Letters

Letters 02-08-2016

Less Ageism, Please The January 4 issue of this publication proved to me that there are some sensible voices of reason in our community regarding all things “inter-generational.” I offer a word of thanks to Elizabeth Myers. I too have worked hard for what I’ve earned throughout my years in the various positions I’ve held. While I too cannot speak for each millennial, brash generalizations about a lack of work ethic don’t sit well with me...Joe Connolly, Traverse City

Now That’s an Escalation I just read the letter from Greg and his defense of the AR15. The letter started with great information but then out of nowhere his opinion went off the rails. “The government wants total gun control and then confiscation; then the elimination of all Constitutional rights.” Wait... what?! To quote the great Ron Burgundy, “Well, that escalated quickly!”

Healthy Eating and Exercise for Children Healthy foods and exercise are important for children of all ages. It is important for children because it empowers them to do their best at school and be able to do their homework and study...

Mascots and Harsh Native American Truths The letter from the Choctaw lady deserves an answer. I have had a gutful of the whining about the fate of the American Indian. The American Indians were the losers in an imperial expansion; as such, they have, overall, fared much better than a lot of such losers throughout history. Everything the lady complains about in the way of what was done by the nasty, evil Whites was being done by Indians to other Indians long before Europeans arrived...

Snyder Must Go I believe it’s time. It’s time for Governor Snyder to go. The FBI, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the EPA Criminal Investigation Division are now investigating the Flint water crisis that poisoned thousands of people. Governor Snyder signed the legislation that established the Emergency Manager law. Since its inception it has proven to be a dismal failure...

Erosion of Public Trust Let’s look at how we’ve been experiencing global warming. Between 1979 and 2013, increases in temperature and wind speeds along with more rain-free days have combined to stretch fire seasons worldwide by 20 percent. In the U.S., the fire seasons are 78 days longer than in the 1970s...

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The Battle over Social Security

George Foster - February 10th, 2005
Thank God for the troops. Expect to hear very soon from our seasoned soldiers, marching shoulder to shoulder. These veterans will fight to the bitter end to keep what they believe is rightfully theirs.
AARP, the largest senior lobby group in the world with 35 million members, is ready to confront politicians with every weapon in their arsenal in order to keep our Social Security system from being cannibalized by Wall Street profiteers. George W. Bush’s plan for a partial privatization of Social Security is the centerpiece in his bid to promote an ownership society in America.
I have to admit to being initially intrigued with the idea of investing some of the social security withholding that I fork over to Uncle Sam with every paycheck. Why not allow participants in the system to invest some of the money? After all, Social Security withholding is our hard-earned cash, right?
But wait a minute. As was outlined by an opinion piece in the Northern Express
Weekly issue of 1/20/05, Social Security should be considered an insurance account, not a retirement fund. 70 years ago our country committed itself to institutionalizing a system that would guarantee monthly income for senior citizens. Social Security was never intended to be a retirement plan that an American citizen could rely upon to live comfortably. It was meant to be a survival package.
When politicians focus on Social Security as the big crises in our economy, they are simply wrong. The system has periodically needed adjustments over the years and might need another one soon. The real question is: do we want a safety net for our retired citizens or don’t we?
7.65% of our earnings (up to $90,000 of wages for 2005) is a small price to pay to ensure that our elderly are guaranteed some monthly income and medical care benefits. Besides, who do you think pays for older people who are left with nothing? We taxpayers always end up with the bill, anyway.
Do you really trust a bunch of rich politicians, who regard future social security benefits to be laughable compared to the rest of their investment portfolios, to decide this issue? Whether they are Republicans or Democrats, they don’t have a clue how critical Social Security is to the little guy. As a result, AARP should be very suspicious when millionaires tell us they have the ultimate solution for senior citizens. Especially when that solution is to take money out of the system.
Social Security is not even the big problem – funding issues can and will be resolved. Retirement planning, or lack thereof, is the immediate crisis we should be focused on. Admit it – chances are you haven’t given much thought to retirement savings. Most of us are just struggling to stay alive day-to-day, right?
Well, join the group. Americans can’t or refuse to save money and it is stifling our economy and the retirement prospects of our citizens. Europeans save 20% of their gross domestic product, Japan 25%, and China a whopping 50% of GDP. By contract, the average household in the U.S. saves .8% (not 8%) of their household income. .8 of 1% equates to $240 annually saved for every wage earner of $30,000. As a result, we have become a nation that only knows the mindset of “borrow and spend.”
What we really need is for politicians to take the restrictions off actual retirement accounts. Beginning in 2005, only $4000 can generally be put into individual retirement accounts (IRA’s) on a tax-free basis. Whoop-de-do, that is $333 per month maximum. With the lack of savings and retirement accounts being such a huge problem in this country, why not allow $10,000 annually? Better yet, if we instituted unlimited tax-free contributions, the amount of consumer savings would grow exponentially.
Before we gut Social Security, let’s listen to what the seniors have to say. They know there is no reason why we can’t retain our Social Security safety net and do more to encourage Americans to save for their own retirement.


 
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