Forgiving student debt — Is it an unfair advantage for this generation, or does it counter an unfair spike in tuition costs?

What we should do about all that student debt

Re: “And what for those who graduated debt free?” May 22 commentary

The commentary by Dick Wadhams did not list one positive thing about the idea of reducing college debt for individuals. Paying off college loans will yet have to be debated; it is not a law.

In debating this idea, positive ideas must be on the table also. FDR signed into law the GI Bill in 1944, and about half of the 16 million World War II veterans took part in this federal program. It has been said that a dollar invested in each young GI paid our economy back sevenfold. This was a good investment in America’s future. Reducing college loans would do the same.

Paying off some college debt would be stimulative for our economy. Young people being helped in this way would be able to buy new cars, homes, vacations, start new businesses sooner, invest in the stock market with retirement accounts sooner, etc. This earlier investment would lift all boats with higher market valuations and more tax base to use in paying down federal debt. It is pro-jobs. Even people who did not go to college would be helped by people buying more products from the companies they work for, again, lifting all boats, including Republican boats.

Even President Trump knew this. In 2017 he signed the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act, also called the Forever GI Bill, into law. This bill expanded veterans’ educational benefits. Paying off some college debt can also be considered an investment in America’s future.

Truman Sager, Windsor

My experience closely mirrors Dick Wadhams’ as I was raised on a farm in northwestern Illinois and worked since a very young age. My parents raised six children and greatly sacrificed to help their children attend college and graduate debt-free. We all worked in the summer and also had part-time jobs while attending college. Through hard work and sacrifice, we were all able to send our children to college and allow them to graduate debt-free.

The idea of forgiving student debt is a slap in the face for all those hardworking students and parents who either paid or borrowed funds and subsequently paid off loans for their college education.

Bradley Mitchell, Morrison

I graduated from college in the 1970s. Like Wadhams, I supported myself through college back then. However, what Mr. Wadhams fails to do is put college tuition in context.

At the University of Colorado in 1978, full-time tuition at Boulder was $333 per semester with fees of about $90 for a total of about $423 for the semester. In today’s dollars that would be about $1,875. Tuition for a full load at Boulder in 2022 these days ranges from $7,118 (Arts and Sciences) to $9,854/semester (Business) plus $883 in fees each semester. One major difference between now and then is the direct state support for the University of Colorado, which has lowered significantly.

What Wadhams is essentially saying to today’s college students is, “I got mine from the state, but you can’t have yours.”

In 1978, you were able to support yourself and at the same time walk out of college with little to no debt. Today that is not possible unless you have very rich parents or you are an academic/athletic superstar with lots of scholarships.

Ask yourself the following: What high school graduate has between $64,000 to $85,00 at his disposal to pay for fours of college tuition and fees?

Michael Connelly, Golden

I don’t believe the election was stolen, but . . .

Re: “It’s Trump’s party, and he’ll lie if he wants to,” May 22 commentary

Your readers will recognize the title of Jamelle Bouie’s article as a paraphrase of Lesley Gore’s 1963 hit song, “I’ll Cry If I Want To,” but his article is about lying rather than crying. Specifically, it’s about what the author refers to as the “Big Lie” — Donald Trump’s position that the 2020 election was stolen from him via election fraud.

Personally, I don’t believe the election was stolen. If it had been, at least one of the numerous courts in which Trump filed legal action would have found substantial evidence. But that has not happened, at least not yet.

My lack of complete certainty is born from having let liberal news outlets persuade me five years ago that Trump-Russia collusion was real, so real in fact that it merited an investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Trump told us a thousand times along the way that it was all a big hoax, the biggest in American history. We now know, of course, that he was right.

Not only was it a hoax, but Hillary Clinton’s ex-campaign manager testified in a high-profile trial last week that Clinton approved sharing uncorroborated and false information with the press about the Trump organization and a Russian bank during the 2016 election. The Russia-Trump narrative that Clinton authorized did enormous harm to the country.

Many were certain in 2017 that then-President Trump would be formally charged with collusion. But it turned out they were wrong, and they might be wrong about the “Big Lie” too.

J. Steve Holloway, Lakewood

The hard choices of pregnancy, loss and life

Re: “Health risks, money, rape — Why these eight women chose to have an abortion,” May 22 news story

My heart goes out to the women in the article who chose abortions.

