Readers write 8/24

SOCIAL SECURITY

Congress needs to show some courage

The recent article on Social Security illustrates once again how Congress is failing the American people (“Program fixes doable but politics tough,” News, Aug. 20). If they are not elected to make tough decisions, why are we paying them? Each year, the lawmakers wait as the need for bigger changes becomes greater — and more painful.

Based on the options presented, I would favor increasing the payroll tax 0.1 percent points a year; adopting the Chained CPI and changing the calculations for initial benefits. Those three actions eliminate the shortfall and provide a surplus. These actions require some sacrifice from all of us (which I believe is needed). Yes, I am a Social Security recipient.

My final word is to Congress: Show some courage and make the tough decisions now.

JOHN TITUS, STONE MOUNTAIN

ELECTION 2012

Real tax question is Romney’s compliance

The non-issue of whether Mitt Romney paid income taxes continues to figure prominently in political discourse. The question should be whether Romney has fully complied with federal tax laws. If Romney complied with the tax code as written (and there is no evidence that he failed to do so), then the tax issue is irrelevant and should be laid to rest.

Congress writes the tax laws. If they are wrong, Congress can change them. In the meantime, every American has the right to take advantage of every deduction and exemption the code allows. There’s nothing illegal or unpatriotic about doing so; it would be stupid not to.

Avoiding taxes is something any smart person does. Evading taxes is a crime. Romney is no criminal. If Harry Reid has evidence to the contrary, let him come forward.

RICHARD DOWIS, WALESKA

THE ARTS

Atlanta Symphony at financial crossroads

As an Atlanta Symphony Orchestra board member, I commend you for the comprehensive coverage of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s financial crossroads.

The challenges we face are complex. Public arts funding in Georgia is last in the nation, and while our donors have been generous to the orchestra, we are far from a balanced budget.

Because there are so many wonderful, needy social service organizations in Atlanta, the arts often suffer when it comes to giving — but difficult times call for shoring up the emotional needs of our community. Nothing can lift us up more than music.

To secure the very existence of the ASO, now and into the future, we have to fix our compounding debt. The solutions to cutting costs are not easy. In the spirit of shared sacrifice, we are counting on our musicians to come to a sustainable agreement. Together, we will see brighter days.

MARY ROSE TAYLOR, ATLANTA