Re Social Security vs. global warming (Barry Paschal's column, "Hurry up, and wait," Jan. 30):
First, Social Security. The Social Security trustees, by law, must use a 1.5 percent growth rate in their estimates on the amount of payments into Social Security. Since this is an underestimate, that explains why the year Social Security can no longer fund itself at the current rate constantly moves outward (from 2040 to 2052 in the last few years.)
A crisis? Threatened bankruptcy? No. Something as simple as raising the ceiling on Social Security taxes moves the "crisis" 20-30 years forward using even the trustees' gloomy figures. And this is not a "bankruptcy," but simply only paying 70-80 percent of what it should, providing no changes are made.
And no one is calling for no changes. We are simply saying that a minor change in the system now will alleviate drastic change 50 years from now, when the system would first start to need added money.
In other words, as a system, a minor change today will overcome the need for any drastic future changes. No crisis, just a situation that needs to be dealt with.
On global warming: Sure, there is no consensus. Scientists paid for by the coal industry say there is no problem. Every other scientist say global warming is here, and is a threat. The lack of consensus is two-fold: how much (not if) carbon dioxide pollution is adding to it, and how much warming will occur in the next century.
That doesn't mean that anyone with any knowledge of global warming thinks the threat isn't real, or that it will have severe consequences. It simply means they don't know how bad it will be.
Unlike Social Security, once polar ice caps melt, you can't simply restart them.
And this is not a leftist propaganda stunt. Paul O'Neil and Christine Todd Whitman (former Bush Cabinet members) both have staked their reputations on the fact that global warming is a problem, only to have their reputation trashed by this administration. O'Neil's objection to the Kyoto treaty was that it didn't go far enough; it only pushed the inevitable warming 10 years down the road. Yes, this conservative, hired by Bush/Cheney, thought that global warming was not only real, but a serious threat.
Where did the old conservatives go? The ones that were less worried about touting media approved spin points to gain brownie points and more concerned of the direction of the country?
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