What we are not talking about are the additional consequences of forced birth if Roe vs. Wade is overturned.

Many states are including exemptions in their abortion legislation if the mother’s life is at risk. Who exactly decides when the mother’s life is at risk?

In our case, after being diagnosed with preeclampsia, my sister, her husband, and her doctor were the ones who decided she should stay in the hospital so her son’s lungs could grow stronger.

Her life was at risk, but it was a risk they decided to take. In the 25th week of her pregnancy, medical professionals concluded that she should deliver immediately. I shudder to think if some commission or government bureaucracy had to be contacted to assure that this was an acceptable termination of pregnancy under an archaic law. We could have lost both my sister and her baby.

Her nurse told me that my sister kissed her baby boy’s forehead before she died. He’s now old enough to start a family of his own, hopefully in a state that honors the sanctity of a woman’s body and the trusted and confidential relationship between a woman and her doctor.

A million things can go wrong during a pregnancy, but a million things can go right. Any involvement by the government or any third party is morally wrong in such a personal and heartbreaking decision.

Christine Betts, Denver

It was with great interest that I read the article about the eight women who chose to have abortions because when I was pregnant, I had every single risk factor that these women had, but I recognized that the life of my child had intrinsic worth.

For the sake of balanced reporting, I hope the Denver Post publishes the narratives of similar women who decided against abortion because there are other life-affirming solutions. I am the daughter of, the sister of, and the mother of an unplanned pregnancy and each of our lives is worth living.

Just like them, I endured pregnancy-shaming, a verbally abusive partner, unsupportive family, under-employment, zero maternity leave; I was un-insurable with a fetus who had a potentially lethal complication.

These hardships were not due to my pregnancy but due to a society that does not think pregnant women and mothers should have the same access to college, career and creativity as others. Despite these set backs I am in a good place now, and I did it as a mother.

Rebecca Sposato, Denver

Whether it’s a pandemic or a shooting, American’s seem to value life less

Re: “Is mass death now tolerated in U.S.?” May 22 news story

On the front page, there was a thought-provoking article about whether we have become more tolerant of incidents resulting in mass deaths, including those from COVID and also deaths resulting from gun violence. I think many of us have become more tolerant.

I often point to the Sandy Hook shooting on Dec. 14, 2012, in which 20 first-graders and six adults at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., were shot and killed. Many of us thought this incident was so horrible that it would definitely result in gun control.

However, it didn’t happen, and since then, I have been very concerned about the decency or lack of in this country.

Contrast the United States’ response to Sandy Hook with that of New Zealand’s response to a mass shooting in their country. Almost immediately in New Zealand, gun control measures were implemented, and there was very little opposition.

The loss of human life in this country, whether from gun violence or from a public health crisis, does not mean what it once did. It is very concerning.

David Ryan, Montrose

When it is our time to go, is it our time to say so?

Re: “Doctor-assisted suicide for mental illness?” May 22 commentary

Krista Kafer’s column on assisted suicide deals with the greatest reality in life. Everybody dies. When and how?

She is right about not having mentally ill people decide to end it all.

On the other hand, those of sound mind and unsound body should be given that option. Why make them suffer for six months when death is inevitable? I think an off-ramp should be an option for anyone 80 years old or older who finds it compatible with their religious or other convictions.

I greatly admire those who struggle to overcome great odds. Those who run races on artificial legs that have replaced legs blown off in combat are among the many who overcome great obstacles to create meaningful lives for themselves.

God bless anyone who forges ahead in the face of great physical challenges.

In my mid-80s, with numerous health challenges, I wouldn’t mind an off-ramp when life becomes more than I wish to bear.

My wife and family have been wonderful to me during my various health problems, and I would never check out voluntarily without proper procedures and consultations. However, when does it become apparent that you have stayed too long at the party?

If my doctors can prop me up enough to give my life some meaning, I’m happy to stick around.

Otherwise, I’m ready to face the inevitable and join most of my contemporaries who have experienced the inevitable.

It gives me comfort, perhaps foolishly, to think that a baby is born to replace each person who dies.

We had our shot at life.

Let them have theirs.

John Dellinger, Aurora

Two examples of mass death on the front page of The Post

Re: “Health risks, money, rape — Why these eight women chose to have an abortion” and

“Is mass death now tolerated in U.S.?” May 22 news stories

Sunday’s adjoining front page articles present a tragic paradox.

