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Issue Home March 29, 2005 Site Home

Letters to the Editor Policy

Don’t Be Fooled!

I was pleased to learn that someone locally was paying attention to the “fabrications” that are currently taking place regarding the Social Security Insurance Program. The comments were absolutely accurate regarding the state of the fund. Social Security is stable until the year 2018, at which time benefit withdrawals will start depleting the trust fund. If nothing is done, total depletion of the fund would take place in the year 2052. Regardless of your political affiliation, there is “no immediate crisis” as some would have you believe.

I cannot be harmed by any changes that are made, so I have no ulterior motive to what I am saying, other than to be concerned for future recipients who may suffer financial losses. Losses brought about by politicians who don’t even participate under Social Security, and who, further, cannot even identify with an average worker’s daily struggles just to make ends meet. I have no axe to grind, regardless of what changes may be made, because I fall into the “unaffected” category described by the administration. Whenever I hear politicians discussing the current program it never ceases to amaze me that they gloss over two very important words, “Security” and “Insurance.” Let me apply these very important words, using a hypothetical. Assume a person age 35 and married, has been in the work force for 12 years, and suffers a disabling health problem; one that prevents him/her from ever returning to gainful employment. Under our current system that individual would be “secure,” at least partially, by the receipt of monthly disability checks. Further, if this same individual eventually dies, and has dependent children under age 18, “insured” monthly income checks would continue, assisting the survivors to make transitional changes. What would the proposed program do? Who would complete this individual’s “privatization” program? The answers are very clear and simple, “Nothing” and “No One.” You’re on your own, and the consequences would be financially devastating.

Don’t be fooled by the rhetoric that is being tossed around, by all sides. The simple solution to securing future benefits, is completely uncomplicated.

1. Roll back the proposed permanent tax cuts. Apply 2/3 of the revenue to help reduce the deficit, and designate 1/3 to the Social Security Trust Fund.

2. Raise the payroll tax “cap,” NOT the TAX, from its present $86,000, proposed $96,000, to $250,000. Don’t be fooled that individuals in these brackets would be hurt. The higher the average contribution, the higher benefits at retirement.

These changes, alone would create enough revenue to fund future liability, without making any changes in the current program, with regard to retirement age or benefits. The Trust Fund would be solvent 50-75 years beyond 2052. Furthermore, “personal accounts” could be established, as a supplement, on a purely voluntary basis, giving tax incentives, similar to those currently available through employer sponsored “401K’s” to encourage participation. Taking these simple approaches would insure the continuance of a program that has been the staple for generations in the past, as well as insuring future generations of secured continuation and the expansion of their individual financial independence.

It is your future – pay attention and don’t be fooled!


Mel Gruber

Susquehanna, PA

Parents Should Opt Out

I am writing to voice my concern with the military recruiting in our schools. While I support the troops and the rights of a volunteer military, I do not support the rights of institutionalizing involuntary recruitment practices! Under the No Child Left Behind Legislation, our military is automatically entitled to take students' private information without any form of parental permission! This practice needs to stop and students' information should stay private, for only students, teachers and parents to worry about. There is an opt-out provision in the legislation and I encourage students and parents all over our state to simply send in a basic letter to their schools’ administrators to keep their information private! A sample form can be found at (http://www.militaryfreezone.org/opt_out).


Chris Wescott

Susquehanna, PA

Honk For Peace

Thank you to all who supported our gathering to bring the troops home from Iraq on the two-year anniversary of the war on Saturday, March 19. The thumbs up, "honks for peace," waves, smiles, and appreciative comments (which represented the vast majority of responses) give hope that we as a community and as a country are beginning to realize what a tragic mistake the war is.


Victoria Ross

People for Peace

Susquehanna County Greens

Hop Bottom

We Need To Rise Up

Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell has proposed changing the rules regarding a person’s eligibility for Medicaid. This is the joint federal/state program that pays for long-term nursing home care, after personal funds have been exhausted. The proposed rule change would make eligibility more difficult and save money for the state. Costs have been escalating and the federal government’s portion is being reduced by the Bush administration.

At the same time they are reducing Medicaid payments to the state, that help care for disabled people, the federal government recently decided to usurp states’ rights and interfere with a Florida woman’s right to die. This is just another example of the Republican Party’s agenda to force feed fundamental Christian morality on the nation. Our own Don Sherwood went along with President Bush in voting for this measure.

Whatever happened to the moderate wing of the Republican Party? People who believe in strict separation of church and state, abortion rights, the right to bear arms and the right to die a natural death without medical intervention when all hope of recovery is lost. We need to rise up from the ashes.


Eugene L. Henneforth

Great Bend, PA

Oppose The “Nuclear Option”

Next month the Senate will most likely vote on what the Republicans call the "nuclear option." This is about radical Republicans grasping for absolute power so they can appoint Supreme Court justices that favor corporate interests and an extreme right agenda over the rest of us. I sincerely urge our senators to stand up for the centuries of checks and balances that have made this country great, and oppose the "nuclear option."

Despite Senate confirmation of almost 95% of President Bush's nominees, radical Republicans are threatening to eliminate the filibuster to gain complete control over the Supreme Court. They want to use the Court to pay back big donors by rolling back worker protections, environmental laws, and privacy rights – all at our expense.

This is not a partisan issue. Ultimately you don’t even have to oppose President Bush's judges to oppose the "nuclear option." This is about supporting checks and balances and opposing absolute power in the hands of one party. And that's something we can all agree on.


Steven Jablonowski

Montrose, 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.

Thank you, Susquehanna County Transcript

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