Plan to scrap it
Rep. Simmons observed that if there are no changes and Social Security goes belly-up in 2042, "I will be dead by then" ("Dealer's choice," Feb. 19). Thanks a lot. I just had my 17th birthday and am totally disgusted with Social Security. While I applaud President Bush for trying to restore more control over the system to the people, I can't help but wish it were possible to scrap the whole thing. We can't just stop it, because too many people depend on it, but we should begin a plan to stop it.
-Lita Harman; Enon, Ohio
I believe you were much too kind in using the word borrowed to describe what Congress did with the Social Security Trust Fund. If a common citizen or private company tried to do that, he would be facing some lengthy time in the nearest penal institution.
-Marc Hanneman; Wheatland, Wyo.
According to my records, I paid about $20,000 into the Social Security system and in the past 19 years have received $205,000 in benefits. If I live another 10 years (forgive me for doing so), I'll receive another $150,000. Of course, I started paying when I was earning $14 per week.
-William Messinger; Whiting, N.J.
If our senators and congressmen would have kept their greedy fingers off our trust fund, we could depend on it. Don't they realize that when they "borrow" from it, they steal from some constituents to bribe others? Their rude day of awakening will come sooner than they realize.
-Mildred C. Plumley; Denton, Md.
WORLD does not mention the option of gradually eliminating this pyramid scheme. Is it too optimistic to think that, if they had to plan for their own retirement, most people would manage their resources better than the government does? Or that the few who wouldn't would be taken care of through the voluntary contributions of church and family?
-Claudia LeBoeuf; Ellicott City, Md.
If we had not aborted millions of babies over the past few years, there would be millions more workers paying into Social Security. When we allowed those babies to be sacrificed on the altar of "personal choice," we forfeited our future.
-Dwight Call; Cedar Vale, Kan.
State of wealth
I'm a conservative who doesn't believe that "there's a virtually endless supply of every commodity and resource" ("Let there be wealth," Feb. 19). That attitude has often encouraged waste. Wealth, which is as much a state of mind as it is an amount of money, does not have the physical limits of finite resources such as oil, natural gas, land, and water. If we judiciously manage the measured supply of God's earthly gifts, we will best "unleash the enormous productivity that has been built into everything around us." That approach is both optimistic and realistic.
-Michael DuMez; Oostburg, Wis.
Joel Belz is right-on regarding President Bush's plan for private investments in the Social Security fund. Especially enlightening is the fact that federal employees, including congressmen, have had such a plan since 1984, enjoying an average annual return of 12.1 percent. Compare that to the paltry 2 percent from Social Security. Moreover, increased incomes from private accounts will generate more tax revenues, helping to keep Social Security solvent and repay government loans. In the long run, it's a win-win-win situation for all.
-Bob McDuell; Rogers, Ark.
I found it interesting that you discussed immigration ("A tough test of citizenship," Feb. 19) in the same issue that you discuss our Social Security dilemma. Has anyone studied the possible positive effect of opening our borders to a large number of young immigrants as a funding solution for Social Security? What better way to get politicians to enact far-reaching social change than to show that it helps everybody's pocketbooks?
-Nancy Matarrita; Pomona, Calif.
Andree Seu's "Eating as entertainment" (Feb. 19) was music to my ears. The first time I taught a church-wide fitness and health seminar in 1998, I used the gasoline-in-your-car analogy: You wouldn't put junk into your gas tank, why would you put junk in your body? Those in my congregation reacted like I was speaking in a foreign language.
-Jinny Brow; Springfield, Va.
"Eating for pleasure" is not necessarily incompatible with "eating for life." God gives us richly all things to enjoy, as shown by the many God-approved feasts in ancient Israel. Also, Mrs. Seu only touched on the real problem: a nation as undisciplined in its eating habits as it is in all of life. Your review of French Women Don't Get Fat (Bestselling Books, Feb. 19) contains a better perspective: "Eat smaller portions. . . . Buy fresh ingredients and cook for flavor." And, I might add, enjoy your meal without guilt.
-Bill Horner; Princess Anne, Md.
They know now
My 22-year-old sister presented the shocking statistics about African-Americans and abortion in her community college's African-American studies class (she was the only white student; the assigned topic: "something that enrages you"). She heard several voices, most male, mumbling, "I never knew." I made a copy of your article ("Abortion by race," Feb. 19) to show her class.
-Brenda Griffith; Vista, Calif.
How ironic that Dr. Sternberg, "a Catholic with questions," should be railroaded out of the scientific church by the raw authority of the Darwinists who tolerate no dialogue with the heresy of Intelligent Design ("Science's new heresy trial," Feb. 19). The parallel with Dr. Luther, another Catholic with questions, is uncanny. At Worms, in reply to Luther's simple appeal that his errors be proven by plain reason (and Scripture), papal representative Girolamo Aleandro pontificated: "You will not draw into doubt those things which the Catholic Church has judged already, things that have passed into usage, rite, and observance. . . . You wait in vain for a disputation over things you are obligated to believe." The abuse and suppression of knowledge by the Holy Darwin Church make it long overdue for a Reformation.
-Layton Talbert; Travelers Rest, S.C.
I have been in the sciences for over 30 years and see the prejudice against design and for Darwinism all of the time. I rarely see the censorship you describe, but then I rarely see someone make a stand for Intelligent Design as Dr. Meyer has.
-Steve Shive; White Hall, Md.
Far from reality
I disagree with your review of NCIS and your comparison to JAG ("Naval gazing," Feb. 19). I am a retired Army Criminal Investigator (CID) and rarely watch JAG because it is so far from reality (lawyers don't investigate the crimes), and I prefer the characters on NCIS.
-Bob Newman; Sierra Vista, Ariz.
What an incredible example these couples' stories have been to us younger married folks ("Lasting love," Feb. 12). Blessings do come from commitment.
-Todd W. Taylor; Victorville, Calif.
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