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Carissa Taylor, student and president of Brandon University Student's Union, defends the notion of learning for the sake of learning and thinks universities have become too focused on jobs. (JOHN WOODS For The Globe and Mail)
Carissa Taylor, student and president of Brandon University Student's Union, defends the notion of learning for the sake of learning and thinks universities have become too focused on jobs. (JOHN WOODS For The Globe and Mail)

What readers think

Oct. 29: Generational entitlement, and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Generational gripes

Re Lost In The Crowd (Report on Business, Oct. 27): Ms. Schaefer misses the point. Young university grads do not have an unrealistic expectation of salaries. As Professor Kershaw says, household income has increased only 5 per cent since 1976 while housing prices have increased 76 per cent. Young people should expect and arguably need higher salaries.

How is expecting a salary to support savings, family and a home – as a university grad – unrealistic? Especially when expecting a full retirement package at 55 or 65 and a windfall on selling your home is not only considered realistic, but supported by policy makers. In this sense, Alix Kemp asks the real question: Who’s entitled now?

Orlagh O’Kelly, Ottawa


I recently came across an old file of rejection letters from my post-university job search in the early 1990s, and it brought to mind the apparent conundrum facing today’s 20-somethings. I’d like to offer this generation some perspective in terms they might understand: The job market is like an amusement park, and a university degree is the price of admission. You might have to wait a while before you get on the rides, and you might find that once you get on a ride it’s not as fun as it appeared. In the job market we used to call this “paying your dues”. Something to think about the next time you’re in line to buy a $7 coffee, using your $500 mobile device.

Tom Phillips, Toronto

Trump trap

Elizabeth Renzetti has fallen into Donald Trump’s trap by repeating his scurrilous request to see President Obama’s passport and his college records (Conspiracy Theories Are The Last Things The Wretched Of The Earth Can Claim As Their Own, Mr. Trump – Oct. 27). Mr. Trump is one of those odd creatures called “birthers” who believe that the President was not born in the U.S. Their unstated assertion is that he is not one of us, he is different from us, and he doesn’t deserve to be president. This type of conspiracy theory is really just a mildly disguised form of racism.

Mr. Trump should not be given the publicity he so wildly craves. He should be left alone, to rant and rave, or to hide under a rock, whichever he prefers. If he wants to rent a billboard in Times Square to promote his crazy ideas, that is his right, but why should he be given free publicity?

Manuel Matas, Winnipeg

We owe it to kids

Childhood obesity is one of the great sadnesses of society as its devastating effects on health and life expectancy simply need not be. The Ontario Medical Association’s anti-obesity campaign has been criticized by the food and beverage industry because its recommendations, such as increased taxation of junk foods and graphic depictions of over- eating’s health risks, supposedly deprive people of choice (The Pros And Cons Of Food Labelling – Oct. 26). But choice remains. What changes are the factors that influence choice.

Choice never occurs in a vacuum. In public health, we’ve learned it’s crucial that a healthy choice be an easy choice, one that’s accessible, affordable and comes first to mind. If the food and beverage industry can use colourful images, famous people and sporting events to market its products, surely it’s reasonable for physicians to use colourful images and associations with realistic outcomes to encourage healthier choices. We’ve moved past “Eat your spinach. It’s good for you.”

Anti-tobacco campaigns show that the OMA recommendations have a far greater chance at encouraging families to make healthy food choices than anything tried to date. It would be a shame not to give them a chance. We owe it to our children.

Valerie Jaeger, vice-chair, Council of Ontario Medical Officers of Health

Women’s work

The importance of “reticent job-bargaining” in maintaining the male/female negotiation divide may explain why more women are working together for fair wages (Narrowing The Gender Wage Gap – Oct. 26). Nowadays, most labour movement members are women. Likewise, the largest trade union in Canada (where I work as a pay-equity specialist) is two-thirds female, compared with one-third in 1971.

Tom Baker, job evaluation representative, Canadian Union of Public Employees

The IMF, the cliff

It’s piquant, if not amusing, to see IMF chief Christine Lagarde wringing her hands over the U.S. “fiscal cliff,” considering the IMF’s consistent record of aggravating the economic woes of developing-nation economies it has been called on to “fix” (The Dire Fallout Of Political Inaction – Oct. 26).

IMF-style austerity advice – or should one say “ideology”? – is now taking its toll on Europe. What is that saying about the blind leading the blind?

Philip Siller, New York

Black’s frenemies

Is there no one who can save the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission and court system from themselves and Lord Black (Black Faces Verbal Darts On BBC Satire – And Keeps Calm – Oct. 26)? The SEC and the U.S. jurists have guaranteed Lord Black blockbuster sales of his new book. I wasn’t interested until it received such a rousing recommendation from his opponents in the form of condemnation.

As we have seen from the Lehman Brothers affair, where the SEC had its investigators lounging in the company’s offices for months before its collapse, the SEC is incompetent. The U.S. government went on to show its disrespect for the law by funding banks and brokers that had managed, despite the SEC’s oversight, to bring the U.S. to its knees. Lord Black has exposed the tawdriness of both institutions.

One of Lord Black’s heroes is Napoleon, who once said you should never interfere with your enemy when he’s harming himself.

Alex Doulis, Toronto


Perhaps Conrad Black and Lance Armstrong could go on tour together. They could discuss how they were both victims of too much evidence.

Norman Rosencwaig, Toronto


While agreeing that online comments are often hateful rants (Tory MP Says Government Should Do Something About Anonymous Online Comments – online, Oct. 26), verifying the authenticity of mandated public authorship would be tough, given the rapidity with which comments appear.

Here’s an alternative: screening through spelling. The most vile, insensitive comments habitually seem to have been written by someone lacking adequate schooling or a spell checker.

Eric LeGresley, Ottawa

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