Retirement crisis? Let 'boomers' work longer.

Regarding the March 14 article "Will boomers cash in?": If almost everyone is aware of the pending boomer retirement crisis, why are many people opting for early retirement? Is it a "grab the money while it's still there" mentality? Or is it because our society, despite the increase in human longevity, compels us to believe we can't be productive after a certain age?

I am 50 years old, trim, energetic, decent-looking, and in excellent health. I am also on the job hunt. As a college-educated financial-services professional, I have been told on numerous occasions that I am "overqualified." I am beginning to think that this term is used as code for "you are too old for what we are looking for."

How can our society be so schizophrenic? Everyone is concerned about a precipitous drop in the workforce following boomers' retirements, yet age discrimination among employers is so prevalent and, dare I say, socially (if not legally) acceptable.

I lament the fact that no one is addressing the issue of covert age discrimination among employers and what a great loss it is to favor younger people over those more mature - and not just because employers are missing out on the skill and wisdom of the latter; there's also the double whammy of taking someone out of the workforce on top of adding someone to the retirement draw-down rolls. I cannot believe I am alone in thinking this.
Karin M. Klaassen
Brandon, Fla.

Good journalism comes in many forms

In his April 6 column, "Tough times for hard news, but good journalism goes on," John Hughes worries about the future of ABC's television-news program "Nightline" with the departure of Ted Koppel and goes on to lament the inferior quality of both network and cable TV news coverage in general.

While I agree with Mr. Hughes that the best overall coverage and analysis can be found in newspapers, I suggest that if one wishes to watch TV news to obtain various viewpoints on both sides of an issue from articulate spokesmen, including high government officials and heads of state, both domestic and foreign, this is available, without commercial interruptions, on one's local Public Broadcasting Service channel(s) with programs like "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer," and BBC and Deutsche Welle newscasts. Or one has the option of listening to National Public Radio's "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered," as well as to BBC news programs.
Arthur Collom
Burlingame, Calif.

Democrats, speak out!

Regarding the April 7 article "Patriot Act: What's not known feeds debate": We read in your pages of the Patriot Act abuses, of the Republican abuses of their congressional and executive powers in the Terri Schiavo case, and yet the Democrats are strangely silent in the face of these issues. Or at least they are quiet, if not silent.

Where are the big voices of Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and Howard Dean? Not one more sou for the Democrats until they start taking some very public, forceful positions. We do not need wimps leading the party of FDR and JFK!
Arthur Bloom
St. Germain-en-Laye, France

Tourists, keep flocking to Zimbabwe

Regarding the April 7 article "Is it ethical to visit 'outpost of tyranny'?": I visited Zimbabwe in 2002. The poverty there is unbelievable. The people of Zimbabwe need all the financial help tourists can provide. They are not to blame for the criminality of their government. Until the world finds a way to change that government, they need our financial help just to survive.
Jeanne Togay
Rio Vista, Calif.

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