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LETTERS: Federal government is next Detroit

To the editor:

What happened in Detroit can and will happen elsewhere, even at the federal level of U.S. government. When financial commitments have been pushed beyond the limits of realistic boundaries, insolvency and bankruptcy will eventually come. It’s only a matter of time.

Trust, promises, beliefs, good faith, guarantees, moral duty — these are simply not enough at times. Most of us have learned that you can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip. When you promise or demand more than you know is realistically affordable, it’s past time to wise up and realize that you can only expect what is actually available, and nothing more. Indemnities and guarantees can be worth less than the paper they are written on. It’s up to each of us to do the math, look around and assess what’s really happening.

Detroit teaches us that limits always exist. Does the federal government have a duty to bail out Detroit and these workers’ pensions? And where does that money come from? How much more of that do we think there is, and what next, when that money is all gone? Our nation is $17 trillion in debt, with tax-paying contributors making up only about 50 percent of all those who currently work. Interest on that enormous debt and the burdens of our great social programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security comprise a large part of the nation’s overhead.

If we push too hard on a government that is weak and is concerned only for its political survival, and therefore makes large promises that it can never keep, at what point do the promisers become responsible for the consequences of their own excessive demands?



School shooting

To the editor:

The Review-Journal’s bias is showing. In your Thursday editorial on the shooting at Colorado’s Arapahoe High School, you argued that it was the presence of an armed guard somewhere in the school that limited the shooting. How can that be? The shooter was already dead when the armed guard arrived on the scene.

The editorial’s contention — that the shooter’s knowledge that there was an armed guard in the building prevented him from killing others — holds no water. Wouldn’t it be more plausible that after shooting others, then realizing that the real target of his anger, the teacher he was looking for, was not present, that the shooter took his own life simply out of frustration and anguish?

The editorial asks us to believe that this deranged individual stopped shooting simply because he knew he would eventually be cornered and caught or even killed. This contention displays your own bias (and might I add, that of CNN) toward unrestricted gun ownership. Easy access to guns by irresponsible individuals is simply drowning us in death. And your idea that the solution is to place a gun before every school entrance is not the answer.



Eliminating poverty

To the editor:

In his letter, Mike Niederberger highlights the fact that the war on poverty, signed into law almost 50 years ago, has done nothing to solve the problem (“Trillions spent, war on poverty lost,” Thursday Review-Journal). But just eliminating programs, as Mr. Niederberger seems to suggest, is not the answer.

Instead, changes to reduce the number of people born into poverty and to improve their chances of getting the necessary education and job training to give them a path out of poverty must be implemented, so the programs can begin to wind down.

I don’t know why it is so hard to figure out that we need to implement a program to subsidize employers to hire and train the disadvantaged.



Collection vs. use of data

To the editor:

The element missing in the current narrative regarding the National Security Agency is discrimination between collection of data and use of information. Prohibiting the NSA from collecting already available data would be shortsighted and foolish. The collection is binary digital data — as in data, not information. Information requires calibration and analysis of data.

Possession of data does not compromise individual liberty, but does enhance national security. Restrictions should be applied to the use of information, not the collection of data, as is currently the practice. Individual liberty is only at risk when information, not data, is used.



Reid and Redskins

To the editor:

I have to shake my head every time Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says or does something. He certainly has made some remarks and done things that cause the average citizen to wonder where Sen. Reid has been the past several years.

Friday’s Review-Journal had an article in which the Sen. Reid, D-Nev., joins a group of people who want the Washington Redskins to change their name (“Reid says team name must go”). He is quoted as saying, “I mean, you can’t have the Washington Blackskins.” If a Republican had made a statement in that fashion, Sen. Reid would be the first to claim it was a racist remark.

Sen. Reid seems to have enough trouble doing the job of majority leader. Now he thinks he should get involved in football team nicknames. Perhaps if he wants the name to be changed, he and the other people mentioned in the article should buy the team and call it whatever they like. In the meantime, I would like to see Sen. Reid pretend he knows what he’s doing as Senate majority leader.



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