National debate needed on Social Security

The AARP wants to make sure Social Security stays financially sound for future generations, a point that would not be clear to readers of your June 19 editorial, “ ‘Updating’ Social Security.” But we believe that in today’s political climate this can be accomplished only with presidential leadership.

That is why we are conducting the Take A Stand campaign, which urges the candidates to provide detailed plans on how they would keep Social Security strong, and how their proposals would affect individuals and their families.

This effort is extremely important in Nevada and throughout the country. In our state, one in six residents receives Social Security — not just retirees but survivors, children, disabled workers and their dependents. Social Security keeps more than 100,000 Nevada seniors above the poverty line. As employer pensions become rare and more people live for many years past traditional retirement age, Social Security will retain its critical role.

Contrary to your odd editorial, AARP is trying to promote a real national debate on possible reforms, so today’s workers and their children can be confident Social Security will be there when they need it.

But on this point we agree: Doing nothing is not an option.

Maria Dent

Las Vegas

The writer is state director of AARP Nevada.

Oil subsidies

In response to the June 19 commentary, “Make green energy compete,” by Michael Schaus regarding subsidies green energy companies get from “crony” government:

What I found most interesting was that Mr. Schaus failed to mention the subsidies that the oil companies receive. In a report issued last year, the International Monetary Fund revealed that the world’s governments are providing $5.3 trillion (yes, trillion with a “t”) in subsidies every year. These subsidies include $88 billion in direct cash subsidies by the G-20 nations alone.

But dwarfing that figure is the amount of money governments spend paying for the effects that air and water pollution have on their citizens.

Oil markets are global, as are oil companies, so these subsidies benefit all oil companies, regardless of their country of origin. But to be more specific, according to Oil Change International, direct U.S. subsidies to the fossil fuel industry were $52 billion in 2014, and certainly higher in 2016.

What is difficult to quantify are the savings the U.S. government realizes when it spends less on the health of its citizens because they are breathing cleaner air and drinking cleaner water as a result of more clean energy on the grid.

So when all of these factors are considered, the question must be asked: Who’s subsidizing whom?

Michael Edens

Las Vegas

Art work

I am writing in response to the Michael Ramirez “cartoon” prominently displayed on your June 17 editorial page.

I appreciate diverse opinions and can take a joke with the best of them But the depiction of our president being embraced by an individual from radical Islam, implying the president is somehow in “cahoots” with the extremists, is beyond inappropriate and offensive.

Anne Hawkins

Henderson

Putting party aside

In response to your June 22 story, “Heck, others criticize use of animals for trauma training”:

Animals being abused don’t care about the party affiliation of those fighting to protect them. U.S. Rep. Joe Heck, a Republican, and U.S. Rep. Dina Titus, a Democrat, aren’t just working together to end the unnecessary shooting and stabbing of animals in favor of cost-effective and high-tech simulation for military medical training. They are also supporting efforts to stop the horrific “soring” of show horses’ legs with caustic chemicals and to end outdated, ineffective and cruel cosmetics testing on animals.

Nevada’s members of Congress deserve accolades for putting politics aside to collaborate on ending animal cruelty, an issue virtually all Americans can agree on.

Joyce Goodman

Henderson

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