Letters to the Editor: January 5, 2018

Not what we paid for

For the past few years, Social Security recipients have watched their monthly checks get smaller.

The Obama years were the worst. It was first time since cost-of-living adjustments began that there were no increases — not once, but three times. The other five years saw raises that were often less than 1 percent.

As hard as it is to believe, George W. Bush provided raises for more than eight years that doubled those under Obama. The reason given during Obama’s administration were that prices weren’t rising, so no raise was needed.

The problem was that prices were rising substantially. Adding insult to injury, the same people who denied raises because prices weren’t rising then raised the cost of Medicare more than they raised benefits, resulting in a string of benefit reductions.

I saw a monthly raise this past year under Trump of $4.50. It’s a sad commentary to say that this is improvement.

Never to be outdone by Obama, Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan says that in 2018, the GOP will slash Social Security benefits to pay for the tax cut.

This isn’t what I anticipated, watching 7.5 percent of my lifetime earnings deducted to pay for this. It’s too bad Democrats seem to have abandoned their defense of Social Security from neverending GOP attacks. It feels like taxation with lousy representation.

Fred Fawcett


Critics vs. the dork side

One of the most anticipated movies of 2017 was “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” However, the release of the latest “Star Wars” installment has brought about a rift between average fans and professional critics.

When the franchise was revamped in 2015’s “The Force Awakens,” the film was met with adoration from fans and critics alike. The difference between the average fan and critic ratings on the website Rotten Tomatoes was just five points — 88 for fans, 93 for critics.

The latest installment failed to capture the same level of consensus.

The spread between the critic and fan ratings for “The Last Jedi” is 40 points — 91 to 51. Unfortunately, the bottom end of the opinion scale comes from the general audience.

While this is not the first blockbuster to elicit such contrasting views from critics and the rest of us, it is fairly surprising.

“Star Wars” is a pop culture icon. Whether the reviewer was a casual fan, obsessed fan or professional critic, everyone generally loved the original trilogy as much as they hated Jar Jar Binks.

So why the divergence of opinion on the newest film? It could be that fans rebelled because it didn’t fit with the rest of the series, but critics were willing to judge it on its own merits as something completely separate. Or maybe critics weren’t as susceptible to overly high expectations.

Whatever the reason, it may be time to re-evaluate the idea that critics can provide better opinions than audiences.

Colt D. Freitas



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