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Letters to the editor

June 25, 2006

In this case, Medicare Part D made things worse

To the editor:

Please read this letter carefully, as a lot is at stake for many of our older citizens.

I am referring to the terrible stress that many seniors are experiencing because of the confusing government program known as Medicare Part D.

What has been touted as a beneficial program designed to save seniors money on their prescription drugs is instead a devastating nightmare that has resulted in seniors paying more than they can afford for their medication.

For example, I have a dear friend who is forced to do without some of her medication and who can no longer buy sufficient food to maintain a healthy diet. She simply doesn't have enough money.

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My friend is a diabetic and has numerous other serious health problems, some of which are stress-related. As a result, she is seeing many doctors, not by choice, but by necessity.

She is so distraught over the confusing misinformation and over her inability to pay for her meds and other necessities, that she does not know what to do.

Prior to enrolling in Medicare Part D, she was getting most of her meds free from Med Bank. Now, this service is no longer available to her.

Please take note: My friend is not a freeloader. She has always tried to take care of her needs. However, due to her desperate financial situation, she needs all the help she can get.

For example, her income is barely above the poverty level. Her rent alone is well above 50 percent of her available income. In addition, due to her many physical and emotional problems, she has to take an incredible amount of medication. She is desperate and at her wits end.

To make a long story short, she is worse off with Medicare Part D.

I sincerely hope that you will publish this letter and that it will encourage other seniors to speak out.

Iva Rannells
Hagerstown




Tax cuts consolidate most wealth at the top

To the editor:

Congratulations to those senators who voted down the bill to revoke the inheritance tax. This is another Bush initiative to make the rich richer and the poor poorer. Keep these points in mind for the coming election.

1. A news release some months ago reported that, for the first time in this country, 50 percent of the wealth is owned by less than 20 percent of the population - proof that the rich get rich and the poor get poorer.

2. The federal inheritance tax applies only to estates of $1 million or more, and does not apply to the first $1 million.

3. These estates were created to a considerable degree by the tremendous tax cuts during the Bush administration on top of the tax shelters that can only be enjoyed by the rich.

4. If the trend of the rich getting richer continues, eventually, 90 percent of the wealth of this country will be owned by 10 percent of the population. The middle class will be eliminated and most of the country will live in poverty, just as in Mexico and other Latin American countries.

5. George Bush was wrong when he said the tax cuts would help the economy. Over 90 percent of the cuts went to the wealthy who already had the resources to buy what they wanted. The tax cuts went into investments, including land. The economy is riding on $9 trillion of borrowed dollars that will have to be paid back by future generations. The appearance of prosperity is an illusion fostered by a war economy.

6. The cracks are already showing in the economy. When the federal discount rate rose to 5 percent in May, the stock market reacted to show its concern and subsequent news from the Federal Reserve that an increase of .25 percent to .50 percent in the rate in July has caused Wall Street jitters that has sent current Dow-Jones Index plunging.

7. When the Federal Reserve meets the latter part of July, it will be between a rock and a hard place. If it raises the interest rates again, the stock market will continue its plunge. A current check on inflation shows latest figures indicate a 2 percent rise. Any continuation of increasing inflation will devaluate the dollar, and gasoline and groceries will go higher. So what will the feds do - increase the interest rate and watch the stocks fall, or avoid an increase in interest and let inflation continue to rise?

Your guess is as good as mine, but I suspect they will compromise with a .25 percent increase instead of .50 percent increase and hope the stocks will not plunge too fast, and at the same time slow inflation. Good luck to them. Both high interest rates and stock market drops usually result in recession.

8. In the coming election, keep in mind that any tax reductions will only make things worse. Tell your representatives and senators in Congress, no more tax cuts for the rich.

William F. Jones
Williamsport

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