Pension fix looks like more of the same on the way
Every member of the Kentucky Retirement System got shafted on the evening of March 26, when our legislators passed a bill supposedly to shore up our pension system.
The pension fund has half the money it needs to pay current and future retirees. The unfunded liability for the pension system is $33 billion.
If we do basic math: With $33 billion in unfunded liabilities and a plan that is supposed to generate $100 million per year, to reduce that liability it's going to take 330 years.
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So knowing the recent history of our elected leaders in Frankfort, what could possibly go wrong?
Also there is no language that dedicates the new money for the pension fund, so it's being directed to the General Fund.
Gov. Steve Beshear has said he was not worried that the funding bill does not have "a dedicated revenue stream" for payments in the future that will go directly to the pension system because he believes the General Assembly will remain committed to funding the required contribution.
Don't bet on it. The General Assembly has not contributed its full amount to the pension system in more than 10 years.
So, I hope every member of KRS remembers to vote for senators and representatives who will go to Frankfort and do what's right to fix this problem and not just use smoke and mirrors and say they fixed it.
James Jeffrey Coleman
Make a living will
Everyone, young and old, should have a living will. My wife, whom I loved very much, died Dec. 3 after seven years of being very ill. As I watched her suffering, I felt it would be better for her if we just let her go. However, at that point, I did not want to play God.
If Lillian had had a living will she would have had a voice in how she wanted to be treated. Due to her condition, she did not have a voice.
For seven long and painful years for her, I took care of my wife the best way I knew how. I did it on my own for three years and after that I hired a crew. There were many problems as we kept her alive. In my opinion, she was suffering.
I believe God made all of us with a wonderful and talented mind. He has allowed us to make choices and we should choose how we are to live and die. A living will would ensure our wishes will be followed. It would take the burden off our loved ones' shoulders.
McConnell's war chest
Our next senatorial election is 20 months away and yet our senior senator, Mitch McConnell, has already raised $12 million. It is projected he will raise $20 million. The Democrats will have to raise a similar amount to be competitive.
In the 2008 election, McConnell raised $20 million and defeated Democratic candidate Bruce Lunsford by only 6 percentage points.
This emphatically calls for campaign finance reform, a leveling of the playing field. Don't expect such from McConnell, for he equates unlimited campaign money with speech.
Until there is such reform, our democracy will remain the best government money can buy.
With a substantial amount of money already, McConnell has begun his campaign advertising. Be prepared: Before the election is over, the senator will be shown helping every little old lady from Pikeville to Paducah with their Medicare problems and every veteran from Florence to Albany to secure their benefits. McConnell will also mercilessly demagogue his Democratic opponent.
McConnell will attempt to disguise the fact he has done relatively little for Kentucky, has been the Senate's leading obstructionist and that his main objective during the last four years was his failed attempt to deny President Barack Obama a second term.
Surely we can do much better.
George B. Hanrahan Jr.
Lower class rules
We seek to compare the Founding Fathers with those who claim to be analogous to them, the profligate ones, members of the Congress.
In the time of the American Revolution most people worked, subject to the mandates of the king. The concept of socialism would have been anathema to those we tax today, to feed and clothe the indolent ones from cradle to grave.
Nor would people believe that those holding public office should suck up to lesser men and, so, be anointed by the least of them.
The tail wags the dog, if I may.
It's certain, I believe, that the Founding Fathers did not feel indebted to the lower class. It seems, in the grubby game of politics, the successors of the patriots are cynical and oppressive — unlike the English king, who wouldn't cater to the masses to extend his reign.
How many officeholders have enriched themselves by their perquisites and schemes to live their public lives indentured to the lower class, and called it democracy?
Do our elected servants enter politics selfishly, gaining wealth and power, but will not set us free from the scourge of the nether class?
William A. Watson
What if Jesus didn't rise from the dead until Easter 2013? I imagine our conversation with him would go something like this:
Welcome back! Yes, Jesus, we still have the Ten Commandments, but we can't display them or even pray to you in public schools. In public areas, Christmas Day is out and Earth Day is in. Our children are taught that the world and all its creatures were formed by accident.
The institution of marriage is under attack. About half of all marriages end in divorce and over 40 percent of children are born out of wedlock. The U.S. military lifted its ban on sodomy and bestiality. Yes, our moral decay does resemble a modern-day Sodom.
No, you can't turn us all into pillars of salt. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg banned salt.
Aborting unborn children is now compassionate. Yes, many Christians support this policy. No, surprisingly they don't consider themselves hypocrites. Mankind now believes it controls the weather. A prophet named Al Gore believes his policies will change the climate.
The 10th Commandment of not coveting our neighbor's goods has been abandoned. The government believes all wealth belongs to it and its job is to redistribute it.
Yes, our president mocks Christians for hanging onto their guns and religion. No, Christians supported him by a margin of 9 percent in his two elections.
Jesus, why is it raining? No, I'm not a very good swimmer.
Homeless are being hurt every day. What should we do?
In the early morning of Aug. 27 a homeless man was set on fire while sleeping behind a building on Winchester Road.
In 2010 in the United States, 113 such incidents occurred; 24 of the people died. Since 1999, the National Coalition for the Homeless has recorded 1,184 acts of violence that have resulted in 312 deaths.
Our community can't believe things like this happen in Lexington. These types of incidents are not considered hate crimes because right now the law doesn't include homelessness as an eligible category for a hate crime. We should call these incidents hate crimes, and we should not bully the homeless.
Every person should have the right to security. This is what one child said to a researcher: "As a 'street kid,' I lived in constant fear of violence. There was no door I could lock to separate me from the rest of the world. There was no safe place for me to just be." That is very sad.
Julius Marks Elementary School