Letters

Letters Blame it on Pierre

To the editor:

Now that the voters have passed the $4,000,000 opt-out, the school funding problem should be solved, at least for five years. Maybe not so. Read on.

School Board President Tom Craig was quoted in last week's Plain Talk as follows: The opt-out is, at best, a temporary solution to Vermillion's school financial woes. "Five years from now," he said, "if Pierre doesn't improve the funding formula, we're going to be back asking the community to opt-out again, except that it will probably be for more than $800,000 next time," he said, "That's just to maintain where we are, that's not to improve anything."

Mr. Craig has quite emphatically stated the position of the school board. There was no indication of a restructuring nor reorganization of the school system in the next five years that would be in line with present income. Declining enrollment be damned.

Pierre has taken a stand on school funding. Some school boards have not accepted this and have elected to opt-out. Local taxpayers, like us, are picking up the tab. This new tax is a 36 percent increase over the present tax and affects all categories. The resulting $800,000 annually for the next five years, or $4,000,000, is not "chopped liver." We're talking serious money. This could become an economic remake of our personal comfort zone. Rents rising � services and products rising in price or not available.

Commercial and businesses have had a "triple whammy." First, an increase in tax valuation, second, the opt-out tax and third, the coming of Wal-Mart. Some businesses unable to pass on any of the increase in taxes will suffer and maybe even disappear.

The adjustment will probably be slow and painful. But what the hell do we care � if they can't compete in price or offer the product we'll go to Yankton, Sioux City or Sioux Falls just as we do now � only more so.

I'm an old-timer who probably won't be around to see the opt-out fight coming in five years. If declining enrollment continues and Pierre says "take a hike," will this school board "bite the bullet?" Or will it take a different school board?

Van Pierce

Vermillion

Don't touch social security

To the editor:

Social Insecurity! Our president seems bent on pushing it. Perhaps we need to know how much it costs to jaunt around in Air Force One to push a plan and still not give details the media and press would love to print free.

At the University of Chicago School of Business in 1930, no instruction was given on the Stock Market, as the crash of 1929 convinced economists stock picking was no more reliable than a dart board. There were long lines of desperate unemployed; the brightest students were selling apples on the corner or working as elevator operators. The time was ripe for the concept of Social Security as a necessary condition for all citizens. No new idea has ever been born without any congenital weaknesses, but this one would merit endless fine tuning and improvement.

After 10 long years of grinding depression it took WWII to get the wheels all turning again. Social Security covered many programs and was subject to big and little changes, but after 70 some years the country had no debt and baby boomers would soon be claiming their retirements rights. Along came the Iraq War and suddenly our surplus is gone and Social Security is under attack.

Stock Market supervision has been questionable. Many investors recently lost large sums. Business heads rolled. Stock brokers were subpoenaed. And Martha Stewart went to prison as an example for careless investors. Something must be done! Along comes the president insisting the way to go was to let young investors invest their own money taken out of Social Security!

Of course youth are always pleased to be considered able to make their own decisions. It might just help the stock brokers and financial institutions who gave so generously to the 2004 campaign.

Discussion should not pit youth against age. Young people used to accept that retiring parents would have to live with them. As people live longer that might be 20 or more years. There was a time when every county had an old folks home and an orphanage. Social Security has closed these institutions. However, Social Security was never meant to provide every need of every citizen. It has been a cushion.

Anyone who believed they needed no other resources obviously was not crunching the numbers. In a lifetime, most thoughtful people did their own augmenting whether in savings or investments in fields they knew. Recently, many saw their stock investments lost and they can hardly believe Social Security would be improved by stock investments made by individuals taking their money out of Social Security.

Rather than go flying around talking confidently but vaguely about changing Social Security, the president should appoint a task force of the most brilliant mathematicians we have an equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans and use our wonderful computers to fine tune the system to really be a system of Social Security now and forever, Hands off by politicians and special interests!

Thanks,

M. Evans

Vermillion

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