Author Michelle R. Smith wonders whether society has become tolerant of mass death, giving examples of COVID-19, AIDS and gun violence.

The adjacent front page article by Saja Hindi outlines the factors leading to abortions by eight women since Roe.

I suggest that America indeed has become inured to mass death as a result of the 60 million abortion deaths of preborn children since Roe vs. Wade.

We need look no further than the other side of the Post’s front page to understand America’s tolerance for mass deaths.

Ken Jordan, Fort Collins

Bad behavior in Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Re: “Probe includes comments by director, Black employee,” May 20 news story

It seems no one in the Colorado Parks and Wildlife incident has behaved or communicated well.

Alease Lee has every right to be offended by Director Dan Prenzlow’s reported remark, but to project profane language in public emails is also offensive and an unpersuasive means to demonstrate her indignation.

I don’t think Supreme Court Justice-designate Ketanji Brown Jackson would have progressed very far in the confirmation hearings if she had used such language to address remarks that she was pedophile-friendly.

I think both of these Parks and Wildlife employees owe an apology to the public for so poorly representing a state agency.

C Greenman, Lakewood

Message for the NRA from a frustrated teacher and mother

Re: “19 children killed,” May 25 news story

To the people of the NRA, what is your justification for why an 18-year-old can have access to an AR-15 assault weapon?

This isn’t about your rights. What about the rights of those children and their right to live? When a large majority of our population suffers from mental illness so profound that they would think shooting up a movie theater, a grocery store, a church or a school is the answer, how can keeping access to guns be the solution?

Even more sick than this is the fact that decades after the Columbine High School shooting, this country has grown numb. The people in charge are NOT being held accountable because they are still under the thumb of the NRA, who pay millions of dollars lobbying Congress to not pass gun legislation.

What world are we living in, where money is the end-all be-all, more important than the lives of children? High levels of metal found in baby food? A formula shortage? Mass murders at school?

What sick reality is this? Money and power trump all, even the lives of children!?

And what does someone like me even do? I am a teacher. I am a mother. I went online and signed petitions and donated money and I’ve been taught my vote “counts,” but do I have faith in the people running this country to do anything?

No.

When my children are in school, decades from now, do I think this could happen again? Yes. That is sick.

Alexandra Harnisch, Montrose

More RTD riders could mean better service

More RTD riders mean a better and better-funded system. Good, well-funded public transit systems remove cars from the road.

Cars kill thousands of Americans annually, are a major source of air pollution, contribute to the unsustainable growth of cities into sprawling exurbs, degrade the health of drivers who travel too many miles but don’t physically move enough, and make valuable public space essentially privatized and inhospitably barren and dangerous.

Public transit is important because it’s the only sustainable, viable, affordable option to move millions of people every day in a city,
and as Denverites, we have a real opportunity to get out of the car and onto the bus or the light rail.

I take the RTD, but I don’t ride it as often as I’d like.

Even for the popular 15/15L along Colfax Avenue, wait times can be high and it costs $6 for my 1.5-mile ride downtown and back.

RTD isn’t perfect, but it’s the only system
we have. And we can make it better.

Increased ridership and public interest in RTD will help push dollars toward buses and light rails and help make Denver a more accessible city.

Take a ride on an RTD line. Take a ride for your next outing or to get to work. Think about your experience and how it could be better, and share with your family, friends, RTD representative and community.

Austin Miller, Denver

We must respond to Uvalde

Re: “19 children killed,” May 25 news story

Another horrific shooting and families left to grieve for the rest of their lives. Why are we so stupid that we can’t enact reasonable gun-control laws? Why aren’t we pressuring our legislators to ban assault weapons and demand expanded background checks? Gun deaths in this country are an epidemic that will only continue until we stand up and demand action.

Karen Roberts, Littleton

What if we had a constitutional amendment that read: “Because transportation is critical for the economy of a free state, the right to own a horse and tie it up at any business that serves the public shall not be infringed.” Would we interpret it today to apply to automobiles? Would driver’s licensing, vehicle registration, and parking regulations be a matter for the Supreme Court to judge? Could people graze their horses in public parks?

