Traverse City Record-Eagle

September 25, 2012

Letters to the Editor: 09/25/2012


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Who benefits?

The choice on Medicare: Democrats want to keep it a government program; Republicans want to privatize it. Here are the facts:

Overhead: Two percent of Medicare's budget goes to overhead. Private insurers spend 17 percent. (Source: Kaiser Family Foundation.)

Controlling medical costs: Medicare medical costs grew at an average rate of 4.3 percent between 1997 and 2009.

Private insurance costs grew 6.5 percent per year. (Source: Congressional Budget Office.)

Top administrators at Medicare earn about $250,000 per year compared to the $20 million plus compensation paid to some insurer CEOs.

Who benefits from changing Medicare?

You? Or big insurance companies?

Richard Gans

Northpor

Don't be 'Key North'

As a resident of Traverse City and a frequent visitor to Key West, Fla., I've discovered many similarities between these popular destinations. Many are positive: sunsets, unsalted or salted; pies: cherry or key lime; music: Buffet or Seth and May; literature: Hemingway — or Hemingway. Heck, we even both have a cute, trendy "Old Town."

But there's trouble in paradise: Affordable housing is virtually non-existent, forcing local service employees to commute long distances along seasonally congested and dangerous highways. Long-standing shops and galleries have been uprooted in favor of an endless succession of gaudy and tasteless T-shirt and souvenir stores.

Quaint residences and stores have been razed and replaced with "vanilla box" and multi/use structures, many of which sit vacant. Bar brawls and disturbances are commonplace within the main visitor corridors, overtaxing the resources of the already-stressed police force.

Public oceanfront spaces are over-run by vendors and aggressive party goers, transforming once-peaceful areas into season-long waterfront carnivals.

Do these problems sound familiar? We must not forget the reasons why we — and seasonal visitors — come to this beautiful area. Otherwise, we will easily and sadly become "Key North."

Martin Pavlock

Traverse City