E-mail letters, Aug. 2, 2010

McInnis displays his
disinterest in reading

I’m writing regarding a Colorado Matters interview with gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis that aired July 28 on the mid-morning show.

McInnis spoke about education, stressing the need for teachers to regain control of the classroom. He was not referring to curriculum or testing, but rather to discipline. He explained that his sister, an educator, shared with him that she is only able to teach to the level and attention span of the least well-behaved student in her classroom.

That being said, the interviewer moved on to a question about books that may have inspired
McInnis’ worldview. After what seemed like a long pause, the interviewer rephrased the question to explain what he meant by world view. The gubernatorial candidate hesitated again then answered that “Seabiscuit,” citing the movie, had been inspiring because of its portrayal of working-class Americans rising to the top. When the interviewer pressed McInnis on the fact that he was speaking of a movie and not a book, McInnis recanted saying that he was “not an academic.”

And this is just one example of a long list of offensive behaviors by all four Colorado candidates. When our politicians speak of education, but don’t read books, I suppose we are left to vote for the candidate who is the least offensive or the most well-behaved. What else are voters to do when none of the four candidates put forth are truly leaders fit to govern?
Betsy Warner
Grand Junction

Common sense absent
in recent spending bills

Have we lost all common sense? The CBO estimates that it costs $754 in ethanol subsidies to cut carbon emissions by one metric ton. Compare this to the estimate by Congress of a cost of $26 a ton by 2019. What a colossal waste of money to pay 30 times the congressional estimate for an unproven benefit, especially since ethanol production pollutes our streams with phosphates, and increases the cost of food.

Last year the Obama stimulus package gave $8 billion to help construct fast rail corridors to reduce auto traffic.  Most corridors will be on existing freight lines.  In a normal economy these lines cannot keep up with current demand.  Are we trying to remove 100,000 cars from the highways and replace them with 1,000,000 trucks?  According to “The Economist” American freight trains are the most efficient in the world having reduced rates by 55% since 1981.  We can change all of this, of course, by going green.

Obamacare mandates 159 new programs and bureaucracies with thousands upon thousands of additional federal workers who will tell us what we can and cannot do.  With luck you might get a treatment plan before you die.
And look at the job picture. The stimulus was supposed to prevent the unemployment rate from exceeding 8 percent, but now we are told that it will remain near 10 percent for another year or two.  The minimum wage was increased to help those who are entering the work force.  This has contributed to the high unemployment rate for America’s black youth, in June 39.9 percent, and for all teens, 25.7 percent.

Who was it that said, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help’ ”?
Bruce Taylor
Grand Junction

There’s no crisis and no need
to cut Social Security

It’s been said that Social Security is in real trouble. There are several articles in various news magazines, newspapers and Internet blogs that imply otherwise. Some of these sources are:  Washington Post, Move On, Center for Economic and Policy Research, Economic and Policy Institute, Social Security Administration, just to name a few.

Myth No. 1: Social Security is going broke.
Reality: There is no Social Security crisis. By 2023, Social Security will have a $4.6 trillion surplus (yes, trillion with a ‘T’).  It can pay out all scheduled benefits for the next quarter-century with no changes whatsoever.  After 2037, it’ll still be able to pay out 75 percent of scheduled benefits — and again, that’s without any changes. The program started preparing for the Baby Boomers’ retirement decades ago.
Myth No. 2: We have to raise the retirement age because people are living longer.
Reality: This is a red-herring to trick you into agreeing to benefit cuts. Retirees are living about the same amount of time as they were in the 1930s. The reason average life expectancy is higher is mostly because many fewer people die as children than they did 70 years ago.  What’s more, what gains there have been are distributed very unevenly — since 1972, life expectancy increased by 6.5 years for workers in the top half of the income brackets, but by less than 2 years for those in the bottom half.  But those intent on cutting Social Security love this argument because raising the retirement age is the same as an across-the-board benefit cut.
Myth No. 3: Benefit cuts are the only way to fix Social Security. 
Reality: Social Security doesn’t need to be fixed. But if we want to strengthen it, here’s a better way: Make the rich pay their fair share. If the very rich paid taxes on all of their income, Social Security would be sustainable for decades to come.  Right now, high earners only pay Social Security taxes on the first $106,000 of their income.  But conservatives insist benefit cuts are the only way because they want to protect the super-rich from paying their fair share.
Myth No. 4: The Social Security Trust Fund has been raided and is full of IOUs
Reality: Not even close to true. The Social Security Trust Fund isn’t full of IOUs, it’s full of U.S. Treasury Bonds. And those bonds are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States.  The reason Social Security holds only treasury bonds is the same reason many Americans do: The federal government has never missed a single interest payment on its debts. President Bush wanted to put Social Security funds in the stock market — which would have been disastrous —but luckily, he failed. So the trillions of dollars in the Social Security Trust Fund, which are separate from the regular budget, are as safe as can be.
Myth No. 5: Social Security adds to the deficit
Reality: It’s not just wrong — it’s impossible!  By law, Social Security’s funds are separate from the budget, and it must pay its own way. That means that Social Security can’t add one penny to the deficit.
So lets not hear any more about cutting Social Security.  I need every penny of the $143 I receive every month.
Wayne Flick
Grand Junction



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