Political Reporting, the Government, and Social Security

From political reporting's slow death to whether social security really is secure

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Inouye Facts We Didn’t Know?

Your “10 Things You Didn’t Know About Daniel Inouye” [July 9] left out the fact that his Distinguished Service Cross was upgraded to a Medal of Honor almost 10 years ago. It was done after a review of minority DSC earners, particularly those of Japanese ancestry.

ROBERT DOLEMAN Fort Sill, Okla.

The Monument’s Claim to Fame

Your quiz [“A Walk on the National Mall,” July 9] includes a true-or-false question regarding the Washington Monument. Though it is likely true that this monument is the tallest “pure” obelisk in the world, I think you will find some controversy about whether it is the tallest stone structure. It falls just short of the San Jacinto Monument in Texas, commemorating the decisive battle of the Texas Revolution. With the semantics of the column’s height, the height of the San Jacinto star, the quantity of stone, etc., it is probably a question that is always correct (more than one right answer) depending on whom you ask.

ROD ALLEN Houston

Political Reporting’s Slow Death

In his July 9 column [“The Slow Death of Political Reporting”], Robert Schlesinger writes, “But journalism isn’t stenography. It involves probing, context, nonsense detection and, sometimes, pointed interaction,” effectively answering his own lament about the decline of political reporting. The fact is, and the problem is, that the remaining political reporters do not do much probing, context, nonsense detection and, sometimes, pointed interaction. Increasingly, they trumpet the agenda and legislation of the Democratic party and the current administration.

STEVE WOOD Raleigh, N.C.

I have seen the Atlanta Journal-Constitution survive to profitability by becoming a politically neutral publication. Yes, it has both conservative and progressive columnists, but they are labeled as such on the op-ed page. Daily reporting of news events is essentially neutral. Most readers are capable of drawing their own conclusions regarding news.

JEROME KILTHAU Kennesaw, Ga.

The Government’s Business

Mort Zuckerman writes that “Washington’s ability to initiate a resurgence is now limited by the long-term dangers of our deficits and our debts” [“Why Business Fears Obama: Words and Deeds,” July 16]. The thing I just don’t get is, if Mr. Zuckerman is correct about the American entrepreneurial spirit and its remarkable fruit, why are we even looking to Washington to “initiate a resurgence”? Isn’t that our job as free and entrepreneurial people?

SUSAN STEPHENS Midland, Mich.

Is Social Security Secure?

The social security system is currently solvent and has enough funds from revenue and reserves to pay benefits in the short run [Editor’s Note, July 16]. For the longer term, we will probably have to tweak it a bit, such as by increasing the amount of income subject to the tax or raising the early and/or full retirement ages. Social Security is not responsible for the deficit, and its funds should be kept separate and not used for other government spending.

JANET CARLSON Pittsburgh

Call Social Security a benefit or an entitlement, but those who have contributed and those who will should know that what is promised is a promise that will be kept.

KERMIT THATCHER Wesley Chapel, Fla.

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