I twice carefully read Robert J. Samuelson’s commentary about the United States’ budget and its deficits (“Let’s be candid about our budget deficits,” Feb. 15). He begs for candor in discussions of our nation’s fiscal policies and practices. As he says in his second-to-last paragraph, “The basic conflict posed by the budget is not between rich and poor but between workers and retirees. Current policy favors … the past over the present and the future.”

I apologize for living so long. Of course, it matters little to Samuelson that I have paid into Social Security my entire working life — and in my profession I paid “both sides” of the cost, the employee’s and the employer’s.

His argument is that Congress should pass laws that would limit my Social Security or send me back to work. Congress has done this before. My older brother was one of those who, when they patched up Social Security several years ago, fell into the “doughnut hole.” It wasn’t fair, but, of course, Congress saved some money.

Samuelson is right that it is not a conflict between rich and poor. It is a conflict between those who are so rich they can almost arbitrarily make rules so they can get richer while the poor inevitably get poorer.

Is it possible that the excessively rich might influence laws that would allow those who do not have the opportunity the rich have to at least get a job that would allow a comfortable standard of living? That, I can see, is not part of his candid discussion.

I’m sorry that I am living at least a comfortable life and spending Samuelson’s hard-earned contribution to the Social Security system. The only solution, according to his reasoning, is that I hurry up and die. Again, I’m sorry, but I intend to attend my great-granddaughter’s wedding.

Glenn E. Swope

Alliance

Perfect for ?County Council

There is a new spirit in Kenmore, with a large and growing group of residents committed to making our community a safer, more vibrant place to live. We are blessed to have an active group of young people well-prepared to lead us into a very exciting future. For me, none stands larger than Nolan James.

Nolan is the director of admissions at the University of Akron’s School of Law. He is a loving father, devoted husband and a tireless civic leader. As the captain of Kenmore’s Highland Park Block Watch, I have had the pleasure of watching the impact Nolan is having in his adopted community.

He is the perfect choice to represent District 7 on the Summit County Council, perfectly suited to solving even the most difficult challenge. Please join me in voting for Nolan James for the Summit County Council on March 15.

Greg Burke

Akron

On target ?against violence

I was encouraged by the Feb. 16 article “Basketball clinic coaches students in nonviolence.” In America today, it seems as though we don’t know how to deal with the terrible violence epidemic.

Garry Mills is right on target. To fight violence, we need to deal with the issue, violence, not the form with which it is carried out. The “Shoot Basketballs Not People” shirts are genius.

On Feb 7, there was a front-page article on the gun show at the Summit County Fairgrounds (“Gun enthusiasts in the majority”). Outside there were protesters with signs reading, “End gun violence.”

Trying to make more gun laws hasn’t and will never work. It does nothing to change the person taking up a gun to commit a crime, which is already illegal.

I believe that Mills has a much better approach. Why address only gun violence?

Joe Troyer

Hartville

Helping others, ?working together

Local government is so important for our day-to-day lives. Roads, snow removal, sewage treatment, public health, economic development — all of those functions we can’t do for ourselves, but we can do together. Nick Kostandaras understands this, and that is the reason I so strongly recommend his re-election to Summit County Council in the March 15 primary.

I’ve lived in Richfield for 60 of my 72 years and have known Nick for a long time. He was a Greek immigrant, coming to this country as a 14-year-old. His young life was rough and challenging on the mean streets of New York City.

Nick found his way to Akron, with its vibrant Greek community, and to Richfield, home of farmers, trucking and business. Never forgetting his humble beginnings, Nick has made helping others his top priority.

Nick is a businessman and understands the needs of businessmen like himself. But he also knows the needs of the people of Summit County. Nick’s greatest strength is not as a traditional politician. He is at his best when dealing with constituents and the leaders of the local communities he represents, keeping them abreast of county activities or hearing and acting on constituents’ concerns.

William Logan Fry

Richfield