Readers write: April 8


We’re the ones really paying for Medicare

In response to “Ga’s Medicaid call affects thousands” (News, April 6), an insert on page A14 compares Medicaid vs. Medicare. On the Medicare list, the heading “Who Pays” states, “Federal government covers 100 percent of cost.” That is untrue. My husband and I have close to $250 deducted each month from our Social Security payment for Medicare. If we should have gotten it free, please let me know to expect a refund for nine years of payments.



First challenge: Help families stay together

As stated in the April 6 editorial “A necessary investment” and the “Another view” essay “Let’s change the outcome for black males,” much of the black male population, especially the young, is in crisis. Many fine programs are in place, and others are being devised. But none address the underlying issue: The destruction of the black family made possible and promoted, in a sense, by government policies over the last 50 years. These have led to a 73-percent out-of-wedlock birth rate and made a male in the home irrelevant.

Thus, the black male as a child and, later, a teen born into such a situation, has little or no male leadership or mature male discipline. Many see no father getting up every day and going to work, only an occasional boyfriend. What guidance he gets is from older teens and young adults in the streets. To begin to solve this challenge, we must recognize its underlying causes, and begin to put the black family back together with policies that encourage formation of the traditional family and discourage the present situation. Otherwise, all our efforts will achieve only marginal results, and the condition of the black male and of American society will continue to worsen.



Watchdog panel needs some ordinary citizens

The recent spate of allegations of, and actual trials concerning, unethical behavior have exposed a flaw in the way they are handled. The processes become politicized, thus diverting attention from the violations themselves to the murky realm of partisan finger pointing. The problem arises when the bodies doing the investigating are made up of peers of the accused. The solution is to create investigative bodies whose members are neither elected officials nor government employees or appointees, but ordinary citizens, as in grand juries.

If the principles and laws governing the ethical behavior of public officials are clear enough, these citizen investigators should be able to come to reasonable decisions. Thus, a legislator should not be investigated by fellow legislators, and so on; that’s too circular or insular a process. It needs more outsider or objective oversight. To borrow a metaphor from farming, if we let the fox into the henhouse, we shouldn’t be surprised if we lose chickens. A big dog roaming the farmyard might help keep everyone in line.