Sounding off: Alternatives to accruing college debt
I understand that the op-ed “Plan would slash higher-education costs” is all about debt. It is not about paying off debt, merely getting out from under debt at the expense of someone. Me, I’m a taxpayer. If you owe the government at whatever level and you don’t pay, I do.
I see several ways to avoid the debt in the first place that are fair to you and me.
1. Join the military , earn the education benefits and enjoy your education toward a second career.
2. Stay in the military, enjoy it as your first job, get your education benefits. Retire, go to school and do a second career. Retire again.
Now for Mom and Dad and other relatives: The IRS has provided a wonderful way to pay for the education of your offspring: the 529 tax break. You establish a fund (mine is the Iowa 529 plan); check with your broker or financial adviser. Parents, establish the account in your child’s name for his or her benefit. Funds grow tax free, withdrawals to schools are tax-free; failure to use the funds for school brings penalties. Anyone can make deposits to the funds. It’s a fine place for birthday and Christmas gifts.
Edgar A. Shallenberger, Scottdale
Let’s be civilized, decent again
Let’s all go back to where we came from; about 90% of me would have to go to the British Isles, and the rest chopped up between Sweden and Germany. I guess I could take part of a cousin or two along, but they’d have to be cut up too, to even more places.
It would cut down the population of the world. Is that what the people who call for “going back” want? I was taught that this country is a place for people who needed a better life to come, since its beginning.
With deep apologies to the Native Americans who were here first, and African-Americans who were brought here without their consent, we all now are inhabitants of a country that is in danger of losing its way in cruelty, ruthlessness and depravity of government.
How will we get civilized enough to be decent to each other? And elect people who would do the same?
Lynne Henry, Greensburg
Mike Doyle can help fight global AIDS crisis
Over the past 15 years, we’ve made immense progress in the global AIDS fight, but the disease remains a deadly crisis. Every day, the AIDS epidemic claims 2,500 lives.
Earlier this year, the House Appropriations Committee took a big step toward continuing America’s leadership in the AIDS fight by maintaining our historic one-third commitment for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, one of the most effective and efficient health partnerships on the planet.
Today, the countries most affected by AIDS are contributing more to the fight than ever before. But the battle is far from over, and the U.S. must continue to play a critical leadership role.
Viruses like HIV do not respect borders. Congressman Mike Doyle, D-Forest Hills, can help us win the fight against AIDS by standing up, speaking out and supporting America’s one-third commitment to the Global Fund ($1.56 billion), which will be used to incentivize billions of dollars in investments from other donors and save millions of innocent lives.
As an activist and volunteer, I have seen the benefits of life-sustaining HIV/AIDS medications. Disease prevention and treatment should be a fundamental human right.
Karla Doolittle, Bloomfield
Next steps for Trump supporters
I’m guessing that Trump rally-goers will soon be chanting “String ‘Em Up” each time the president names an African-American Democrat. I see it as a natural next step for this crowd.
I’m more certain of what will follow when this happens. Trump will deny that it has anything to do with lynching and call these supporters super patriots. Sen. Mitch McConnell will trot out his wife, cabinet member Elaine Chao, as proof that Trump is not a racist. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy will hold a news conference, deliver a long rambling speech and say nothing.
House Democrats will issue a flood of subpoenas but no one will show up. Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey will tell us that he wouldn’t use the same words as the chanters. Rep. Guy Reschenthaler will polish up his Trump Toady badge while instructing his staff to ignore constituents wishing to know his views on Trump’s racist behavior. More than 90% of the Republican Party members will still support their hero. My Democratic friends will tell me that as a nation we are better than this.
No we’re not . Sadly, this is who we are.
Glenn R. Plummer, Unity
Motivation of Wolf’s election system veto
In the wake of the 2016 elections, Republican voters have repeatedly been referred to as uneducated, unsophisticated hayseeds who marched hypnotically into the voting booth having been immersed in the MAGA gospel and blindly pulled the Trump lever.
Now comes Gov. Tom Wolf vetoing the funding for a new updated election system because Republican legislators wanted to eliminate the straight-party vote possibility. In doing so, Wolf states, “eliminating the one-button voting for all party candidates on the ballot would create confusion and longer lines at the polls” (“Westmoreland delays election machine purchase”).
First there was an issue with voters producing proof of ID being a challenge because it was just too difficult to get a proper ID, and that would be discriminatory. Now, simply asking the voter to read the ballot and make choices that require some thought is considered too burdensome.
I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that those who make up a significant portion of the Democratic base have accepted without question that the blue ticket will continue to do the wonderful things it has done for them for decades, like superior school systems and better economic conditions, by just having to push that one button. Maybe the day will come when, as a part of the motor voter system, they can just print your driver license in the color that matches your registration, and automatically register your presumed preference every election cycle so you’ll never have to leave the house.
Bill McMaster, Delmont
Herd of unqualified Democratic candidates
In 2015-16 there was a herd of 17 Republican candidates for president who negated each other by sharing campaign funding, diluted votes in the primary, and elected and established the least qualified candidate for president. We now suffer with a president who does not understand the workings of our government, has fired or forced to resign around 25 key personnel, and attacks the press, judiciary and our intelligence agencies.
We have a mirror image of the 2015-16 Republican situation with the herd of Democrats running for president in the 2020 election. These candidates want to feed their egos and gain name recognition for future local elections. They include a screaming female senator, a flailing male congressman and a male socialist senator. Twenty-three of 24 Democratic candidates are unqualified to be president, and one of them could end up running against the current unqualified Republican contender for president in 2020.
As an independent I vote for the candidate who is most qualified for the position. If the Republican and Democratic candidates for president are not qualified, then I will vote for myself.
Donald Moskowitz, Londonderry, N.H.
The writer is a 1963 Penn State graduate.
Roots of racism, xenophobia
A number of people at President Trump’s recent campaign rally in Greenville, N.C. were sporting T-shirts emblazoned with the message (Expletive) Off — We’re Full. The words were “creatively” etched to resemble an outline of the United States of America. I assume the message was directed to immigrants and refugees seeking asylum from economic injustice, political persecution and gang violence.
As I was about to be outraged by the T-shirts’ blatant racism and xenophobia, I suddenly realized that my moral indignation was sadly misplaced. After all, the sentiment has very powerful Biblical roots. When Mary and Joseph sought safe shelter in Bethlehem to deliver the Christ child, the innkeeper told them to “(Expletive) Off — We’re Full!”
Keith Kondrich, Swisshelm Park