2/1 Readers Write


Credit: pskinner@ajc.com

Credit: pskinner@ajc.com

Pushing back entitlement eligibility is prudent

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin recently said spending cuts should be considered, excluding Social Security and Medicare. Yet reasonably pushing back their eligibility ages (e.g., to 70) is the most logical and fair means of making a dent in spending. U.S. life expectancy has increased by almost 30 years from 1900 (the year of birth for the first group of people eligible for both programs) to 2021. The Social Security retirement age has increased only two years; the Medicare eligibility age hasn’t increased. Medicaid and Obamacare help many transition to Medicare. The Social Security tax rate has increased from 1% to 6.2%. The Congressional Budget Office, which has historically underestimated future federal debt and federal debt-to-GDP ratios, last year forecast 38% of federal revenue will be needed to pay interest expense in 2052. Expect a financial collapse and related insurrection before then. With them will go the 401(k) and IRA balances of the middle class. Democrats will only increase entitlements. I expect only tough talk from Republicans.


Atlanta must intensify efforts to grow, protect trees

Cutting a tree has long been optional, but as our climate warms, healthy trees are becoming essential to the lives of city dwellers because we must have the “air-cooled” cities that trees provide (News, Jan. 22). Cities become “heat islands” in hot weather, and the best coolant is an abundance of trees. Intensifying heat waves will pose a deadly threat to the infirm and every living thing inhabiting a city’s “heat island.”

The familiar trees between the sidewalk and the street tend to grow slowly and are subject to problems. There are better approaches. The Japanese originator of the “Miyawaki Forest” spent many years developing a way to create healthier, faster-growing “forests” in spaces as small as a backyard. His methods are now used for accelerated tree growth in cities worldwide. Heat-threatened Mumbai has 100,000 trees in Miyawaki forests.

Trees are becoming vital to city life. In the near future, we must greatly intensify efforts to grow and protect them.