Bankers could learn from public pensions

To the editor:

I did not know the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce was the final say in public budget prioritizing (“Rule to alter public employee pensions,” Saturday Review-Journal). I find it ironic that as an investment banker and the chamber’s government affairs chairman, Hugh Anderson is endorsing federal meddling, speculating on long-term “risks” and beating the drum of federal bureaucratic reform.

This position is laughable. Public pension plans, which are not in jeopardy and need no federal help, have historically managed risk very well (they legally prohibit speculative investments) and are actuarially sound. It is hard to seriously consider Mr. Anderson’s talk of reform and of the long-term viability of the public pensions being at risk. After all, it is Mr. Anderson’s own industry incompetence and disregard for assessing risks, and Wall Street’s goals of greed and pecuniary self-interest, which is causing the worst financial stink since 1929.

Instead of the Chamber of Commerce and Mr. Anderson of the distress-sold Merrill Lynch, telling us why Big Brother needs to interfere with state pension funds, break contractual obligations with 20 million public employees and trample on numerous state constitutions, maybe they should first get their houses in order. If not, they can put up their money and save taxpayers a bundle.

Now is a really bad time to compare the stewardship of public pension funds with those of private investment funds. One has been conscientious, mature and responsible to its shareholders; the other has been speculative, short-sighted, and financially irresponsible. The argument is really hollow, and I question the motives of the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce.

Mike Hayes


Safeguards needed

To the editor:

Some call it a bailout, others see it as refilling the cookie jar. I can sense the salivating at the thought of a $700 billion check being handed over to the banks.

Those same people who took the cookies before are sitting in their mansions, trying to figure out how to do it again. So, the big question is, who is going to monitor this huge stash of cash? Where are the safeguards? Who’s going to protect the taxpayers from the bad guys who got us into this mess in the first place?

Am I paranoid? Yes, I am. However, I prefer to think of it as being realistic.

Larry Bardell


Corporate evils

To the editor:

If there were ever a question of where politicians’ interests lie, well, it’s been put to rest — half a trillion dollars to bail out the people who caused the problem. Their fortunes are saved, and those of the American people are mortgaged forever. And they didn’t even get to read the fine print.

Who do we get to thank for this corporate largess? Why, the corporate politicians we voted for.

Don’t forget to vote.

William J. Bostick


How to pay the bill

To the editor:

The solution to paying off the national debt and ending the U.S. economic crisis is simple: end the failed drug war, legalize drugs and tax the hell out of them.

The tax rate should be 100 percent, with 50 percent of the revenues going to the Treasury, 25 percent going to drug abuse education and treatment and 25 percent going to our schools. By ending the prohibition, we can take the money out of these morality crimes and funnel that newfound wealth into something beneficial to all of our citizens.

J. Collier


Bilingual boondoggle

To the editor:

I almost couldn’t believe what I was reading in the Sept. 17 edition of the Review-Journal, mostly because it was in English: “Report says instruction in English lags.”

My memory may be fading, but wasn’t it about 15 years ago when there was an outcry over all the Spanish signs, translation services, and Spanish students wanting to learn in Spanish. Anyone who cried “English only” was either a racist or a bigot.

Now Hispanics can live full lives in neighborhoods where all business and community activities can be done in Spanish. Where all municipal services are in Spanish. Any merchandise or services one may need in daily life are available in Spanish. Right here in Las Vegas, if you didn’t speak Spanish, you could not get around many communities.

In order to offend no one, we catered to every need and demand.

And now, let me get this straight, we need to spend more money to teach English?

Rick Byrd


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