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Blame politicians for debt, not the elderly

To the editor:

At last, we finally have the reason for this country’s financial mess. In Sunday’s Viewpoints section, Robert Samuelson writes that, “It’s the elderly, stupid.”

Well, after decades of contributing (read: taxing) my earnings at a graduated and now combined employee/employer rate of almost 15 percent into the Social Security Trust Fund, Mr. Samuelson contends that I am responsible and should be subject to a “contractual rewrite.” Of course that same rewrite will likely conclude that all of us who scrimped and saved throughout our lives for retirement will be forced-out of any benefits via a “means-test.”

No, Mr. Samuelson, don’t scapegoat the elderly. It’s the politicians, stupid.

John Thompson

Henderson

Paid and paid

To the editor:

Robert J. Samuelson’s Sunday column trying to lay the problems this country now faces on the elderly is totally out of whack.

First of all, I and millions of others started paying Social Security and federal income taxes when we were 14 years old — and continued to pay them up until I was past 70. That’s 60 years. I paid them for the 20 years I was in the Navy, I paid them on the part-time jobs I needed to have so I could take care of my family during the times I was making less than $1,000 a month while I was in the Navy.

I paid them on all the employment I had after I retired from the service, and I paid them on the part-time jobs I had after I retired in 2001. There are thousands who paid into Social Security who never lived to collect it.

I’m sure that Mr. Samuelson thinks that corporations such as General Electric with its $15 billion in profits and zero in federal income tax — and other companies such as Exxon/Mobil, BP and other oil giants — have nothing to do with our problems.

Come on. Get real.

James O’Connor

Henderson

Home buying

To the editor:

In response to Ned Thomas’ July 29 letter, “Interest deduction vital to homeowners”:

The home mortgage interest deduction is another intrusion of the federal government that never should have come about. It is a bad and artificial incentive for buying a home. Deductions were an underlying cause for builders to raise prices because of a false demand.

Doing away with the deduction would have the most effect on investors who have bought multiple properties with little or nothing down — called “leveraging.” I shed no tears for those. Fifty percent of the people don’t pay any income taxes. Poor people can’t afford a large enough mortgage for it to have a meaningful effect if the deduction was discontinued.

Taking away the deduction will reduce the artificial demand to buy, causing home prices to seek a real value vs. the propped-up value of today.

This has been going on for so long that people believe it to be an entitlement poured in concrete. Houses will become even more affordable and that is an incentive to buy.

Norris Inman

Las Vegas

We need to spend

To the editor:

It seems as if government spending has become a never-ending topic of discussion. Yes, government spending goes up every year. Who doesn’t spend more money every year?

The government is a gigantic insurance company and every year claims go through the roof. Millions sign up for entitlements every year. Currently, nearly half the country is getting some type of entitlement, yet only half the work force pays federal income tax. What this means is that there are roughly 75 million workers covering the entitlement costs for 150 million people. Our trillions in medical spending alone is greater than the total economic output of all but three countries around the world.

The government is currently getting stuck with about half of those bills.

Our defense costs have risen to the point where it almost boggles the mind. In World War II an Essex class aircraft carrier cost about $80 million. That’s about what a fully loaded single-seat jet fighter plane costs today. A World War II P-51 Mustang fighter plane cost then about what a full mouth dental reconstruction costs today: $50,000. Spending on entitlement and defense programs have to rise by substantial amounts every year just to cover inflation.

People want cuts and they’re going to get cuts. We’ll see how people embrace these cuts when they have to spend more and more money out of their own pockets to cover ever-rising medical, defense and education costs. The money has to come from someplace and it is going to come out of your wallets and purses.

Gerry Hageman

Las Vegas

No Wynn

To the editor:

I can’t thank you enough for publishing Charles Lane’s July 29 column, “Steve Wynn’s silly anti-Obama tirade.” It’s about time someone called Mr. Wynn out for his pompous, self-serving comments.

Just late last month Mr. Wynn was quoted in the paper saying he could easily create 10,000 to 20,000 jobs in Las Vegas, but he just couldn’t take any chances with a socialist in the White House. Those comments came shortly after an earlier article talked about his increased profits/income for 2011.

A few days before the jobs comment, the Review-Journal ran an article about the four vases Mr. Wynn paid $12 million for — which he’ll display in his Macau casino.

It would seem that at least one casino operator has a tough time with the democratic process. He obviously feels more comfortable dealing with communist bureaucrats and communist high-rollers. I’m guessing he’s not too critical of those bureaucrats, or his Macau patrons.

Terry Cox

Henderson

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