly redefined” requires a response. The writer’s premise is right, but his conclusion is wrong. He claims, correctly, that the Affordable Care Act redefines health insurance. That is just what we need. We do not have health insurance in this country; we have sick insurance.

The writer says, “The cost of a visit to the doctor or some basic medications should be just like a trip to McDonald’s — you pay.” We can cook for ourselves at home and avoid eating out, but we can’t provide our own expert medical care. Low-income people, and many others, often seek medical care only when quite ill, using hospital emergency rooms for routine care, clogging the system and running up unpaid bills that make medical care more expensive for all.

McDonald’s can turn away folks who can’t pay; hospitals, thankfully, cannot. A few dollars of health insurance for routine preventive care save thousands in avoidable crisis care.

I can solve our health care crisis in just three words: Medicare for all. Medicare was derided as socialized medicine, but has become a central pole in the national tent of health coverage. Expanding it for everyone would lower costs, as older folks benefiting tend to be sicker than younger people.

We do need to redefine health care to see it, as virtually all other first-world countries do, as a right for all, not as a pay-as-you-go system or something for the fortunate.

Jon Secaur

Kent

Arts funding ?benefits all

The president’s proposed budget removes federal funding for the arts and humanities, denying artists and scholars crucial support for work that fuels our nation’s innovation and creativity and hampering efforts to enable every American to share in and enjoy our vibrant national culture.

Funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities constitute only 0.02 percent of federal spending. Yet this tiny investment supports some of the world’s greatest literary, artistic and cultural institutions. Eliminating these agencies would reduce America’s standing as a haven for free thought and open dialogue as well as lessen our stature as a leader in humanity’s quest for knowledge.

We need to stand with artists, writers, researchers, scholars, educators and ordinary people to oppose a budget that undermines American leadership and innovation in arts, culture and the humanities. Contact your members of Congress and urge them to insist that funding for the NEA and NEH be restored.

Susan Gallagher

Akron

Why we need ?the GOP

I am a liberal who almost always votes for the Democratic candidate. However, I believe that we need a strong Republican Party as well, to have a healthy give-and-take in our government. That is why I am upset that President Trump is destroying the Republican Party.

Since the day he announced his candidacy, he has told so many lies that we can’t even count them. It didn’t stop when he became president. Now, as happens with liars, he’s caught in a web of his own making. He tries to blame others, but that is getting transparent, even to his supporters.

Think of our standing in the rest of the world. What can we, as Americans, do with this problem? Surely we can’t survive four years of this.

Carol Button

Cuyahoga Falls