Letters to the Editor

Readers write about how children can help us find solutions for global warming, whether the US should change how it spends on social programs, and why everyone should pay their taxes.

Children can help us find global warming solutions

In regard to the Feb. 10 Opinion piece, "Global warming through a mom's eyes": In her commentary, author Lisa Bennett writes, "How do I continue to relish the deep and joyous love I feel for my sons today – while neither putting my head in the sand nor filling them with untold anxiety about their future?"

I, too, am a mom whose children are concerned about what they hear about global warming. When faced with their questions and concerns, I ask my children what we can do to help fix the problem. With my encouragement, my 10-year-old son decided to look beyond what we as a family do to "reduce, reuse, and recycle" and approached his school principal with ideas about how his school can leave a smaller ecological footprint, including creating a compost pile from cafeteria food waste and building a greenhouse. These ideas have been very well received.

Helping our children understand how to harness their concerns and turn them into productive ideas is important. We don't give our children nearly enough credit for what they're capable of. The wonderful thing about children is their optimism. Their heads are not filled with reasons why we can't. Instead, they ask, "Why can't we?" Walt Disney said that "our greatest national resource is the minds of our children." Let's not try to protect them from the truth. We should be honest with them and then listen to their ideas. They might surprise us.

Ms. Bennett is correct that we all need to make the effort and sacrifices to help ensure our children's future. But who knows, listening to our children's ideas might actually help us solve problems like global warming, one family and then one community at a time!

Karen Garbee
Colorado Springs, Colo.

US should change its social spending

Regarding the Feb. 10 editorial, "Curb America's debt culture": Even if we agree that we need to save more, we may not want to increase our spending on unemployment compensation, food stamps, and other mitigations of human suffering.

Which is the better choice: spend on things like preventive medicine, or just on alleviation measures such as welfare? I suggest the former is more humane, and hopefully more efficient and sustainable in the long run.

Everett Senter
Wailuku, Hawaii

Lawmakers, especially, must pay taxes

Regarding the Feb. article, "When it comes to taxes, more Americans than ever say, 'Pay up'": This article deserves praise. The frustration and disbelief of the majority of honest, low- and moderate-income taxpayers toward the lapses and dishonesty of high-income tax-evading lawmakers continues to mount.

The appointment of Timothy Geithner – who failed to pay $34,000 in taxes – to the helm of the Treasury Department is tantamount to the fox guarding the henhouse. Mr. Geithner should not ever again commit such an offense, considered to be a felony for the rest of us. President Obama also stood steadfast to the last moment behind Tom Daschle – another nominee who evaded more than $140,000 in taxes – until Mr. Daschle himself called it quits.

Many Americans, including me, wish Mr. Obama all success in his endeavors to save the country from economic disaster, and we will overlook these mistakes. However, Obama should take great care not to repeat them.

Ifat A. Shah, MD

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