Staggering debt

Our official national debt is approaching $11 trillion. However this does not include an additional $53 trillion for unfunded promises for entitlement programs such as Social Security. This is unbelievable! Why isn't this amount being shouted from the rooftops? The current economic crisis is bad enough, but people just don't realize the size of the problem we face. Our nation will fail if drastic changes aren't addressed in Washington.

Ben Merrill

Jefferson Hills

Matter of security

Ensuring the continued existence of our automobile companies is critical to our national security. If we look back to World War II, we see victory was due in large part to our ability to outproduce Germany and Japan. Today, since we have exported numerous manufacturing facilities, it is especially important that we maintain even a diminished auto industry to produce war material in case of a major conflict

Peter R. Lantos


Level playing field

Re: "Smoke and Mirrors" series:

There is nothing to indicate that the nation's air, water, land or human health have been compromised by specific acts of the Bush administration. Clearly, it inherited an EPA bureaucracy run amok, routinely trampling on the rights and freedoms of citizens in its zeal. The great success of the last eight years as it relates to the environment is that a more even playing field has been achieved among the competing interests of business, property owners and environmentalists without compromising environmental quality.

Michael Hudson


Recovery investment

It is reassuring that President-elect Barack Obama's economic recovery plan will emphasize public-works programs. This is not just "tax and spend," but rather making a precious investment in our woeful infrastructure while creating jobs. Also important is investing in our unemployed. If financial institutions and auto companies can get a bailout, our unemployed deserve substantial help, which will stimulate the economy through spending on food and other necessities.

Steven M. Clayton

Ocean Township

» READ MORE: StevenClayton@Optonline.Net

Don't run, Chris

I see speculation is running high that Chris Matthews may run for the Senate (" 'Hardball' host edges closer to Senate run," Monday). I enjoy Matthews' show on TV and think he is very bright - but the man never shuts up to let his guests answer a question. I can see him in a debate with Sen. Specter. Poor Arlen will never get a word in edgewise. We have enough long-winded politicians. Stay on TV, Chris, where you're appreciated.

R. J. Costello



Ban the bullets

Re: "N.J.'s .50-caliber nightmare," editorial, Saturday:

As a law-abiding citizen and a firm proponent of the Constitution, I believe New Jersey's proposed ban on .50-caliber rifles should be directed at the ammunition. It's not the weapon that permits the bullet to travel up to five miles. It's the ammo.

Ian E. Levin

West Chester

Tower out of place

The proposed skyscraper on 18th Street ("Arch St.'s a bad place for ultra-tall and dense tower," Friday) sounds more like a developer deal of yore rather than a product of public planning. It is a terrible, ill-considered project in a city not short of vacant land with subway service elsewhere. And it is wasteful in a city that can ill afford the tax abatement that will subsidize it.

Lawrence Houstoun


Blame game

Jonathan Last made some good points about the current economic crisis ("Let the chips fall where they may," Friday). Unfortunately, they all went to waste when he attributed all future buyouts in his penultimate paragraph to Democrats. Wasn't it President Bush who rescued Wall Street? Didn't John McCain "suspend" his campaign to help, and didn't other Republicans go along?

There are many valuable opinions about current topics that are worth considering, but they should not all come down to blaming the other political party.

Alfred Abel