Letters to the editor
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Seniors have earned the benefits they receive
The March 26 letter "Be Thankful for All These Benefits," directed toward seniors, listed stuff such as Medicare, Social Security, free bus fare, discounts on movies and plays, property tax rebates and senior centers (complete with meals).
Well, I am grateful for all those things. But, unlike the vast majority of Americans, who have been brainwashed by right-wing propaganda, I don't consider those things to be charity, given to us by a generous younger population. From my perspective, they are our just rewards for years of work helping build the vast economy that our generation has created and is now handing over to the young guys. Far from being a burden on them, we made it possible for them to get where they are.
We worked for 40 or 50 years, at jobs that were frequently soul-killing, and during the time that we worked, the economy grew by trillions of dollars. Could it have done so without our labor? Of course not. Does the "sweat equity" that we invested in that economy entitle us to dividends? Of course it does.
Some people invested in stocks and bonds and are now getting dividends. We invested our labor and should be getting dividends. The only thing needed to "fix" Social Security is to look past the smoke that's being blown in our faces and realize that, in all fairness, the benefits seniors get should not be taken out of the hides of the younger working stiffs but, rather, out of the profits reaped by this multitrillion-dollar economy we worked so hard, for so long, to help create.
PAUL A. ALTER
Do pet homework
Regarding the Petland lawsuit ("Lawsuit Claims Petland Sells Pets From Puppy Mills," March 18): From my years of heading up a nonprofit animal welfare organization, I have some advice to people interested in adopting pets: Do your homework about the realities of owning a pet and never let your children talk you into acquiring a pet -- they have only a partial concept of what it means to own a pet.
Once you've decided to make the commitment to own a pet and you've researched what species or breed would be best for your family, the most important word is "reputable."
You can adopt or rescue a pet by going to a shelter or looking online at petfinder.com, but make sure it's a reputable shelter or rescue group, i.e., one that has a solid history and makes you fill out an application and sign a contract.
Another good option: Buy from a reputable breeder.
Key points to look for: They will never sell their litters to pet stores, offer to meet you at a convenience store to give you your puppy, breed their dog too early or give you the puppy until it is at least 8 weeks old. They will interview you with even more questions than you have for them, introduce you to the puppy's parent (not just show you a photo) and always make you sign a contract.
If no one buys live animals from pet stores, they will have to stop selling them, and puppy mills will have no one for whom to overbreed and misbreed their dogs.
The Reagan way
I can't with any degree of certainty tell Frederick Rokasky ("Reagan Roots," March 30 letters) what former President Reagan would have done to solve our present financial disaster.
However, I can say that he wouldn't have proposed "to add more to the national debt than the first 43 presidents combined, doubling it in the next six years, and tripling it within the decade," which are statistics cited by National Review columnist Mark Steyn. And he wouldn't have endorsed increasing federal spending this year to "28.5 percent of GDP, the highest level ever, with the exception of the peak of the Second World War," also information cited by Mr. Steyn.
Mr. Reagan said that growth, prosperity and human fulfillment are created from the bottom up, not from the government down. He believed that only when the human spirit is allowed to invent and create, and only when individuals are given a personal stake in deciding economic policies and benefiting from their success, can societies remain economically alive, dynamic and free.
Why the resistance?
Regarding groups that are opposed to a requirement to show photo ID for voting ("Groups Announce Opposition to Voter ID Requirement," March 18 Web): I'm sorry but in this day and age if you can't be responsible enough to get yourself a photo ID, then you should not be voting.
Voting is an important responsibility for those who choose to do so in this country.
Beyond this, without a photo ID how are these people even able to open a bank account, let alone write a check? If they are on some kind of assistance, whether it is welfare or Social Security, would you not need this same photo ID to receive these benefits?
Why are these groups opposed to a measure that could thwart voter fraud?
It is a waste of taxpayer money to take this to court (which is where it will inevitably wind up).
You do not need to have a driver's license to have a photo ID in this state. Get your ID, and let your voice be heard.
PAUL CELLA JR.
GOP is first for him
Regarding "Specter to Deliver Key Vote Against Unions" (March 25): At a time when the economy is on the ropes and the working man is being ruined, I thought Sen. Arlen Specter would move toward the center to level the playing field. I was wrong.
Sen. Specter has shown me that the Republican Party comes first, corporate America is second and the middle-class/working man is a very distant third. Shame on you, Mr. Specter. We will remember this come election time!
In the midst of AIG bonus fury and budget woes, most Americans missed a small but important day last week; March 25 was declared "Back Up Your Birth Control Day" by Planned Parenthood. The day was designed to bring focus to emergency contraception and how women can get EC over the counter.
When the jobless rate is sky high and many Americans are losing their homes, it's important to take the steps necessary to reduce unintended pregnancies. EC works like any birth control -- only it has a much longer period of effectiveness, 120 hours after unprotected sex. The pill does not harm the woman or child if she has already become pregnant -- it's not an abortion. But it does provide a window of protection if other birth-control methods failed.
This event was highly publicized on social networking sites like Facebook through member involvement. But I saw no mention of it in mainstream media -- which isn't shocking. The Internet is how my generation communicates and gets things accomplished. Remember the election?
The writer is a social work student at Chatham University.
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First Published April 4, 2009 12:00 am