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Can the Stock Market Bear Social Security?

Regarding the Jan. 8 article, "Take Social Security Private? Be Careful," we should be very careful. There is another factor affecting stock prices to consider. A large influx of money into the market raises stock prices. The flow of money out of the market depresses prices, all other factors being neutral. Investing Social Security payroll tax in the stock market can be expected to help create a near-term surge in stock prices. As baby boomers retire and start to draw their money out of the market, stock prices may be expected to fall unless some other source of money is found to flow into the market.

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The near-term surge would be very beneficial to shortsighted Wall Streeters and firms who would benefit from the increased fees the new money would generate. Trading specialists would also benefit. People planning retirement ahead of the baby boomers may also benefit (I am one of these), but the overall long-term effect may not be beneficial to the majority of investors.

We must be very careful about the real interests of those advising on this issue. Advice from the investment industry must be recognized to contain elements beneficial to the industry but not necessarily beneficial to investors planning for their retirement.

Graeme Dick

Mission Viejo, Calif.

The power of pictures

I have always loved the Monitor for its rich articles, insightful editorials, and uplifting observations.

I write now in appreciation of another Monitor blessing I had not fully recognized. I always enjoyed the photos, thinking they beautifully illustrated the articles, but did not give them further consideration.

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This fall my son, who had just entered high school, was given an English assignment to design a collage to represent an abstract idea. He chose "determination" as his subject. In our collection of Monitors, my son found not just an adequate number of pictures but a treasure trove of artistic, evocative photographs. The depth and diversity he discovered was an eye-opener on many levels. The English instructor praised his efforts and gave him the highest grade in the class. My son gained an initial sense of achievement in high school and a tremendous respect for a fine newspaper.

Patricia M. Ali

Sumter, S.C.

Youth is no excuse in Rwanda

In the Jan. 28 article "Rwanda's Bind: Trying Children for Genocide," your reporter writes with a lot of pity and sympathy for murderers portrayed as young and innocent. Most had initially voluntarily confessed to participation - until they joined their elder fellow murderers in prisons, who advised them to not only deny that they had killed but also that genocide occurred. Did the author visit orphanages to see the real victims? Children scarred for the rest of their lives are the lucky ones; thousands perished at the hands of thugs the writer wants us to feel sorry for.

Children who kill should answer for their actions irrespective of age. If you send youths to juvenile centers for such petty things as selling dope in your country, why shouldn't Rwanda try those who take others' lives?

Titus Karegyeya


The article focuses on whether children can be guilty of war crimes. Clearly the main guilt lies with adults who incite, recruit, and use children to commit acts of violence, supplying them with the weapons to do so. The problem is not restricted to Rwanda. In news reports of past and present conflicts all over the world - El Salvador, Bosnia, Somalia, Afghanistan, South Africa, and elsewhere - we see photos of armed children: young boys who have been given power that most adults cannot handle. Arming children should be considered a war crime akin to torture and genocide. Furthermore, using children as fighters is child abuse on a par with child slave labor and child sex. The Geneva Conventions and UNICEF should unite to fight this disturbing practice.

Jeff Johnson

San Francisco

Your letters are welcome. All are subject to editing. Letters should be mailed to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, faxed to 617-450-2317, or e-mailed (200 words maximum) to OPED@CSPS.COM

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