Readers write

Response to "Paddling common outside metro Atlanta" News, Oct. 27

Corporal punishment makes no sense — either intellectually or morally.

How can an adult hitting a defenseless child with a wooden paddle be justified? Of course, there must be consequences when a child misbehaves, but surely, there are other options that don’t border on child abuse.

We’re sending the wrong message to our children when we say that those in authority must use fear, pain and intimidation as a way of addressing misbehavior. Corporal punishment is harmful and counterproductive, and it must go.

JERRY SCHWARTZ, ALPHARETTA

ECONOMICS

Endangered species:

the U.S. middle class

Tyler Cowen’s book, “Average Is Over” (as discussed by Doyle McManus in “Economist sees future without a middle class,” Opinion, Oct. 27) bolsters my own belief that the rapidly dwindling U.S. middle class will inevitably disappear.

There was a time when average work-a-day skills, a basic education and an ubiquitous, ingrained work ethic (absent the “I deserve” mindset and beyond-the-pale expectations) were sufficient to make for and sustain a well-off middle class, the envy of the rest of the world.

The unvarnished version of today’s reality, however, is that whatever “manifest destiny” we once enjoyed has been co-opted by technology and a formidable host of highly motivated, upwardly mobile, better-educated, tech-savvy non-U.S. citizens who do not believe the world owes them a living and a comfortable retirement. This, along with an ever-growing dependence on increasingly dysfunctional/incapable government at every level, justifies to me Cowen’s prediction.

DAN COWLES, CUMMING

COMMENTARY

Challenger disaster

a poor cartoon choice

Fair and balanced is one thing; tasteless and offensive is another.

The Challenger explosion — or something looking remarkably like it — depicted in a recent Michael Ramirez cartoon should be off-limits for a political satire cheap shot (Opinion, Oct. 27).

People died horribly in a very public way in that explosion. They were, and are, real American heroes. An apology is in order.

JOEL CHARLES, CUMMING

PUBLIC PENSIONS

Need comparison of

public, private plans

The AJC article on Atlanta’s public pension crisis was quite interesting (“Debt gets deeper for public pensions,” News, Oct. 27).

Eliminating services and/or raising taxes is not the solution. There are two areas that need to be investigated. First, what percentage of current salary is paid out for pensions? Compare that to pensions in the private sector.

Second, most private-sector companies have converted from “defined benefits” to “defined contributions” out of necessity. Those mostly left on “defined benefits” are the public sector, including teachers. Defined benefits are just not sustainable — yet there was little mention in this article about changing the pension plan.

GAIL VAIL, GREENSBORO

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