Politicians must stop looting Social Security
On Feb. 16, among three columns under "Focus on federal budget," The Chicago Tribune and The Dallas Morning News suggested cutting Social Security in some way and raising the co-pay for Medicare as remedies for reducing the deficit.
Social Security is not, as politicians like to call it, an "entitlement" in the same category as Medicare, Medicaid and other like programs.
Social Security is a retirement program funded by taxes paid by workers so that when they retire there is some measure of income, giving recipients some comfort and dignity. It was a highly successful program.
Then politicians cooked up a scheme to make Social Security a part of the federal budget in order to loot the fund for government expenses. And they started calling it "an entitlement," as though it is a charity supported by general public taxes.
If Social Security is broken, here's the fix: Let the federal government pay back into the fund what it has looted, with interest, and separate the fund from the federal budget like it used to be.
But here's another possibility: Make the retirement fund for Congress members a part of the federal budget so that the government can loot that surplus.
Consider this: When Sen. John Kyl retires, which he's going to do, he will receive an annual pension of $139,000. He has served 18 years in the Senate.
I worked 34 years and receive a Social Security pension of $18,000 a year. What's wrong with this picture?
Lawrence E. Durr
I applaud your editorial on Feb. 18, "Silly wastes of time," regarding Senate Joint Resolution 99 and House Bill 421, which attempted to limit the Environmental Protection Agency's regulation of coal mining in Kentucky; and SB 15, which would require all schools to set aside time for reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
I wholeheartedly agree that these are a waste of precious time. I also see in these two issues a sort of contradiction.
On one hand, the legislature wants students to recite, "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation ...," and on the other hand, they want Kentucky to be a "sanctuary state," not beholden to the laws of this nation. More silliness?
Fix the newspaper
I have been a subscriber for more than 20 years and was sorry to read about more layoffs ("Herald-Leader cuts more jobs," Jan. 25). I have noticed the paper being reduced in size over the years and the advertising diminishing. I had previously placed classified ads in the real estate section, but no longer because of the exorbitant costs.
I have had my farm for sale with three different Realtors, all members of Lexington Board of Realtors, and each only placed a few ads in the paper — each complaining that the cost of print advertising is just too much and not worthwhile.
I also noticed that the editorial board has been shifting from left to extreme left over the last number of years. The Bluegrass area in general and Mercer County in particular is conservative leaning. Why not cater to your constituents or readers?
You act like the politicians who want to vote the way they feel personally and not the way their constituents would prefer.
I firmly believe that if you move over to the center or right of center in your editorials and substantially reduce your advertising charges at least by 50 percent and start having weekend rates for advertising, you would find a very dramatic increase in your income.
It is the same as reducing your income tax rates — ultimately tax revenues increase. Decrease your advertising rates substantially and your volume will triple or quadruple.
I watched the telecast of President Barack Obama at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and saw the same speech that McClatchy Newspapers reporters Steven Thomma and Kevin G. Hall saw (Herald-Leader, Feb. 8).
Certainly, the relationship has been contentious for the first two years, but here is a president who has visibly changed his attitude since November and is reaching out for help to the most influential and powerful executives in the country.
But the reporters shaded that perception with comments about the chamber's "icy" response to crucial government regulation and how it "applauded only sporadically."
The article was accompanied by a grim photograph of three gentlemen striking poses more reminiscent of the Soviet era than of today in America. I expected to read the caption below and see names like Lenin, Stalin and Brezhnev but was relieved to find that, no, there were two members of the chamber plus the White House chief of staff. Nevertheless, the poses were perfect if one wants to project grand skepticism.
Then there was the headline — "Obama: "Invest in America"" — as if to say that Obama is the first to advocate such action. Again, no, the whole country wants us to invest in America. It's as simple as that.
What would be more constructive would be to hear from the chamber, or from the reporters, what they think Obama should have said. It's time to start pulling together, and that includes the media.
A way to buy votes
Times are scary. It used to be that liberal Democrats simply bemoaned the realization that some people could survive, and indeed thrive, without government managing every aspect of their lives.
However, the contemporary liberal campaign theme is summed up by painting fiscal conservatives as rich and greedy Scrooges.
All the while, these progressives promise lower taxes for everyone except the top few percent of taxpayers, from whom they will take ever-increasing amounts.
Although the higher income brackets have always paid more in taxes than people in lower brackets, this is not good enough for those out there that actively court votes by promising benefits to one portion of the population while vilifying the other. As this letter is being written, there is a vote-buying trial under way in Magoffin County.
However, whatever might have happened behind closed doors in some small town in Eastern Kentucky pales in comparison to the daily vitriolic rhetoric progressives use to instigate class warfare.
The last time I checked, it was illegal to solicit votes based upon promises of getting some benefit in return.
It is human nature that nine out of 10 people would vote to have their expenses paid by the richest person — and liberals know it and use this fact to gain elected office.
The United States was not set up so that candidates could be elected based on the campaign promise "vote for me and your taxes will go down."
Votes should not be bought, in whatever form.