Letters to the Editor

Readers write about social security, clergy and taxes, Chávez is similar to Democrats, and the Kindle Monster.

Social Security will be bankrupt

In response to the Dec. 3 commentary, "Social Security in crisis? Hardly": It is very disturbing to see the claim that Social Security is not "bankrupt" when it will be able to pay just 75 percent of benefits.

Bankruptcy is the inability to pay the obligations that you have promised.

Try paying only 75 percent of your mortgage and see how quickly the mortgage companies and courts declare you bankrupt.

"Bankrupt" is a legitimate use of the word and description for the future status of Social Security and Medicare.

Isidro Garcia
Medina, Ohio

Senate probe of pastors

Regarding the Dec. 6 article, "Are big-spending clergy abusing US tax code?" Thank you for reporting on the Senate's latest gambit to inject more government into the civil life of the nation.

As you report, " 'Anytime a Congressional committee gets involved in this kind of issue, a red flag goes up,' says Brent Walker, executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee in Washington, which advocates religious liberty."

If the Senate wants a report from the Internal Revenue Service about the compliance of churches to tax rules, that is something that might fall within congressional oversight. But for the Senate to reach out to members of civil society and engage in such a "fishing expedition" seems inappropriate.

David W. Holmes
Fairfax, Va.

Regarding the Dec. 6 article about clergy and the tax code: I am a local church pastor with relatively small pay and a small budget. We don't have huge ministries, but we have taken in members who were kicked out elsewhere.

Every fact of fiscal life here is available to all members on an annual basis, including changes in my contract. This is typical.

It is the attitude that budgets are "none of anyone's business" that is exceptional.

Though I have personally had my disputes with Sen. Charles Grassley's office on other issues, he is a man of personal integrity. I would trust him more than I do most preachers.

Dan Lozer
Le Mars, Iowa

Venezuela's Chávez is like Democrats

In response to the Dec. 6 article, "Venezuela's Chávez defiant, despite defeat": Hugo Chávez says of his defeat at the polls that would have given him almost unlimited power: "We still aren't mature enough to adopt an openly socialist project."

In other words, the Venezuelan people aren't smart enough to know what is good for them and just don't understand the "benefit" that a Marxist dictatorship would provide.

Doesn't he sound like American Democrats when they lose elections or ballot proposals?

"The voters just don't understand the issues."

Or: "Why do poor and middle-class Southerners vote against their interests by voting for Republicans?"

Gregory Indelicato
New York

Keep books safe from the Kindle

In response to Emily Hauser's Dec. 7 Opinion piece, "Book 2.0? I prefer 1.0.": To this homage to "paper, glue, ink, stitching," I say, "Amen" and "Amen."

I actually put down the Monitor while reading this piece and toured my little library, as concerned as a father looking in on his kids tucked in bed.

But the books were all there and safe from the Kindle Monster! Whew! Everything was OK.

Don Kastella
Lake City, Minn.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Any letter accepted may appear in print or on our website, www.csmonitor.com. Mail letters to Readers Write and Opinion pieces to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115. E-mail letters to Letters and Opinion pieces to OpEd.

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