Retirees have paid our share while state has failed us
I retired from the Cynthiana Police Department on Jan. 1, 2010. Every two weeks for 21 years, the city paid retirement contributions and I paid part of my salary into the state retirement system.
In 1994, the city put the police and fire departments into the hazardous duty retirement system. The move was greatly appreciated although it caused a drastic increase in what we and the city had to contribute.
After several years, I called the state to ask about my retirement and how it was doing. I was told it was making one percent interest. I asked about having my retirement put into something else that might make more money. I was told as long as I was employed somewhere that had state retirement it was not an option not to contribute. It was mandatory so "it would be there when I retired."
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Now I am reading that our legislators are considering a bill to tax my retirement because the fund is billions short. There are thousands of us in the state retirement system who abided by the rules. Now the state wants us to help with the shortfall it created when it did not keep up its end of the agreement.
I hope legislators come up with another solution because all of us retirees have paid our fair share. I only have one question for our legislators: How underfunded is your retirement?
David R. Powers
Take the plunge
I don't understand the term "fiscal cliff." During the 2012 presidential election, the Democrats kept pointing out that President Bill Clinton left office with a budget surplus.
Now, when we might return to the Clinton-era tax rates, all of a sudden it is a fiscal cliff.
Let's go off the cliff and see how the Democrats like the Clinton era today. Granted that President George W. Bush spent too much and started us on the road to higher debt, how can the Republicans be blamed for Clinton's rates?
Stop playing games
Our economy is finally recovering from the worst recession since the Great Depression. Now our leaders in Washington need to reach a bipartisan compromise on taxes and the deficit.
Everyone agrees that taxes should not go up on 98 percent of Americans. The Senate already passed a bill to stop my family's taxes from going up $2,000. But instead of giving families results, Kentucky Republicans are using us as a bargaining chip in a political poker game.
The House must stop playing partisan games with the livelihoods of America's middle-class families and get down to business on creating jobs and building an economy from the middle out, not the top down.
Embrace the cliff
Political pundits and self-proclaimed financial experts have had a field day stirring up fears about the impending fiscal cliff.
Their prediction is misguided, as for the last four years the same "experts" have pleaded for meaningful revenue increases and cuts in spending to balance the budget.
The challenge is that many of our politicians believe we only need to tax a few, or that we can spare every American from any real cut in benefits. The problem is bigger than any half measure. We all need to have a stake in responsible government and the sacrifices that come with it.
While some contend that reverting to pre-Bush tax rates combined with meaningful, across-the-board spending cuts is too drastic for our fragile economic recovery, no one can argue that it would not help balance our out-of-control budget. In the long run, this will only strengthen the recovery and foster opportunity for all Americans.
Democrats should embrace the fiscal cliff; it restores their "golden era" of Clinton tax rates.
Republicans should embrace it; it cuts our unsustainable spending levels. All Americans should embrace it as it accomplishes what our elected leaders have failed to do.
The International Energy Agency recently released its World Energy Outlook and confirmed estimates that the overwhelming majority of known fossil fuel reserves (75 percent to 80 percent) will have to be kept in the ground to avoid a 2-degree Celsius temperature rise for planet Earth.
When will Sen. Mitch McConnell recognize that humankind is in the process of destroying the livability of the planet? A carbon dioxide level of 350 parts per million in our atmosphere is calculated to be the tipping point by the best climate scientists' most generous estimates.
Beyond that level, climate change to unprecedented levels will be unstoppable. Others believe that 350 ppm is too high.
We will reach 350 parts per million when we burn another 565 gigatons of fossil fuel. Fossil fuel corporations now have an estimated 2,795 gigatons in their reserves, five times the safe amount. And they're planning to burn it all. We must stop.
Germany already supplies 20 percent of its electrical power from renewable sources. We must do the same.
The fiscal cliff will be a minor annoyance compared to the flooding of part of Washington, D.C., Florida and a host of U.S. cities, and the ravages of increasing storms, unprecedented heat waves and widespread crop loss.
The science of this matter is clear, it is settled, and it is against McConnell's present stance.