Trickledown effects of privatizing Social Security

I totally agree with Edith Fierst's Nov. 30 Opinion piece, "A better fix than privatizing Social Security." In fact, to make up the deficit I would extend the Social Security payroll tax to all earned income.

We need to come to grips with what privatization would do to a majority of Americans. It would remove a guaranteed safety net for the less fortunate in our society, while enriching those that need it the least.
Richard Rychtarik
Las Vegas, Nev.

I have been reading ad nauseam about healthcare reform and projected Social Security deficits/fixes.

I lost my job in 1996 and with it my health insurance. Now, at 58, after having been marginally self-employed for almost nine years, I cannot afford health insurance and Social Security is years away. The idea that my grandchildren will have to wait until they are even older than I am to reap their "benefits" of a lifetime of paying into the system seems to me to be blatantly unfair.

Our government has to get real. Before we go throwing baskets of foreign aid all over the world and catering to special interests here at home, why don't we take a good long look at where else here at home that money could be useful?
Barbara St. Louis
Merced, Calif.

Fetus rights dependent on circumstance?

In her Nov. 23 Opinion piece, "Peterson guilty: but once, not twice," about the murder of Laci Peterson, Linda Layne is not only wrong in her assessment of Conner Peterson (the "embryo/fetus") as a nonperson, she comes across as an embarrassment to feminists, who should be rejecting this sort of misguided argument.

In her attempt to divorce the issues of abortion and murder, Ms. Layne insults the intelligence of sensible women (and men) everywhere. Layne suggests that Conner's death is not murder at all, just a serious side effect of the murder of Laci Peterson. While acknowledging that ending the life of a "fetus" by a violent act should require greater punishment by legal authorities, she says it doesn't meet the legal definition of murder.

When ultrafeminists and abortion-rights proponents cannot remove their "abortion rights at all costs" glasses, they leave themselves blind to reality.
Tim Weatherby
St. Louis

I don't understand how Layne can say that it is not considered another crime for a fetus to be killed when the mother is killed. If the mother is killed it does not always kill the fetus right away as if a light bulb had gone out! A baby outside its mother still depends on an adult for it to live; so does a fetus inside its mother.

Whether Scott Peterson gets the death penalty or not, he deserves to be convicted of a double murder.
Jennifer Hantz
Angola, Ind.

I heartily agree with the author's assertion that assaults on pregnant women should carry stiffer penalties under the law.

However, it was very distasteful to suggest that pregnant women deserve greater consideration because they "perform a societal function." Are we just impersonal factory-style breeders?

And it was laughably silly to read that mothers engage in "the process of constructing a person." I have given birth to four children and I never once consciously constructed anything about any of them. Once conceived, they've just taken it from there and done the whole job themselves.

Human beings, at whatever stage of development, are still human beings. And every human being deserves justice. Connor deserves justice for his own sake.
Nyla Middleton
Plymouth, Minn.

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