Letters to the Editor

This is Viewpoints for Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016

How about a little compassion and understanding?

Sam Ryan, Jim Costello and Randal D. Duckworth recently expressed their view about Social Security and the minuscule .003 percent COLA increase in the Social Security payments.

Plomer Cape retorted, saying, “If you were too dumb to realize that Social Security was meant to be a supplement to your retirement fund instead of your retirement fund then you have no complaint about how Social Security is handled.” Cape goes on to tell us his work history and that he retired from the Navy and teaching with a pension (both taxpayer fund retirements). I applaud Mr. Cape for being successful.

But bad-mouthing and degrading those that may not have been as successful in unbecoming.

Here is a shocking fact: Over half of all households nearing retirement have absolutely no retirement savings. We can blame them for not saving. But minimum wage and part-time jobs do not provide enough to save. Many lost their entire pension when companies declared bankruptcy and closed.

Another shocking fact: Older individuals that lose their job (and thousands of older workers lost their jobs under the Bush economic meltdown) have a very difficult time finding alternative employment. They had to resort to their savings to stay afloat.

Companies do not want to hire older individuals —discrimination among older individuals seeking employment is a major issue. Age discrimination is illegal. But any human resources manager worth his/her pay knows how to reject an applicant without saying it is based on age.

Having used up whatever savings they may have had, older individuals who lose their jobs are much more likely to be forced into taking their Social Security. And for many it is the only retirement they have.

Cape should lose his narcissistic attitude and stop looking down his nose at the less fortunate. And be thankful for his Navy and teaching pensions funded by the taxpayers.

Ronald Cain,


We made it through again

“Yesterday has come and gone. And tomorrow is out of sight.”

— Kris Kristofferson

Soon, all the juice will have been squeezed from my first year as an octogenarian because my Zodiac birth sign is Capricorn. As Stewie on “Family Guy” might say about 2016, “What a year! W-h-a-t a y-e-a-r!”

I managed to survive the birth of two more grandsons, a marriage in the family, a college graduation and the death of nine friends and neighbors. All that happened before the cliffhanger election in November between Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton and Republican Donald John Trump. Many voters are now pondering the genius or foolishness of our Electoral College in a presidential election. Most agree it is distilled wisdom that prevents a few very large states in the union from completely dominating the rest of us.

If there is any one thing I have learned about America in my time it is that we are a resilient nation and can unite in time of calamity and national emergency. One of my earliest memories is our country preparing for war after Pearl Harbor in 1941. Eighteen months following that attack, worn-out plow shears in the barn and old automobiles in the junk yard had been smelted into ships and planes filled with trained men and women, and in another 24 months the enemy lay defeated. Today as a nation we are fine, albeit tasks of all kinds remain.

As Kristofferson wrote in his tune, tomorrow is out of sight. But I suspect it will be good for the most part, and will begin with a sunrise and will end with a sunset.

John G. Kelley Jr.,


A new year, a new kind of meat

The coming New Year’s resolution should be pretty obvious, particularly when it comes to diet: 2017 will go down in history as the year when plant-based meats have revolutionized the food industry.

A dozen start-ups, led by Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, are creating plant-based burgers and other “meats” that are more delicious, convenient and healthy than the old-fashioned animal-based variety. They are backed by tech industry pioneers like Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Google principals Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel. Even animal meat behemoth Tyson Foods has announced a $150 million venture capital fund to explore and invest in these products.

The plant-based food revolution is going mainstream. Hundreds of school, college, hospital and corporate cafeterias have embraced Meatless Monday. Fast food chains Chipotle, Panera, Subway and Taco Bell are rolling out plant-based dinner options.

And American consumers are responding, with fully one-third reducing their intake of animal-based meats, milks and other food products.

Let’s make this New Year’s resolution about exploring the rich variety of delicious, convenient, healthy plant-based dinners, lunch meats, cheeses, milks and ice creams available in every supermarket. The internet offers tons of recipes and transition tips.

John Bennett,


GOP and Social Security

Kathy Solomon got it all wrong on Sunday on the nonexistent insolvency of Social Security. Why do Republicans in Congress keep saying that benefit cuts are needed to save Social Security from insolvency in 2034, when the system is projected to be able to pay only about three-fourths of its promised benefits.?

Congressional Republicans want to raise the retirement age to 69 and reduce the annual cost-of-living adjustment. And they don’t want higher taxes to support the solvency of the program. They also want to reduce taxes on the high earners who pay on some of their benefits in Social Security. The GOP only loves our rich!

Frank W. Gadbois,

Warner Robins