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Lowering our standard of living, quality of life

To the editor:

I read your editorial endorsement (“Gauging prices,” July 27) of shifting to a more realistic calculation of the Consumer Price Index … the so-called chained CPI. Instead of a CPI tracking a set basket of goods, you argue that a more realistic index tracking behavior would save $300 billion in a decade. You state, “Economists note that people alter their behavior when prices rise — instead of continuing to buy beef cuts as the cost soared, for instance, they might switch to less expensive chicken.”

Following this logic, cost-of-living raises would drop year after year as people shifted from the more expensive beef to chicken, ground beef, SPAM and, finally (I hope), to dog food. Similarly, as energy costs rise, I guess people would make substitutions and go from driving a family sedan to a subcompact, scooter, bicycle and then take the bus.

It has been my experience in 10 years of drawing retirement pegged to the CPI that the annual COLA raises (zero the past two years) fall short of actual price increases. Accordingly, they already require many people to make substitutions and changes to balance their budgets.

It’s also worth noting that COLA raises are a trailing number — there’s 12 months of tracking and a three-month delay before they become effective.

Personally, I feel that a system of determining actual entitlement amounts using means testing for both Social Security and Medicare would be much fairer and produce even more savings. But your plan sounds like a great system to lower our standard of living and quality of life. People at the lowest income levels could substitute dying for living.

Michael A. Dimmick

Las Vegas

Bush’s fault

To the editor:

At the rate we are going, during the campaign for the next presidential election, it will be possible to honestly say with a straight face that the current administration has ruled over the worst economy in the past 50 years. This time it will not be stretching the truth.

Of course, it will still be George W. Bush’s fault.

Don Dieckmann


For shame

To the editor:

After all the drama in Congress the past few weeks, following the vote on the debt crisis, members of the House quickly ran out of doors to start their vacations. But they did not do their jobs. There are still 70,000 construction workers who were laid off and thousands of FAA employees on furlough due to the House incompetence.

We cannot let these politicians go or lay them off. They are not “at will” employees. They do not do their jobs and the unemployed have to deal with it.

Shame on them.

Linda Millard

Las Vegas

Responsible adults

To the editor:

When Barack Obama was running for president, his message was loud and clear: change. The people of America chose “change.”

But once he was elected, what actually changed? Nothing was done to correct the fiscal irresponsibility so loudly blamed on the former administration by his supporters. Then, in the midterm election, the people chose “change” again. This time in the form of tea party Republicans, who are now being vilified, to put it mildly, for actually keeping their campaign promises.

The same people who demanded “change” in 2008 are now saying the tea party politicians are acting like children. I say we finally have some — not nearly enough, but some — responsible adults in Washington.

You don’t really want business as usual in Washington, do you?

Donald Darling

Las Vegas

Spending restraint

To the editor:

Big surprise that Congress increased the debt ceiling. By 2046, 100 percent of all taxes will have to be used simply to pay interest on the national debt. Then we won’t have to argue about what programs to cut, because they will all be cut by 100 percent — and our entire economy, our entire nation, will plummet into bankruptcy and despair.

But very few of those who are now spending our taxpayer money in order to be re-elected will be around then, so we’ll have no one to blame but ourselves. Maybe you and I won’t be around to witness the end of our nation, either, but our children and grandchildren will be asking how we could have let this happen.

I think I’m now a one-issue voter: Balance the budget before it’s too late. The more we spend, the tougher it’s going to be when we can’t borrow any more.

Albert G. Marquis

Las Vegas

Deduct this!

To the editor:

I have to admit, with all the conversations through the years about federal tax policy reform, the two things I always believed were well beyond consideration for reduction or elimination were the charitable contribution deduction and — even more so — the home mortgage interest deduction. I now learn that some in Congress are actually discussing the latter for possible elimination or reduction.

I understand the desire of certain members of Congress to find additional revenue. However, this is not the place to do it.

The construction industry in Nevada is in dire condition. The home-building sector is beyond that. In fact, to say it is on life support would not overstate the situation. Any hit like this that might further impact the ability of Nevadans to purchase homes might well be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back.

As I said, I have always believed those deductions were sacrosanct. I hope Congress will formalize my opinion by flatly rejecting any reduction or elimination of the home mortgage interest deduction before it even comes to the table for discussion.

Warren Hardy

Las Vegas

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