Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor: June 14

Workers would gain from privatized Social Security

Some readers, cartoonist Joel Pett and recently Rep. Ben Chandler have made negative comments about privatizing Social Security. We should examine some facts.

A bipartisan committee appointed by George W. Bush proposed that workers could elect to put up to one half of their Social Security funds into secure equities and bonds.

The equities weren't specifically defined but it was suggested to be something like an S&P 500 index fund and bond funds with a mix of maturities. Up until 10 years before retirement age the mix could be no more than 60 percent equities with the remainder in bonds. Afterward, equities were limited to no more than 40 percent.

An S&P fund over time has returned 7.5 percent and conservative bond funds 5 percent. The last five or 10 years have not been good for equities but have been great for bonds and have returned 2 percent and 6.5 percent, respectively.

Assuming a 50/50 mix the return would be 6.25 percent historically or 4.25 percent since 2000 or 2005.

Let's assume a person starts working at age 21 and retires at age 67. If a worker's annual contribution is $3,000, the worker would contribute $138,000. Social Security would pay out $206,000; a privatized account would pay between $950,000 and $3.145 million.

Most retirees would love to have that much more. And this is optional. If Chandler doesn't want to participate in this he doesn't have to, but why should he be proud that he prevented future retirees from receiving a greater and more secure retirement?

Norman Johnson


Bush gets 'worst' title

A recent letter called Jimmy Carter the worst president ever with our current president poised to take his place. The writer would have benefited from doing research to prevent such foolish and inaccurate statements.

Carter is not even in the bottom three, and Barack Obama's approval rating is not close to the bottom as he appears more likely to be elected to a second term.

Only three presidents in the past 60 years had approval ratings below 30 percent when leaving office: Harry Truman hit 25 percent, Richard Nixon was at 24 percent and George W. Bush crashed to an all-time record low of 22 percent when he left office, earning the crown of "worst president."

Memories do fade, but the politically motivated attempt to rewrite history in their untruths.

Arlin Marsh


Medicare ad misleads

I notice that President Barack Obama's re-election campaign and the party still in power in the Senate and White House are running TV ads showing "Granny" being pushed over a cliff because of Paul Ryan's budget plan on Medicare.

As usual they are "misspeaking" instead of lying. Under Ryan's plan Medicare will be the same for all seniors being covered now.

The Mayo Clinic will no longer take Medicare patients at its Arizona unit as it cannot break even on the reimbursement it would get from Medicare.

The House should focus on the huge 60 percent increase of those on Medicaid as required by the health reform law. Medicare has only increased by 15 percent and Social Security by 16 percent.

The cost of this huge increase in coverage will bankrupt the U.S. budget.

The House should defund the health insurance exchanges for small business and individuals. It shouldn't defund the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute and the new authorization for Medicare reimbursement.

Health care reform plans to slow Medicare's growth by $550 billion, which will lead to cuts in reimbursements to local hospitals and clinics and cut payments to doctors which will lead to rationing of health care.

On taxes, they should repeal the death tax. Let people give to their heirs their honestly earned money upon which they have already been taxed.

Bill Morton


Ryan plan good start

I am a senior. The recent Democratic ad depicting Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., rolling grandma's wheelchair over the cliff is a classic misrepresentation of the facts. Ryan's proposal explicitly permits persons 55 and over to keep their present Medicare coverage, but does impact the younger generation. The ad is intended to scare today's seniors into believing that Ryan's plan will take away their Medicare.

The real danger is that doing nothing is rapidly taking our country into bankruptcy — a condition in which both the younger generation and today's seniors will see major negative impacts. While the Democratic leadership is giving lip service, saying, "We must make reasonable cuts," their actions say, "Do nothing."

Doing nothing will send everyone over the cliff — including today's seniors.

Today's financial problems have been caused by bad policies that go back over several administrations of which the last Bush administration was a major contributor. However, blaming George W. Bush while expanding the size of government and ballooning spending is not a solution to the problem.

Unfortunately, our own local congressman, Ben Chandler, has been and still appears to be quite willing to support this approach as depicted in his May 23 Herald-Leader column.

Ryan's plan needs improvement (it takes too long to eliminate the deficit), but is a good start — certainly better than confirming the reckless spending into certain financial collapse from which everyone will lose in a major way.

Don Dobson


Big Oil unchecked

Our busy politicians must have agreed to do nothing but try to get re-elected.

BP ran oil in the water, ruining cities and towns, and has not made full restitution. But our politicians OK more oil drilling and allow higher gas prices to continue. Plus, we're still making war with oil-producing countries.

It's weird that oil companies can kill with legitimacy. If they pay campaign money to enough elected officials, laws are passed to make it legal to take property that others have bought, cleaned up, farmed, paid taxes on for years.

The oil companies use the same roads that we do, only they do not have to pay taxes for the upkeep.

If only we could elect a few lawmakers who would pass some laws about foreign oil, set a top price the oil countries could get for this oil and the amount of profit gas companies should make.

All this boils down to is a lot of stupid lawmakers helping the oil companies bankrupt our country and its people.

Floyd Beal