In "A positive first step" (Our View, May 12), the editorial board believes classified employees in the Medford School District should follow the example set by district administration and agree to contribute 6 percent of their salaries into their retirement.

Classified employees do not have much discretionary income. The median salary for a full-time educational assistant in Medford is approximately $21,000 a year. A 6 percent wage cut equates to $1,260 a year, or $126 a month. This means employees may not be able to purchase a tank of gas and groceries, not that they can't take that vacation they were planning.

Classified employee wages in Medford have been frozen for the past two years and will again be frozen in 2011-12.

The writer implies that if classified employees do not take a 6 percent wage reduction it means that they do not care about the kids, only about their own "self-interests." Aside from performing their regular job duties, classified employees use their own money to purchase school supplies and clothing for the students, provide caring and support to students who are struggling, and volunteer their time to assist in student activities. Not the acts of selfish people. — Lyndy Overacker, OSEA chapter president, Medford

In response to the letters of James Snyder, May 9, and Dan Fellman, May 12, corporations own the government and all politicians. Money rules, profit is the bottom line.

The present systems contradicts the basic rights of millions of unemployed, homeless and destitute to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Mainly to have a job. The present system fails in many ways. The decadent system is controlled by the power of money held by less that 5 percent of the total population. Bribery "lobbying" controls all the politicians. It is no wonder a religious group believes God is going to put an end to man's failure to govern himself.

If our tax system can finance billions and trillions for wars all over the world for killing and destruction, surely that machine and human energy can be directed toward the basic needs of our fellow brothers and sisters — as predicted by Edward Bellamy in his 1888 book, "Looking Backward." A very high standard of living for all, including the rich, no wars necessary, prisons emptied, huge improvement in mental and physical health. From 1930 to 1932, famous engineers, scientists and economists researched a scientific, functional way to govern. Check out: technocracyinc.org — a nonprofit organization. — Edmond D. Vongehr, Medford

With the bellwether loss of a conservative congressional seat in upstate New York because of the Republicans' proposal to privatize Medicare, I suspect Congressman Greg Walden will begin to backpedal from his polarizing tea party diatribes of the past months.

For those of us who pay attention to the true colors of our representatives, remember that Walden voted for the Ryan bill to gut Medicare and turn it over to the private sector, in effect making both health insurance and health care unaffordable for American seniors. Watch for a shift now to the old mantras: "job-killing" regulations, "radical" environmental protections and "tax-and-spend" Democrats.

And to make it a four-ring circus, I expect Walden to be fully on board with the dangerous brinksmanship on raising the limit on the national debt — Republicans have indicated by their words and deeds that they would like nothing better than an economic catastrophe if they can avoid being blamed for it. Please remember that the next time you vote. I know I will. — Paul Falletta, Grants Pass

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