Fix the debt, but protect the needy
On the surface, the proposals by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson in their Sept. 16 Common Ground, Common Good commentary ("A leap of trust can seal a budget deal") appear to be sound ideas – especially if one accepts the idea that entitlements are a major cause of US national debt.
Their fix to entitlements includes raising the age of eligibility and reducing the cost-of-living increase. There is no doubt that some entitlement reform is needed, but these two "fixes" could hurt the most-vulnerable Americans. The wealthiest Americans and corporations need to pay more in taxes as they arguably benefit the most. We have had higher tax brackets in the past and the economy has grown and people have prospered.
We need government to enact policies that will stimulate the economy, create jobs, reduce poverty, benefit the most people, and protect the environment. We can't "fix the debt" on the backs of the most vulnerable. Having a balanced budget and eliminating debt are important, but how we balance the budget, reduce debt, and care for all Americans is just as, if not more, important.
Rodeos are shows of animal cruelty
I was surprised and dismayed by the Sept. 16 photo spread, "Old-school rodeo." Rodeos, although less cruel than dogfighting, cockfighting, and bullfighting, can nonetheless be seen as exhibitions of animal cruelty. The horse bucking wildly in one of the photos is doing so because of the tight band around his body just in front of his haunches. He is bucking wildly in part to get rid of the extreme irritation and possible pain that the band is causing.
The "wild cow milking" event is captured in another photo: Once the rider on horseback successfully ropes the "harried" black cow – already terrified by the chase and the crowd – several cowboys will then grab at her in an attempt to "extract a drop of milk." This hardly qualifies as "hijinks."
A number of organizations and websites chronicle the extreme cruelty visited upon the livestock used in these events.
Susan M. Penner
Beverly Hills, Mich.