February 5, 2011

Letters to the editor, Feb. 5, 2011:
Don't cut Social Security, Medicare

It is incomprehensible to me why Republican members of Congress want to reduce or eliminate Social Security and Medicare benefits, especially considering our current economic malaise.

click image to enlarge

In a 2005 file photo, a Philadelphia woman protests plans by President George W. Bush to modify Social Security.

2005 Associated Press file

We live in a time when employee pensions are being eliminated by many, if not most, organizations (and being reduced by many others), when at the same time the volatility of the stock market, where the bulk of 401(k) investments are placed, provides little certainty or security.

With high unemployment, why would any member of Congress want to eliminate programs that provide a moderate degree of financial security for retirees?

Admittedly, we need to make these programs more efficient and less costly. One rational solution to Social Security's funding problem is to eliminate the tax maximum, the maximum earnings on which Social Security's tax is levied and on which benefits are calculated.

In short, individuals would pay taxes based on their total earnings, either with a much higher maximum or without any maximum.

What is particularly frustrating is that cutting our defense budget is rarely mentioned as a way to cut our debt. Yet, we have enough weaponry in our arsenal to destroy the Earth. That firepower is not effective against terrorists who use primitive and clandestine methods, which is the type of warfare we battle against today.

Attacks on Social Security and Medicare should be rejected by all of us, regardless of age.

At a time when American capitalism has enriched Wall Street but failed to help Main Street and the American worker, we should be willing to stand up to anyone who speaks of eliminating these programs, the last two vestiges of financial security for retirees, many of whom have worked, or will work, almost a lifetime.

Robert J. Prahl


DADT repeal serves cause of equal rights

I retired several years ago after 20 years of service in the U.S. Navy. Due to this, I feel obliged to respond to the Jan. 19 letter written by Larry Marshall of Camden ("DADT repeal has already produced first PC victim").

Mr. Marshall laments the problems which he predicts will result from the repeal of DADT ("don't ask, don't tell). Similar concerns/problems were predicted when the military was fully integrated and women were allowed to compete for all specialties except combat arms. Though not eradicated, problems have been minimalized through education.

I was very disturbed by Mr. Marshall's inference that if you are different, it must be your choice, and you must expect hostility and lack of acceptance.

Well, though I wouldn't change it, I was born a woman, my African-American acquaintances assure me they were born black, and there is mounting evidence that homosexuality is also a genetic trait.

Once the repeal of DADT is enacted, homosexual service members will serve openly and not be discharged. Are there some who will have a problem with this? Absolutely!

They will undoubtedly be among the same minority who continue to have issues with race, religion and gender. As far as the concern that we will lose qualified and expensively trained personnel, we already are.

Every year we lose thousands of exemplary service members who have been "outed" or refuse to continue to live a lie. Part of DADT repeal dictates there will be no tolerance of words or actions which disrespect, diminish, or belittle any individual or group.

The officer he refers to as a victim (Capt. Owen Honors) demonstrated one of the worst examples of leadership I saw in my 20 years in the Navy. As far as he is concerned, he is not a victim of political correctness, only of his own words and actions.

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