Needless risk

Amongst the reporting and “expert” cyber security commentary about the ongoing “hacker gate” saga, nobody has asked or answered the most basic question: Why does already filed tax information need to be stored on an Internet accessible computer?

Answer: It does not need to be there. The best cyber security turns out to be an “air gap” from the Internet.

The S.C. Legislature has been noticeably silent on the problem.

Has the Tea Party heard about this? A couple of years ago it was horrified at sharing driver info, and now its leader, Gov. Nikki Haley, wants every citizen to register with a corporation that is partly foreign owned.

Fred Weickhardt

Shaftsbury Lane

Summerville

Return to sender

Recently the U.S. Postal Service announced a $16 billion net loss for the past fiscal year. The Postal Service identified the causes as folks using the Internet for transactions and correspondence, and pre-funding its promised health-care benefits for retirees.

The first cause reflects obvious changes in the marketplace, and it clearly illustrates that no business or government service can ignore the dynamics of marketplace change and innovation.

The second cause illustrates a common failure of government services in general.

Government service programs/agencies are almost always created and structured on an economic model that is “well understood” and stable at a given point in time. Once created these programs are not easily changed or modified, largely because of employee, bureaucratic and especially employee union, interests.

Employee salaries and benefits are figured into the initial model. However, if the market conditions on which the model is based change (e.g., economic/technical changes), the integrity of the model is disrupted, unanticipated consequences ensue, and these consequences do not always favor union interests.

Economists have for years documented the fact that structural configurations and rules that attempt to block transactions or constrain the scope of markets result in limited and poor allocation of resources. The current situation of the U.S. Postal Service is a near-perfect illustration of these economic and practical misunderstandings.

Jonathan Walker, Ph.D.

Coral Reef Drive

Johns Island

Alarming signs

What’s happening to West Ashley? Almost daily one hears about armed robberies, break-ins, home invasions, murders or drug deals gone bad.

This was once a rather quiet part of town containing the birthplace of South Carolina, Drayton Hall, Magnolia Gardens, Middleton Place, scenic Ashley River Road, old St. Andrews Church, beautiful subdivisions (especially the Crescent) and thriving commercial enterprises.

Popular attractions abound — Citadel Mall Theater complex, Earth Fare and wonderful places to eat.

All this is cheapened by massive traffic jams on Savannah Highway and Sam Rittenberg Boulevard, among others.

But escalating crime is by far the most serious problem. Something has got to be done — the sooner the better.

Bill Bryan

Joy Avenue

Charleston

Work together

I’m 80 years old and am a staunch Republican. I did not vote for President Obama, but I recognize he is president for the next four years.

I read about the impasse among members of Congress, and I am distressed that there is so much entrenchment and unwillingness to negotiate.

Our country, its people and its economy are in desperate straits.

Why can’t our representatives put aside partisanship and simply focus on what honestly needs to be done to revive our people and the economy? We must bring back an economy that provides jobs for all who want them and provide benefits for those who accept the risk to provide those jobs.

To me it seems straightforward. We must cut spending and increase taxes. By the same token, we as individuals need to put aside our differences in favor of the greater good for all of us and our country. Let’s do it.

Allen Miles

Parkwood Drive

Summerville

Finger-pointing

The word prejudice was not part of the vernacular in my family; I was taught to treat each individual with dignity and respect.

As a nurse for 32 years, I can honestly say that the care provided to my patients has been the best I could offer. I am far from perfect; and I must say that God’s command to “love your neighbor as yourself” is not always easy.

One issue that I struggle with is the NAACP’s and ACLU’s continual discontent and finger-pointing. The media often make this worse. I am not turning a blind eye to the fact that problems exist. But rather than continuously blaming a particular problem on discrimination or racial profiling, why not be part of the solution?

For the last 15 years I have run free clinics in the poorest area of North Charleston. On any given day, too many young people walk the streets, not in school and getting into trouble, who could benefit from mentoring. There are young children who could use help with homework; parents who could benefit from classes on parenting, financial management, etc.

Turn this negativity into some positive service within our community. And just a thought: A photo ID is necessary for many activities of daily living; it is also required to apply for government assistance programs. Let’s be sensitive to the needs of all individuals and attempt to look at all sides of each issue.

JUDY DILLOW

Nantuckett Avenue

North Charleston

Don’t blame kids

After reading your article, “Foster kids can be school headache,” I am convinced your misleading headline should have read, “Schools can be headache for foster kids.”

GRACE REED

Lenwood Boulevard

Charleston