Readers Speak

Risking our futures

Dear Editor,

I appreciated a recent letter that brought up the promise of President Trump ande the Republican National Committee to end this payroll tax, which is the funding stream for Social Security. I would like to highlight what this would mean to people in this country.

For the people who are 70, their benefits will end in 2023 when the fund depletes to zero. This fact has been verified by the chief actuary of the Social Security Administration in a letter to Senate Democrats who have asked him what would happen to Social Security beneifts.

For people who are now 60 and have been paying into the fund for 40 years, they won’t receive anything from Social Security.

For those who are 40 and have been paying into the fund for 20 years, they will not receive benefits from Social Security.

They will have to shore up any private investments they have made just at the time their children are going to college.

For people who are now 20, they will need to think ahead and commit to investing in a private account in order to have an income when they retire.

Unless they are educated in the business world, they will have to rely on the integrity and knowledge of their financial advisers and the companies they work for.

For those who are not working now because of the economic slowdown precipitated by the COVID-19 crisis, this will provide neither short- or long-term benefit.

We all need to think long and hard before we vote this year because our very life and economic well being are both on the line. Stay safe!

Elaine Wiehagen,


There’s no simple answer

Dear Editor,

We all like simple solutions — the president too — in dealing with the protest and riots in Portland with a good dose of riot police batons and rubber bullets, and maybe white militias.

When I was a kid in England we didn’t see much American news.

We mostly saw British Commonwealth news, and that’s how South Africa dealt with racial unrest.

It didn’t work.

South Africa, like the South, was a slave-based country, though the South Africans didn’t have to import them; they were there when the whites arrived. The black natives were given worthless homelands — like our Indian reservations and “townships” to live in closer to where the whites needed their labor, such as the gold fields and diamond mines.

It worked, unless you were black, until World War II when another “inferior” race, the Japanese, showed that the whites were not invincible.

Black veterans coming back from the war described how it was in other, free, countries — and then TV brought black South Africans pictures.

After that, it was harder to keep the lid on. For a while the police stuck to dogs and sjamboks — heavy bull whips — to prison terms and banishment to the homelands, but the demonstrators didn’t give up. South Africa was the daily news.

The police moved to water cannons and rubber bullets — about what we’re coming to: they could put the riots down, but then another, bigger one, would pop up. In the end, the police, of course, switched to live ammunition and in one demonstration, shot at least 176 people dead, shot and wounded maybe 1000 more, in Soweto, outside Johannesburg.

All I’m trying to say is, the simple, obvious solution isn’t going to work: it’s just going to put a temporary lid on things.

In the end, we are going to have to work out real, long-term, negotiated solutions, something already made less easy by the fact that while South Africa still had a unifying black leader in Nelson Mandela (safe in jail) for them to negotiate through. We unfortunately shot Martin Luther King Jr.

Pete Westover,



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