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When will the wealthy share in the sacrifice?

Once again, Robert Samuelson refers to the "not so well off" elderly as welfare recipients. Once again, the middle class will be called upon to "share in the sacrifice" -- while the wealthy share in the tax breaks and the financial pampering bestowed upon them by the needy, ambitious politicians.

It doesn't matter that the Social Security Trust Fund is made up of money we, the workers, have been paying into it while we worked, so that we'd have something to help us during our retirement yers. Not all of us were in a position to put money aside for the future.

No one will admit that greedy politicians dipped into the Social Security coffer. If this money had been left alone, and used only for the purpose for which it was established, there would be no need for concern. If you take into consideration the countless individuals who never make it to retirement age, that alone accounts for excess in the fund.

Since the well-to-do love their tax breaks and loopholes, the least they could do would be to forego their Social Security check. I believe that would take care of middle-class retirees through the next century. In addition, it would help if all our Washington representatives took a cut in their overpaid salaries.

I just purchased a T-shirt that states, "Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups." I believe the recent debates in Washington substantiate that statement.

Patricia A. Pawlowski

Collins

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Offer residents a discount for paying tax bill up front

I would like to see the City of Buffalo implement a percentage discount for taxpayers who would like to pay all their taxes or fees up front for the year. The recent News article regarding the user-fee billing is an example of how taxpayers and the city could both benefit by giving a percentage reduction to rate payers who pay the bills in full. I know this is done in North Carolina.

How about ending the garbage fee, once and for all. It should be included in the tax bill like it was before. And why not end the added water and sewer fees, like the meter capacity charge and the sewer drainage connection charge? Are we not paying enough for water and sewer already? The money the city gets in interest on up-front payments would probably cover the 2 percent or 3 percent a taxpayer would receive from such a program.

Joseph Teresi

Buffalo

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Stop giving our money to defense contractors

Why don't the Republicans hold up President Dwight Eisenhower as their flag bearer instead of President Ronald Reagan, who was responsible for the Iran Contra scandal? He defied Congress and gave aid to the Nicaraguan Contras, who in turn, sold guns to our enemy, Ayatollah Khomeini. That's treason, folks. Reagan was a puppet of the very rich with an actor's personality, with a little shake of his head and a nice smile. He was put in office to break unions and we are seeing the culmination of that right now.

The crybaby Republicans stomp their feet and go home with their ball when they don't get their way. They don't want to tax billionaires, or end tax breaks to Exxon Mobil, which reported a profit of $10.7 billion in the second quarter. They take stupid pledges not to tax these people. Social Security is a solvent account. How can Republicans hate something that helps power Americans? It is not an entitlement; it's money they paid into.

Stop the malarkey about entitlements. Put people to work by taxing the rich. Use that money to put a high-speed rail system throughout our country and put hundreds of thousands of people to work. Stop giving our tax dollars to defense contractors. That is where our money goes. Make no mistake about it. We have an arsenal that could blow up the whole world numerous times.

Melissa Pazzaglia

East Amherst

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Death of Navy SEALs is reminder of war's horror

The killing of 30 young patriots in Afghanistan, including 22 Navy SEALs, is a true American tragedy. The SEALs were from Team 6, the same unit that brought Osama bin Laden to justice. The same elite unit that works secretly and undercover in an everlasting war and unforgiving terrain a world away.

As we come to know these warriors today only through death, we find them to be strong in faith, country and family. But the most telling thing about these anonymous warriors is that they are like us. They are husbands, fathers and brothers with families and children and extended families that loved them.

Many of us go on with our everyday lives, never thinking of these brave soldiers and their many sacrifices until death brings the horror of this tragic war to us in all its reality. Hopefully, we can all take a minute to reflect and say a prayer for these brave Navy SEALs and their families. May God bless them and may they rest in peace.

Phil Ryan

U.S. Marine Corps Veteran

Buffalo

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City should be outraged over lawyers' commercial

What a shock! Cellino and Barnes law firm has put one over on City Hall. The same guys who can barely keep a straight face during their ubiquitous commercials? The same lawyers who promise to "get you all you deserve"? One of whom was suspended for six months from practicing law in New York State for unethical behavior? What they did by filming a TV spot in City Hall was as brazen as it is funny. Did they do it to see if they could get away with it?

The government of the City of Buffalo, which everyone knows is an oafish bureaucracy, should be outraged. Which begs the question: Was City Hall complicit or just plain stupid? Either way, Buffalo was put in a less than glowing light.

Charles Brothwell

Orchard Park

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Truly great leaders are a thing of the past

Like always, when things go wrong we hear: "Throw the bums out!" But this won't solve anything today. We probably have the best leadership we can expect. Our real problem is deeper than we care to address. We as a society have degenerated (an understatement).

It all began in the '60s when we thought far more of ourselves than we ought and began to throw out many of the time-tested pillars of the past. And this has continued to the present.

Now we no longer have available as a society the stuff of which good leaders are made. We've trashed it! And the result is our problems are becoming far more than leaders today can handle.

It's like Grandma's cake. It was so delicious, but no matter how we try today we just can't replicate it. We can't because the ingredients today are just not what they used to be.

Jack Telaak

Orchard Park