Inbox — April 17, 2013

Letters to the Editor

Coal No More
In response to the “Fables of Coal” news story in last week’s LEO: We have let the coal industry trick us and our elected officials into believing that if we are for Kentuckians then we are for coal. Truth is, that isn’t true at all.

According to the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development, coal-mining jobs only make up 1 percent of the non-farming jobs in Kentucky. One percent! The truth is, the coal industry is making our people sick, it is keeping our people poor, and our current politicians are fine with this. We have been led astray by the loud, insistent voices from the industry that say Kentucky’s economy would flounder without more mining and looser regulation. The truth is, we are already floundering, and it is because of the lack of diversity in our economy.

We need a candidate for senator who will stand up against the propaganda and do what is right for the people of Kentucky. And I’m here to say that if you do, the youth of Kentucky are ready to stand with you and will support you on Election Day.

We know that the voices of many Kentuckians have been silenced through fear tactics inflicted as a result of coal propaganda or wrongly convinced by the few voices who have been so loud. But my generation knows only the fear of a future where something isn’t done to transition us to renewable energy, and we have shown that our voices at the polls are loud and important. Give us a candidate worth voting for and we will.
Cara Cooper, Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition, Lexington

Underfunding the Risks
In the April 3 CityStrobe, Joe Sonka reports that Rep. Jim Wayne and the Kentucky Public Pension Coalition complain that the pension reform proposal moves “toward the riskier corporate model of 401(k) plans.” The question is, riskier for whom?

401(k) plans put the risks on the individuals who own and manage them. The current public pension system puts the risks on the taxpayers. Under the current system, public employee unions support politicians who will work to raise promised pension benefits based on unreasonably optimistic projections of investment returns. Then, when the inevitable shortfall arises, taxes are raised to keep those promises. It is possible, however, that the underfunding of pensions could cause budget shortfalls that no amount of tax hikes could ever pay. Indeed, underfunded pensions are a large part of why several cities in California have declared, or are considering, bankruptcy. What happens when the Kentucky retirement systems are unable to continue paying?

The responsibility for retirement should be on the prospective retiree. The money now put aside for the pension systems should be added to paychecks, and workers should provide for their own retirement with Individual Retirement Accounts. The problem is in the transition. Perhaps the proposed reform will be a step in that direction.
Rich Mills, Shawnee

Deluded LEO Editors
As a conservative/libertarian, I often read LEO with amusement. Is there any living person with “Republican” next to their name worthy of a scintilla of credit, much less who might pass muster through the pearly gates? You (editors) and many of your ardent followers have such a black-and-white view of the world, and what is this about portraying Mitch McConnell as the devil? All of you are so deluded, thinking you will unseat Mitch.

Face it, people, Kentucky is conservative enough that Mitch will stay in office as long as he wants, and in spite of your ranting and raving, he is viewed as an honorable adversary to the “liberal forces that threaten our Republic.” I know that this letter will have no effect on you and many of your “Kool-Aid” readers, but realize that at least half of your potential readership is much more conservative than your editors. Regardless, I always look forward to reading your entertaining magazine.
Harry Davis, Jeffersonville, Ind.