Letters to the Editor

With the Old City of Jerusalem as a backdrop, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney delivers a speech on July 29 in Israel. URIEL SINAI/Getty Images

Culture does make a difference

Mitt Romney was right to observe that culture plays a large part in Israel's superior economic vitality compared with Palestinians ("A Romney remark riles Palestinians," Tuesday). There was nothing racist about this observation: He made no reference to religion or ethnicity, let alone race. He referred to culture, which indeed makes a major difference

What would you expect when Israel has a culture of private enterprise, research, innovation, and technological development, while the Palestinian Authority (PA) is afflicted with crony capitalism, endemic corruption, and other market distortions?

One has only to look at PA TV programs, radio broadcasts, and newspaper articles to see that it is the terrorist, not the entrepreneur, who is honored. The PA doesn't name streets, schools, and sports teams after scientists and inventors. It names them after suicide bombers and jailed terrorists.

Michael Goldblatt, chairman, Zionist Organization of America, New York

Treating government as the enemy

What a sad irony that Republicans, who have made demonizing government a constant and major effort, are now flat-footed because they find that they must depend on governmental agencies that they have stripped of personnel and resources to handle the ever changing implementation of their draconian voter-ID law ("Dueling figures in voter-ID hearing," Friday).

Both the Departments of State and Transportation have been made to look like Keystone Kops in rolling out the voter-ID requirements. This is what happens when government is treated as the enemy in the hands of Republican legislators.

Beverly Hahn, Blue Bell

Can't keep taxing and spending

Social Security was set up to be a self-contained retirement plan ("Social Security disaster myth," July 29). The funds were never supposed to be used for anything else. Now the money is part of the general fund and spent on anything Congress deems appropriate.

Barbara R. Bergman admits that the "IOUs" the Treasury sends back are indeed worthless, but says that Social Security is really not different from the other things the government pays for, such as the national parks, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Department of Defense. She argues that our taxes are very low compared with other developed counties, and, if necessary, the public would support higher taxes to support Social Security benefits. I assume that the other countries she is referring to include Greece, Spain, and Italy, which are on the brink of economic collapse.

The money that every hardworking wage earner contributed to Social Security should have stayed in the fund. It should not have been transferred to the general fund and spent. We cannot continue to spend and tax, or we will find ourselves in the same boat as European countries on the verge of collapse.

Steve Dalton, Philadelphia, s.m.d@comcast.net

AK-47 on the subway

I was dismayed, but not surprised, by the story "Subway rider with AK-47 arrested" (Thursday). It reminded me of the men who opened fire on a SEPTA bus in North Philadelphia, of the shootings in Aurora, Colo., and of other mass shootings around the country.

It's disturbing to know that the only thing preventing moviegoers, police officers, transit riders, and others from being gunned down is the tenuous sanity and goodwill of homicidal maniacs.

Geof Castle, Collingswood