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Letters to the Editor
What you need to know for 01/24/2017

‘Chained CPI’ just another excuse for gov’t to cut benefits

‘Chained CPI’ just another excuse for gov’t to cut benefits

*‘Chained CPI’ just another excuse for gov’t to cut benefits *Keep Essex Chain Lakes truly wild, wit

‘Chained CPI’ just another excuse for gov’t to cut benefits

A flawed policy initiative called the Chained CPI is gaining steam in Washington budget talks. It would shortchange New Yorkers who receive federal benefits such as Social Security and federal annuities by low-balling their annual cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs).

Chained CPI supporters have tried to minimize the consequences it will have on seniors, retired federal employees and veterans by calling it a “technical adjustment” or a “better measure of inflation.”

When you cut through the rhetoric, the truth is that the Chained CPI is only an adjustment in that it means smaller COLAs each year. It hurts every American — particularly our most vulnerable — in a major way that worsens over time.

How would the switch to the Chained CPI hurt an American citizen who receives the average $15,000 annual Social Security benefit? Over 25 years, Chained CPI would rob the senior of more than $23,000. For many federal annuitants who don’t receive Social Security, the impact is even greater. Over 25 years, the average federal retiree would see a loss of $48,000.

I urge New York lawmakers to reject Chained CPI and provide America’s seniors, retired veterans and public servants, and individuals with disabilities the income protection they have earned and deserve.

Irene H. Maxwell

East Greenbush

Keep Essex Chain Lakes truly wild, without motors

I grew up in Schenectady, but have lived in the Adirondacks since 1976. My friends and I are excited about the acquisition of the Essex Chain Lakes for our “forever wild forest preserve.”

However, the “wild” is in danger of being degraded by allowing motorboats and float-planes to use the [lakes]. Local governments and businesses think motors are necessary for economic benefits.

We who have canoed the St. Regis Canoe area know that it is being loved to death, that a new area designated “wilderness” — not open to motors of any kind — would be a magnet for canoeists from all over the Northeast and beyond.

Motor-free waters not spoiled by invasive plant and animal species (carried mostly by motorboats and possibly float-planes) are rare, priceless “commodities” that we need to protect vigorously, for us as well as all who will follow. The Adirondack Park Agency will soon “classify” the Essex Chain Lakes as to how they will be managed.

To save these waters from aquatic invasive species, we need to tell the governor and APA [Adirondack Park Agency] we want real “wilderness” (Alternative 1A, which allows road access within reasonable carrying or cart-wheeling distance), not just “wild forest,” a misnomer because motors can be allowed.

Evelyn Schaefer Greene

North Creek

Rumsfeld should hold his tongue on Syria

Donald Rumsfeld, secretary of defense under George W. Bush, recently said President Obama was unable to win the confidence of the American people on the Syria issue because he lacks leadership qualities and has displayed poor judgment.

This from a man who sent American soldiers into battle in Iraq on false pretenses (non-existent weapons of mass destruction), with inadequate resources and preparation and on the bogus assumption that we would be greeted as liberators rather than occupiers. This is the ultimate in chutzpah.

American military involvement in the Syrian crisis is a difficult issue, with much room for legitimate disagreement by serious citizens of goodwill.

American soldiers have suffered mightily from the poor judgment and leadership of Rumsfeld and the president he served. He would do well to follow George Bush’s lead and remain on the sidelines during this important and difficult debate.

I, for one, have heard just about enough from the likes of Donald Rumsfeld.

Richard M. Alvarez

Schenectady

Too much tobacco sold near too many schools

You know the school year is coming up when you can’t turn a corner in a store or watch television without seeing a new back-to-school advertisement aimed at youth.

Other advertisements aimed at youth include big tobacco companies’. Over 50 percent of tobacco retailers are within 1,000 feet of an elementary school in New York, becoming almost unavoidable to the eyes of children. Regardless of what they may learn in school about the dangers of smoking, all of the tobacco marketing they see tells them otherwise — that smoking is normal, accessible and cool.

Kids deserve to be protected from the messages of the tobacco industry when they walk to and from school. Educate your local officials about the need to protect kids from [such] marketing. To learn how to get involved, visit www.SeenEnoughTobacco.org.

Claire Piazza

Albany

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