Letters to the Editor

February 27, 2009

Why can't we tap into the wisdom of the aged?

To the editor:

Are adults smarter than fifth-graders? Not all of them. The level of intelligence rises from birth until the onset of puberty. It remains there on a plateau until the age of 80 where it resumes the rapid rise. (It should be noted here that I am 85). In the intervening time, we may acquire great amounts of knowledge, but acquisition has little to do with what we do with that knowledge.

My younger brothers, when in the fourth and fifth grades, were smart enough to have one of our parents witness and approve the transaction before they would lend me a part of their allowance.

Contrast that with 60-year-old economic professors possessing multiple degrees who have been unable to instill in their students an awareness of signs that point to stupid financial procedures. Great emphasis is placed on college education as a panacea.


It is just a guess, but the largest percentage of buyers of homes that were expected to forever increase in value may have also possessed degrees.

The answer to the current situation is obvious. Barack O. should encourage the House and Senate members to severely reduce their current advisors and recruit their grandparents as replacements. It is in the nursing homes and retirement villages where wisdom is concentrated. There reside those who, before attaining true common sense, committed the same dumb mistakes being made now. That experience should make them more than qualified to edit the bills that will make or break the economy.

The current thinking, as I understand it, is to incorporate a program that enables homebuyers to retain homes that, even if paid for, have higher taxes and maintenance costs that can'tbe met unless the buyer's income increases dramatically.

This is not likely to happen for someone that could not do the basic math involved in borrowing as it relates to income or is nave in the art of speculation.

There is a theory called the Peter Principle, in which people are promoted until they reach the level just above where they are best qualified, meaning that if everyone stepped down one level, the system would be better served.

After World War II, vast numbers of affordable homes were built and financed under the GI Bill. These are not mansions but have served generations of families very well and continue to do so. Would such a program work again? Could a reservoir of cheap homes create a "trickle-down" in which people would be content to live where they could not only afford to keep the home but would have extra funds to spend on quality activities, health and education? Is the Peter Principle so entrenched that we sacrifice common sense in the effort to not only keep up with the Joneses but surpass them? Or was it the urge for wealth that fueled the progress gained since man began?

I don't have a clue. But out there somewhere is a grandparent who does.

F. Burkett

A crucial shortage

To the editor:

What is the most crucial decision you have made today? How to successfully complete a school or work project? Maybe the best way to juggle the family budget? Perhaps what to do about a troubled teen or an elderly parent in declining health? All are unquestionably important decisions.

What if you had to decide which patients should receive the limited blood supplies in the hospital blood bank?

When supplies are critically low, as in the case of Type O negative and B negative blood following the holiday season, this possible life-or-death question might not be as far-fetched as you might think.

Type O negative blood is the universal blood type and can be transfused to any patient in an emergency. Yet just 7 percent of the population has Type O negative blood - and they must receive Type O negative blood if they need a transfusion.

Every two seconds, someone in our country needs a blood transfusion. And too many among us assume that adequate blood supplies will always be there when we or someone we love needs a transfusion. This can only happen with the community's support.

Although eight out of 20 people might be eligible to donate blood, only one in 20 actually donates each year. Of those who donate, most give just once a year. Yet many can donate blood every 56 days.

We urge you to make the vitally important decision to help patients in need by donating blood.

For information, call 1-800 GIVE LIFE or visit

James E. Starr, CEO
American Red Cross
Blood Services
Greater Alleghenies Region

Slope gets slicker

To the editor:

The buzz word in 2008 was change. "We the people" need a change. Change is exactly what you will be getting over the next four years. You will see a dramatic bend toward "inclusivism," which contends that every religion and cult possesses qualities equal or superior to Christianity.

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