Would you give our nation a loan?
The loan officer asked the man sitting across from him a few standard questions.
"What are your liabilities?" he asked. The man said $580,000.
"How much do you make?" Only $25,000 per year, said the man.
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"What are your monthly expenses?" The man answered, "$3,300 per month."
The loan officer looked incredulous, frowned and said, "Wait here while I check on something."
A few minutes later, the loan officer returned, all smiles. "I checked with my chief financial officer, Stan Poor Mathskills, and he said you have an AA credit rating," the officer said. "In fact, you just barely missed an AAA rating. I'll be honest with you: When you told me that your expenses were more than your monthly income by a wide margin, I thought you were completely bankrupt, especially with your existing liabilities. But my CFO indicated that you are a great credit risk. Go figure. So how much would you like to borrow?"
The question is: How much would you lend this man, given his horrendous financial situation? Before you answer, consider that this fictitious man has exactly the same ratios of income, expense and liabilities as the federal government.
STEVE W. CARTWRIGHT
Reducing a serious public health issue to a bumper-sticker slogan, a letter writer argued against insurance coverage of contraceptives because "pregnancy is not a disease" (Aug. 9 Letters to the Editor). The writer ignored the many health benefits of contraception and was also strangely dismissive of the overwhelming majority of Americans who use contraception to decide for themselves when and how many children to have.
Consistent contraception is highly effective. Indeed, the 65 percent of women who use contraception consistently over the course of a given year account for only 5 percent of unintended pregnancies.
But cost can be a daunting barrier, in particular to a woman's choice of a long-acting intrauterine device or implant, which are the most-effective methods available but also have high up-front costs.
In reality, the Obama administration's decision to accept the recommendation of an Institute of Medicine panel and require insurers to cover contraceptive services without additional out-of-pocket costs for women is a significant victory for all Americans. It is grounded in a strong body of research showing that contraceptive use — by helping women avoid unintended pregnancy and improve birth spacing — has substantial benefits not only for their own health but for the health and well-being of children, families and society.
CORY L. RICHARDS
Executive vice president
for public policy
Living like dogs
No one can deny abortion is a method of birth control. Sadly, some can justify this, saying it is necessary because the woman was raped or a victim of incest. But other women face the unplanned burden of an unexpected pregnancy after a moment of extreme physical passion. Either way, a pregnancy is terminated.
For the most part, if we are old enough to engage in sex, we also are old enough to know it might result in a pregnancy. Unlike dogs and cats, we have the ability to reason, to anticipate the results of our actions and to take responsibility for those actions.
Many who are pro-choice and believe abortion is acceptable admit that the real answer to stopping abortion is the prevention of unplanned pregnancy. Though this might be true, we will never prevent unplanned pregnancy if we live like dogs and cats, and have the convenience of destroying the results of our actions with an abortion.
One of many characteristics of Homo sapiens is compassion for others. With the lack of compassion shown by many for an innocent, helpless unborn child, we soon will see the same lack of compassion for the elderly and infirm.
Check out hills?
Soon we can go to a visitor center in Manhattan and learn about the Flint Hills ("Flint Hills center to open in April," Aug. 13 Local & State). This is great; I do not get to walk out and check out the Flint Hills myself.
Now you can check out the hills only by staying on the township roads. But wait — I could just stay home and get on the Internet and explore. I will learn more that way than from a visitor center. By doing this, I do not stop by a restaurant, motel or even buy gas. Maybe tourists will do the same thing.
Good job again, Kansas.