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Letters to the Editor
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Aquila overlooks one key SS issue

Editor, Ceres Courier,

This is in reference to Mr. Aquila's article on the "Coming collapse of Social Security":

He overlooked one of the main issues that have cause and effect of the failure of the system itself. I feel there is no need to go back to 1935 when the system was started.

The system was also designed as a supplemental saving for those who wished to retire in the coming years. The amount donated to the Social Security in the days when the system was started was very low. In the mid 1930s when wages were about 50 cents per hour, the amount contributed was very low.

The overall fact that millions of Americans were contributing made the difference in how fast the system grew. By the 40s the amount grew to staggering amounts of money, by the raises and the amount of people who were working in that 5 year period. The fact that the US was being threatened with an impending war did help the social security plan because more people were working for the buildup of the military's need for weapons for the coming war.

That now brings us to the point where money was needed to support the war effort, and the only place to get the money was our Social Security funds, that were paid back after WW II.

The real efforts of Americans was to utilize that social security money for supplemental incomes not retirement accounts as Mr. Aquila states. That is the main part of the problem, with the social security and the abuse of the system. Those who died in the wars, their families received a check for $10,000 as a death benefit. If they had children under the age of 18 or children who were going to college would receive funding.

Large amounts of money were collected to help these families in need. Congress voted against a pay raise for Social Security. At that point in 1949 the war with Korea was just starting, and the attacks were increasing and the need to escalate our troops over there were necessary. Thus causing another need to raise money for war against Korea, the government borrowed from Social Security again.

Now a system was in place to borrow money and raise money and pay the system back by raising taxes. Now comes the most important part of what Mr. Aquila's scenario forgot to mention. The cost of wars were causing the inflation in America. Now people are not saving money for a rainy day. By the 1960s the Vietnam war had started and again causing turmoil to our economy. Social Security was being drained of revenue because of the wars and the survivors and their families. Not only for death benefits but the entitlements of the children to be raised and to continue their educations.

Then later at the end of the Vietnam War we had offspring of American troops and those were in the hundreds of thousands. By this time the social security system still did not make the adjustments to the tax increases to allow the system to build an equity. Thus the system was failing. The need was to increase the number of taxes to keep up with the spending of the system. Now we are in 2009 and we are still fighting wars and supporting foreign countries.

The increases should have started in the 1940s when the money was being spent. Let's not allow any administration to use our social security system for any other agenda but for American citizens who have worked and contributed into the system, for a supplemental retirement plan.

Thomas A Benigno

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Ceres should lower taxes, not hike them

Editor, Ceres Courier,

The May 19 statewide election showed that people are tired of paying taxes and footing the bill for our government officials who can't balance a budget.

I think it would be wise if Ceres officials could begin looking at the tax rate here. I know the people of Ceres voted to increase its sales tax by a half a cent for public safety but now Ceres has the highest tax rate in the county.

I live on the border of Ceres and Modesto and I can easily buy my gas and food in either city as they are about the same distance from my home. Ceres is the highest city in Stanislaus County for sales tax. There is no incentive for me to buy in Ceres except to pay a little more. I believe that this actually hurts business in Ceres, especially if you are buying the higher prices goods like cars and furniture and jewelry and things like that. Our elected leaders here should take the lead and lower our taxes at least to the average level as the rest of the county. Once you do that, I will return to Ceres to get my gas and food.

John Alacanter,


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Protection from unfair business practices

Editor, Ceres Courier,

How sad that hard-working American people cannot count on their elected representatives to protect them from unfair business practices. Two years ago, based on my debt to income ratio and ignoring my stellar payment history, four of my credit cards with the highest balances raised my interest rates to the maximum 24 percent to 30 percent causing my monthly minimum payments to jump up to $350.

They became completely unmanageable causing me to be late and ruining my credit and dashing any hopes of financing anything else for over seven years at a reasonable rate. Our entire American way of life depends on great credit and they severely limited my ability to make any significant purchases regardless of the fact I had always paid my bills on time. They've ruined any hopes I might have had for retirement but maybe that's the evil plan...keep us working and paying taxes until we die. Shame on you.

Therese Andrews

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Letters to the editor will be considered for publication but must be signed with the author's name, address and telephone number. Letters should contain 250 words or less and be void of libelous statements. Letters should be sent to: The Ceres Courier, P.O. Box 7, Ceres, CA 95307. Letters may also be emailed to