Social SecurityIn his letter published Feb. 16, William J...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

February 24, 1993

Social Security

In his letter published Feb. 16, William J. Ziegler Sr. resists any possible negative government action or partial take-back of Social Security benefits.

He further states, "The Sun should know that before Social Security began, one child or more often had to support aged parents, or they went on welfare."

At present, each working person must support himself and his family as well as part of a welfare recipient and perhaps 40 percent of a retired person (an impersonal stranger, with an expected life span of over 15 years after retirement) -- that figure is rapidly increasing to the 50 percent mark.

If Mr. Ziegler were a young person in his 20s or 30s or 40s, how would he face up to the prospect of having to support with what is left from his paycheck after federal, state and local taxes have grabbed at least 25 percent of gross pay (with the assistance of one other working person), one elderly stranger in addition to himself and his family?

I am myself a retired person, but unlike Mr. Ziegler I am greatly concerned with the almost impossible financial burdens being dumped on my children and grandchild by the reckless spending excesses of my generation.

I support taxation on Social Security benefits on all recipients all the way down to perhaps $5,000 above the poverty level, as well as reducing or perhaps skipping occasionally the annual cost-of-living increase.

I also believe that the retirement age must be raised substantially and soon, not in the 2020s as presently being considered by federal officials.

Life expectations have increased at least ten years since 1935, when the original Social Security bill was being crafted and its social architects arbitrarily selected 65 as an appropriate retirement age.

Gordon H. Himmer

Baltimore

Plastic Bullets

In the February, 1993, issue of Surgery Gynecology & Obstetrics, a highly respected surgical journal in the United States, appears an article entitled "Peripheral Vascular Injuries From Plastic Bullets in Children" written by Jay J. Schnitzer, M.D., Ph.D., of Boston, and Dean Fitzgerald, M.D., of the Gaza Strip.

These surgeons report their surgical results on 15 children, age 8 to 19 years, who sustained extensive injuries to the major vessels of the lower extremities from plastic bullets fired by the Israeli Army.

These injuries were not only serious enough to necessitate admission and surgery, but would have resulted in leg amputation had it not been for the prompt and skilled care of these surgeons.

The authors state that 617 children with plastic bullet gunshot injuries were treated at a single community hospital of 70 beds in only eight months.

Of these 617 children, 452 were admitted and operated on. The article explains that data on the plastic bullet suggest that it is not really plastic (composition data: 70 percent zinc, 10 percent glass, 20 percent plastic), and in terms of predicted ballistic behavior the calculated kinetics energy places it between a .38 special and a .45 automatic pistol.

While the dedication of these expert surgeons is no doubt commendable, it is sadly in contrast with the disheartening atrocities committed against these civilian children by a government which claims to be "the most civilized and the only democratic nation in the Middle East."

Emil Kfoury, M.D.

Baltimore

Sexist Hack

Until your excellent columnist Alice Steinbach wrote on it, I had searched in vain for a columnist's outrage over Republican consultant Roger Ailes' inane, gratuitously nasty and sexist remark that Hillary Clinton was "bothered" by the fact that Kimba Wood had spent more time interviewing with her than with the president, "because Kimba's a lot prettier."

Ms. Steinbach is also incredulous of the uttering of such a non sequitur, but Mr. Ailes' remark is not so surprising when it is looked at in the context of reflexive put-downs -- even when the put-downs make no point -- of women by sexist political hacks whose banalities pass for cleverness.

Interesting, perhaps, is that there was an even more revealing moment when Mr. Ailes' Democratic counterpart, Robert Squires, laughingly chided him for making a "sexist remark."

From that friendly, good-old-boy response one can learn that such remarks are seen not as contemptible, but as minor solecisms, or violations of etiquette of public, but not private, discourse.

Richard E. Vatz

Towson

Turners Station

Your Feb. 17 article, reporting on the efforts of Turners Station to maintain its library and recreation programs despite Baltimore County cutbacks, provides only some indication of the deep fears of residents that county politicians and bureaucrats are willing to completely sacrifice the identity of this proud community for the sake of a few thousand dollars.

Sure, there is a budget deficit, but I disagree with the library supervisor who says we cannot afford symbols any more.

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