Bush’s plan to increase homelessness To the editor: Wherever I am in Southern California, I see an ever-growing population of homeless people. From the streets of Los Angeles and Santa Monica to the corners of Orange County, they are there and the numbers are growing. In addition to literally living on the streets, the more “well-to-do” homeless people are ever more living out of cars, vans and old RVs. You’ve seen them, too. Who are these people? They must “want” to live like that. They can’t be one of “us!” They must be Gypsies, Roma, free-loaders or someone who’s got a screw loose. Or, just about anyone else who can be classified as only “3/5ths” of a person in your mind. Well, take a long, hard look at them next time you see them. They are you and they are me. And, if President Bush has anything to say about it, this will be our future with ever more certainty. Without adequate retirement benefits, will I be able to afford to live in my house? Can I afford to pay the yearly taxes, along with food? President Bush talks about Social Security as if the sky were falling. The facts are that with no changes at all, Social Security can meet 100% of its obligations until 2042 according to the Social Security Administration itself. And, that’s using its most conservative economic estimates. If one instead uses the same historical economic measures that Mr. Bush does to base his argument for the “future stock market performance” in his rationale for private accounts, Social Security will never go broke based on its current structure. However, most everyone agrees that there are things we should do to make Social Security stronger, but, the real Social Security crisis would be the President’s own privatization plan — which would cut my benefits, your benefits and unravel our nation’s most successful anti-poverty program. According to the Brookings Institute, by simply raising the taxable base for Social Security from $90,000 to $140,000 per year we would resolve 43% of the cash-balance while only affecting 6% of the wealthiest people in the country. Who is willing to trust this Administration with their future financial security? I am not! Just as he had Enron help devise our nation’s energy policy and stood idly by when Ken Lay’s Enron raped California with their jerry-rigging of our energy supplies, you can count on President Bush’s cronies and contributors as to who’s future is really secure. It will not be the huddled masses for whom it was designed to protect. All one needs to examine are the train-wrecks caused by privatization of Social Security in Chile and the United Kingdom. Additionally, there is not one example of a successful “privatized” Social Security system in the world. In Chile, retirees are being encouraged to work “just a few more years until the stock market comes back.” That’s the vision of “Security?” In the United Kingdom, after 25 years of experimenting with privatization of their Pension system, they at present are looking to “reform that!” And, they are looking at the “current” United States’ Social Security system as “the model” to emulate. So, if President Bush is successful in duping members of Congress and the American people on this alleged “Urgency” we can all mark the year 2030 on our calendars as when we’ll look to “re-reform” Social Security back to its present model. Great. I’ll be living out of my car by then. Lee Fisher Marina del Rey Right wing propaganda To the editor: Pat Mitchell [former head of PBS] has become yet another victim of the right wing propaganda machine: the same machine which swallowed Ward Churchill and Eason Jordan. Devoid of substantive argument, this coalition works tirelessly to silence opposing voices for fear of legitimate debate. Instead of engaging in the more serious crisis of impoverished public schools, this group seems more interested in censoring cartoons to convince children that lesbians do not exist. Rather than educating children, they try to ensure their ignorance. Jeff Horne Los Angeles Supplements are vital To the editor: As one of the many Americans who uses dietary supplements to benefit my health, I am dismayed when I see good news about these products minimized or ignored in the news media. The US Senate is at this very moment attempting to prevent the free availability of vitamins and herbs – for more info, visit www.saveoursupplements.org And read this new study that links dietary supplements to improved health and health care savings. The study, which was conducted by the Lewin Group, shows that daily use of calcium would prevent 734,000 hip fractures and save $13.9 billion in health care costs over the next five years. Daily use of folic acid by women would prevent 600 cases of neural tube birth defects yearly, saving $1.3 billion in lifetime medical costs over five years. That’s a total savings of over $15 billion dollars if these simple healthy tips can be implemented. You can read more about these supplements, and the other three that were studied – omega-3 fatty acids, Glucosamine and saw palmetto – at www.supplementinfo.org. For a number of reasons, there’s a health care crisis in this country today that needs a solution. I urge you not to ignore information like this study that clearly shows how dietary supplements can play a vital role in solving that crisis. Beate Nilsen Malibu Saving Lincoln Place To the editor: I am a neighbor, having just moved back into the city of L.A. after a few years renting in Culver City, and I wanted to tell you how much I appreciate your stories on Lincoln Place. I have known Sheila Bernard in other contexts (teaching in L.A. Unified) and I hope the light you are shining on the fight she has been leading will shame a few people in high places into acting on behalf of the residents — and the future of that corner of the city — before it’s too late. Michael NovickLos Angeles
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