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Nov. 15 Letters to the Editor

Social Security history

In the early 1930s, President Roosevelt and his Congress developed the Social Security program to provide retirement funds for those people not having retirement plans where they worked. All people who worked paid a percentage of their wages to Social Security to receive benefits once they retired at 65 years of age. This program worked fine with big surpluses for future payments.

What happened? During the Vietnam War our government stopped working for us and raided the surpluses in Social Security to pay for that war. Each year since that decision was made, our government has spent our surplus money from Social Security payments that were taken each week of our working lives. In the 1980s, our government passed a law always to spend Social Security surpluses as a matter of business as usual. Who is that governing body looking out for now? Not the American workers.

Congress calls Social Security a Ponzi scheme, telling us that American workers don’t want Social Security anymore. Senators and representatives have their own retirement program and would be up in arms if we took their retirement surplus to save Social Security.

Our government does not work for the American people. It does things just for itself to satisfy egos of the beneficiaries. Billions of our tax dollars were provided to companies that caused our recent recession. Previously, companies that had done poor jobs were forced out of business. If those billions of dollars were returned to our Social Security fund, there would be no problem with the fund running out of money as it is now.

Charles Sykes


• • •

Bush deserves a break

Most of us cannot even begin to imagine how heavily the weight of the world must rest on the shoulders of a president of the United States, nor can we fathom the struggles he faces when monumental, life-changing decisions have to be made.

President George W. Bush was mercilessly criticized and maligned for everything from Iraq to his tax cuts, but in retrospect these and many other decisions he made have been shown to be correct. No matter how unjustly he was slandered, he always said that it was the American people’s right to speak against him. He always displayed a calm, peaceful attitude. He was and is a man of sterling character and, although some will disagree, strong moral character is a vital part of being a good president.

He was accused of lying about Iraq having weapons of mass destruction, but he didn’t. It was widely believed that they existed, and that they may have been sent out of the country before we invaded.

Another proof of his great character is the fact that he never spoke publicly against President Bill Clinton and does not criticize President Barack Obama who, unfortunately, says something derogatory about Bush’s presidency and policies nearly every time I hear him speak.

Bush is a good man who deserves to be given a break. I cannot wait to read his new book, “Decision Points.”

Rosalie Welch-Johnson


• • •

Missing Ron Brown

It’s been quite a while since English teacher, coach and Bangor Daily News columnist Ron Brown left us.

But he left an indelible impression on all those with whom he came in contact. Not only did he excel in words, but he also excelled in deeds. Ron hired me, a disabled vet, to work for Maine Roundball, his pet project. He was always there with written testimonies for books I was writing.

Ron Brown’s passing left a void in the sports pages, for he knew basketball from the street level to the professional level and could put it into words.

God bless Ron Brown.

Bill Sawtell


• • •

Car porn

Automobile manufacturers, their advertising agencies and local broadcasters are guilty of reckless endangerment in the way they present automobile commercials to the buying public. TV commercials show cars driven way too fast for conditions or common sense by “professional drivers on closed courses,” and though they may deny it, stunt driving incessantly broadcast for 16 years can be “cradle to the premature grave” brainwashing lessons for our kids.

It is a repetitious, bad lesson well-learned. Too many stories in the BDN tell of multiple deaths of teenagers in single car accidents, brought about by inexperienced drivers emulating TV’s oversexed speed sales pitches. It is car porn.

Maine broadcasters have to make a living but not at the expense of seducing impressionable teens. Now, every time I see a TV car commercial where its driver should be ticketed for driving to endanger, I will turn off my TV for the next 30 minutes. If that doesn’t help, I can answer the kids’ angry inquiry, “What the hell did you do that for?”

Survival of the fittest.

Charles MacArthur


• • •

Thanks, Henry

I would like to express my appreciation to District 9 Rep. Henry Joy who will retire at the end of this session. Henry has always been a tireless advocate for the people in his district and the people of Maine. In this time of spiteful, partisan politics Henry always was a gentleman and that, too often, goes unappreciated.

Excellent job, Henry.

I will miss him, and I wish him a very long, healthy and happy retirement.

Gene Legassey


• • •

Fix it, don’t waive it

An interesting bit of news was published on page B7 of the Nov. 9 BDN. According to the article and my understanding of it, the new health insurance regulation imposed by the recent federal health reform law on the state individual health insurance market requires a medical loss ratio, or MLR, of 80 percent.

Medical loss ratio is the amount insurers spent for actual health care services versus the amount spent on administrative costs or what they keep in the form of profits. Insurers in Maine are under the state law with an MLR of 65 percent, and, according to Maine Insurance Superintendent Mila Kofman, apparently are threatening to leave Maine unless the 80 percent rule is waived.

Why is this? Why do insurers in Maine need more of an administration and profit budget than insurers in the rest of the nation? Why does Sen. Snowe, instead of finding out and fixing the problem, just ask for a waiver?

Is it because Maine or the residents don’t pay their bills? Is it because there are so many regulations that the insurance companies have higher administrative costs? Whatever the reason, this needs to be fixed, and a waiver is not the answer.

Frederick Gralenski


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