Giving retirees $250, while helpful, underscores crisis

Still, it largely serves to underscore the crisis in America, where wage earners routinely lose ground, where retirees and the disabled often find themselves living in an increasingly difficult situation; where wealth for a few seems to be predicated on the systematic elimination of the middle classes and carried out with little or no human concern; a business matter.

Two hundred-fifty dollars is not an amount, as much as it is a signal, from the administration to those trying to survive: We hear you, we know you are there. For all our efforts to keep the economy from entering catastrophic failure, help for you is to come. Yes, it will take time. You are important — have no doubt.

Spending on homeland security, though important, might better be spent upon seniors and others who qualify for Social Security programs. These are people who know what side of the bread gets the butter and would gladly make any sacrifice for a country that at least tends to care.

Huntington Beach, Calif.

Healthcare reform is not about Snowe

From Peter Shaw

(Regarding article “Snowe and Dems advance health on 14-9 panel vote,” Oct. 14.) The Congress needs to be reminded that the healthcare reform bill is not about Sen. Olympia Snowe.

Kudos to Snowe (R-Maine) for attempting to reach some agreement with her adversaries, but to allow the final bill to hinge on the approval of Sen. Snowe or her Republican colleagues is shortsighted and entirely inconsiderate of the needs of the American people. It is time for the Democratic majority to face up to its responsibilities and, in a responsible way, wield the power that the electorate afforded them to achieve sweeping healthcare reform.

Doing that is the only way to ensure the Democrats’ hold on Congress. Otherwise, the voters will enact their own sweeping reforms come election time.

Louisville, Ky.

Doesn’t anyone care?

From Mary Ann Nacinovich

What is going on with the bill to extend unemployment benefits that is stalling in the Senate? I’m starving to death! Doesn’t anyone care?

New York City