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Issue Home February 15, 2005 Site Home

Letters to the Editor Policy

Dear Working Families

You're going to hear a lot of claims about President Bush's blue print to privatizing Social Security in his State of the Union address. Here's the truth.

Privatizing Social Security will not mean more money for you. Privatization will cut benefits by 30 percent even for workers who don't choose to have private accounts. That adds up to $152,000 lost by the average worker who lives 20 years beyond retirement. And if you do choose a private account, the government will take back 50 cents for every $1 in your account–on top of the 30 percent benefit cut.

Privatizing Social Security is not really voluntary. You'll get the benefit cuts even if you don't want a privatized Social Security account.

You won't be in charge of your privatized Social Security account. Politicians will hand-pick Wall Street firms to control the investment accounts–paving the way to corruption and Enron-ization of Social Security.

Retirees can't pass privatized Social Security account money on to your heirs. The accounts will be converted to annual payments.

We have time to strengthen Social Security the right way–not by slashing benefits. Social Security can pay full benefits until 2042 even with no changes at all. We should strengthen Social Security with commonsense approaches–like requiring Congress to pay back money it has borrowed from Social Security or rolling back the most egregious tax breaks for the very wealthy.

You won't hear the word "privatization" coming from President Bush–because his pollsters and spin doctors know America's voters oppose privatizing Social Security. He'll call it "personalizing" Social Security. No matter what word spin he uses, the reality is this: Privatizing Social Security will cut benefits, add $2 trillion to the federal deficit in just the first 10 years, push seniors into poverty and replace guaranteed retirement income with "personalized" risk.

Please share these facts with people you know by forwarding this message to your friends, families and co-workers.


Karen Hoffman,

New Milford, PA

Homeless Cats & Kittens

My first letter a year ago was about the kitten found frozen to death.

I wanted to write sooner and say yes, it’s a cat house. I built the house hoping the homeless cats would use it instead of the businesses’ buildings. I buy cat food to feed them, hoping they won’t be in anyone’s garbage. Yes, it’s a problem!

I wish adults would think twice before getting a pet, especially a cat or kitten. If we had laws for cats, like we do for dogs we wouldn’t have so many strays. I would like to ask people not to drop off their kittens at the cat house.

This year, we put fresh hay in the house and doing this found a dead kitty; I know this one was dropped off at the cat house.

Maybe someone could start a collection, trap all stray cats, take them to the Humane Society and give them a donation for each stray.

Do you think the problem would be solved? I don’t, not until adults learn to take care of their animals. If you don’t have the money to take them to the vet for shots and to be spayed or neutered, don’t get a pet.

I now have six cats as a result of them being homeless. I’ve also had dogs, and I love them all. Stray cats are fighting some terrible diseases and they will continue to infect each other until they die or are taken care of by their owners.

I can only hope that we could all work together to solve this issue. Personally, I would like nothing better, because I really don’t like seeing them with ice on their whiskers, runny eyes, limping, from fat to thin, another litter born, surviving to live this kind of life.

I would like to thank those kindhearted folks who have donated food, those who have taken time to feed them themselves, and those who wrote letters.


Linda Barnes

Susquehanna, PA

Lucky Neighbors

Watching and listening to local TV the last few days enlightened me on what has happened in nearby Montour County, PA. It seems that the commissioners raised county taxes 10% which angered hundreds of taxpayers. (Imagine what a 23 % increase would have caused.) In Montour County, taxes can only increase 5% unless approved by the judge. Of course the judge would only allow the 5% increase as authorized by state law.

I brought this to the attention of our Susquehanna County Commissioners at the last meeting. From their reaction, it was obvious that none knew that such a law existed. The chairman said that the 23% tax increase was assumed legal due to no reaction from our county solicitor. Hello, I’m sure Montour County also has a solicitor! Further, our commissioners once again referred to Lackawanna County and their 48% tax increase (feel better now).

The interesting part of this is that Montour County taxpayers were informed of what was happening with their taxes and hundreds turned out to voice their disapproval. After the judge’s decision, the commissioners agreed to revise the budget to be within the 5%. I find it hard to believe each PA county has a different allowable maximum tax increase.

An interesting aside: in the December 26, 2004 Binghamton, NY newspaper, a county commissioner was quoted as saying the 2005 tax increase would be 28%. Sounds like if you ask a question and get a answer, you may get a different answer each time you ask.

We need to know what will be happening when the Clean and Green Base Acre rollback occurs.

Many hundreds of thousands of dollars should be returned to the taxpayers. To do otherwise would mean it’s another tax increase.


Tom Jurista

Silver Lake Township

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Letters To The Editor MUST BE SIGNED. They MUST INCLUDE a phone number for "daytime" contact. Letters MUST BE CONFIRMED VERBALLY with the author, before printing. At that time you may request to withhold your name. Letters should be as concise as possible, to keep both Readers' and Editors' interest alike. Your opinions are important to us, but you must follow these guidelines to help assure their publishing.

Thank you, Susquehanna County Transcript

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