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Letters to the Editor

April 23, 2010

Political leaders' math just doesn't add up



To the editor:

Yesterday, we had Medicare and Social Security. Today, health care has been added.

Our political leaders tell us this last entitlement program will actually reduce our nation's debt over time providing, of course, their 20-year projections are reasonably accurate. These same folks tell us that Social Security is fixable with a few tweaks here and there.

Can we trust their judgment? Consider this factual scenario.

Since 1950, my first year of employment, through 1998, my last, I estimate my employers and I each contributed about $55,000 in Social Security taxes on my lifetime earnings. Now, if the government had kept those funds, even conservatively invested them, I suspect my retirement benefits would have been adequately financed. Alas, that was not the case.

Subsequently, since 1998, today's workers have not only returned to me the entire $110,000, but added another $68,000. I am now 76 and in decent health. If I live to be 84 as projected, I can anticipate another $134,000.

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We must also consider that my surviving spouse, who is much younger than I, could conceivably receive a full 20 years of 50 percent of my retirement benefit, or an additional $126,000.

In summation, our political leaders suggest that my original $55,000 Social Security investment entitles me to $438,000 in future benefits with a little tweaking here and there. Are the realities of your entitlement debt simply too overwhelming for them to grasp? Certainly, they are too dangerous to their future employment should they be required to confront them.

Our only recourse is to note each and every one to defeat, and then limit all future congressional positions to one term only. Perhaps then, we can expect those seeking office to do so for the privilege of serving the nation's people and realistically addressing our future indebtedness.

Ron Gerhart
Mercersburg, Pa.




Days are lessons in hope and understanding



To the editor:

The Jewish community in Hagerstown, and indeed the world over, is remembering Yom Ha-Shoah, the time in 1945 when the concentration camps in Germany were liberated by the Allied armies and the world became aware of the walking skeletons, the survivors, as well as the bodies stacked like cordwood who did not outlive the savagery of a people taught to hate and murder those who were different.

The aged, dwindling liberators recently were in Washington to remember the horrific sights they saw as 20-year-old soldiers who then realized what they were fighting for.

Next we will celebrate the creation of the only democratic country in the Middle East, Israel, made up of the remnants of the survivors, and who succeeded, despite being surrounded by enemies, to build a nation proud and strong and a model in the sciences, medicine, the arts and agriculture.

Both days are a lesson in hope and understanding.

Jeanne B. Jacobs
Hagerstown

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