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Dear Susquehanna Residents

I think we should keep our town (Susquehanna) beautiful by putting trash cans on Main Street. This should keep people from throwing trash on streets and sidewalks. We should have volunteer litter pickup days, one weekend per month where people go out and pick up trash and garbage on boro streets and vacant lots, and also help the garden club beautify our town!


Casey Williams

4th Grade Student

Susquehanna Elementary School

The Real Facts About Social Security

The present benefits will not change one cent for current beneficiaries and those new ones under the current age of 55. Liberals who claim it will affect benefits of current recipients are trying to frighten gullible older folks into believing their benefits were about to go down drastically and they should blindly follow these people like lemmings into the sea of big brother government. If the current plan were so safe, why wasn’t it adopted by members of Congress as well as their staffs who all have private accounts. These people have rejected Social Security in its present state in favor of private accounts, which are growing at much greater rates.

For the past 20 years, Social Security has collected more in taxes than it has paid in benefits. But the extra money hasn't been set aside for your retirement – it's been spent. When the government ran deficits, as it did for most of these years, the Social Security "surplus" was spent on other government programs. When the overall budget began running surpluses in 1998, these funds went toward paying down the national debt. During this same period the stock market has gone from 600 to over 10,000.

So what's in the Social Security "trust fund"? Special government bonds that function, basically, as IOUs. When Social Security starts running deficits, as it's projected to do beginning in 2016, it will have to start redeeming those IOUs.

By 2021, according to current projections, the government will have to redeem some $100 billion a year in IOUs (in today's dollars without inflation) to pay promised benefits. By 2026, the price tag will reach more than $200 billion a year. By 2031, it will exceed $300 billion annually. And by 2038, the "trust fund" will run out of "money" completely.

Of course, federal lawmakers won’t allow that to happen. But to keep paying current retirees, they’ll have no choice but to hike taxes, slash benefits, or legislate another delay in the retirement age.

Yet there is another choice. President Bush's Social Security commission, chaired by Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, D-NY, recommended personal retirement accounts that would let workers build up true nest eggs for themselves. Unlike Social Security, these accounts would really exist, with each worker's name affixed to genuine assets that could be passed on to his or her heirs.

This coincides with the original, stated intent to convert to privately owned accounts not under the control of the government as described by Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Another voice as recently as last week, Alan Greenspan, Chairman of the Federal Reserve agreed with the principle of privatization. Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention some others who recently expressed the same thoughts, namely Bill Clinton and the Senate Minority leader Reid. Shall I go on?

We'll no doubt be hearing a lot in the future about the prospect of setting up such accounts, and reasonable people can disagree about how they should be structured. But before we get to that stage, we have to jettison this fiction that Social Security has a real-world trust fund that must be protected if the program is to survive.

Indeed, it is that misperception, and not the president's budget, that "undermines the security of the nation's social safety net," as The New York Times puts it. For it allows Congress to think that reform efforts can be safely postponed. They can't. And the sooner we recognize the "trust fund" for what it is, the sooner we can start having an honest debate.


Hugo Papp


Why Upset The Child?

On Thursday, February 10, 2005, my grandson got off the school bus crying. The reason for this was the nurse at Elk Lake School had called him down to her office, because he was talking to his sisters at lunch. There is a custody hearing set for this. My husband and I went to Elk Lake School to talk to the principal, Mr. Pirone. When we got there he showed us to a room with the school nurse, Mrs. Nasser, and the guidance counselor. Mrs. Nasser told my husband and I that she had gotten a call from Children and Youth, in Montrose, about my grandson talking to his sisters, and called him to her office. She asked him personal questions, which was none of her business. She also told him not to talk to his sisters, because it might upset them, which is hard to believe. She also scared him by telling him that she didn’t want to get the principal involved in this. She and Mr. Pirone told my husband and I that she (Mrs. Nasser) was a liaison for Children and Youth, and that the supervisor had called her and told her to talk to my grandson. My husband and I were quite disgusted with this whole episode. In my opinion, something is wrong with this picture.

I wonder if the taxpayers of the Elk Lake School District know this? Also, who exactly does the nurse work for, Children and Youth, or Elk Lake School District? I’m also curious as to who made the call to Children and Youth, since according to Mrs. Nasser, my grandson was talking to his sisters at or about a little after noon, and she told us that she got the call from the supervisor about 2:10 p.m. that afternoon. I asked her who gave her permission to talk to my grandson, since my husband and I have custody of him? To that we got no answer. I also asked her why I wasn’t called about this, since it was so important that the supervisor of Children and Youth called her? Again, no answer.

Maybe, as concerned parents and taxpayers of Elk Lake School District you should all be asking if this could happen to your child? I was under the mistaken impression that it had to be the parents that got reported to Children and Youth, not an eight-year old little boy.

I hope you print this because, I think the public has a right to know exactly what goes on in our schools.


Jean Herman

Laceyville, PA


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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.

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