The Second Amendment bases the right to bear arms on the need for a well-regulated militia to ensure the security of the country. At the time the Constitution was written, citizen soldiers with their own primitive weapons (by today’s standards) had recently opposed the British at Lexington and Concord.

Today we have a National Guard and its armories. The Guard fulfills the need for a well-regulated militia, and its members do not have to provide their own flintlocks. We no longer need a completely unregulated armed citizenry to ensure our security. In fact, our well-armed citizenry has proven, time and again, to be destructive of that end.

We should interpret the Second Amendment in the context of our times. Instead of repealing it, just declare it moot! States and communities should have the right to regulate guns according to the wishes of their citizens, just like with cars and other matters of law.

David Wolf, Lakewood

I am a proud gun owner. I love the freedom to own a firearm, codified by the Constitution of the United States, upheld by the court, and defended by my fellow Americans. I am also in shock and full of sorrow.

As I write this, news continues to come in on the shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas. The most important question: What possesses a person, just 18, to walk into a school in his community and open fire? Why, per local news, did it take two and a half hours for parents to get kids? Why was this shooter in the school for about an hour? How did he have such easy access to classrooms? Why can we not come together as adults and find common ground to address this and not have an “all or nothing” mentality? Why can’t we let the families grieve before the politics start?

I will not give up my guns, but I absolutely understand the responsibility of this freedom, and we’re failing.

Craig Winter, Aurora

I’ve already given up attending concerts, fairs and rallies because of mass shootings. Now must I also be afraid to go to the grocery store, movie theater and school and use public transportation? Apparently so.

Listen up, legislators. It is way past time to enact meaningful gun control measures.

And by the way, you’d best also focus on mental health. Murdering 19 children in a school isn’t entirely a gun issue, although it would not have occurred without this weapon.

Terri Tilliss, Parker

In the wake of recent horrific mass murders, left-leaning politicians will renew their call for gun control. Exactly the opposite is what is required to halt the slaughter of innocent children in schools.

Teachers and security officers must be given their own handguns and they must be taught how to use them. Labeling certain areas of a community — especially schools — gun-free zones makes it easy for crazies and others bent on killing to carry out their psychotic plans.

More security in the person of parents, veterans, and the like, if they are not sufficiently armed themselves, will not be able quickly to apprehend a maniac intent on taking innocent lives. We must put guns within their reach.“Gun control” may be a powerful election-year slogan, but it does not come close to the positive solution of “arm the teachers!”

Mary Anne Little, Denver

Developer metro district abuse must be stopped

Re: “Developers can still abuse taxpayers,” May 1 editorial

I wholeheartedly agree with your editorial. The developers take advantage of legal devices to continue abusing the homeowners who buy into their projects.

These metro district bonds are the closest thing to immortality there is on this Earth, and the only true beneficiaries are the developers who rake in millions of dollars over and above the profits they make on the homes themselves.

I just attended an “open house” where the developer touted all the wonderful things they have done and will do for us, but the true cost paid by us was glossed over and an honest answer to homeowner questions was not available. The cherry on top was the disclosure that all the metro special districts are what developers used to insensitively call “slaves” to a “master” district. The “master” dictates the mill levies that the “slave” districts are required to put on the homeowners.

It is cleverly constructed so that even if and when the resident homeowners get elected to their respective boards, the master is insulated and will never be taken over by homeowners.

In our case, the “master” has no actual residents, only fictional “residents” who are employees or shareholders of the developer. We will eventually get out from under these usurious bonds, as state law limits the life of the bond-issuing capability to a mere 40 years. That’s about twice as long as my remaining life expectancy.

I applaud your sunlighting of this abuse and strongly urge our state representatives to put an end to it.

Jack Sosebee, Commerce City

Good work exposing the solar tariff troubles

Re: “Tariffs may dim solar industry,” May 15 business story

Your Sunday article by Judith Kohler on the potential damage to the solar industry by a U.S. Department of Commerce investigation of tariff evasion tactics by Chinese panel makers is a perfect example of needed oversight by a free press.

Whether investigations are prompted by business interests concerned about damage to their bottom line or by the government trying to redress inequities or potential damage to citizens, a clear look at a problem in a broader context is an essential corrective to give the general public a better idea of where its true interest lies.

In this case, a well-intentioned government effort to prevent cheating by the Chinese may cripple a crucial effort to convert to solar in time to save our climate and long-term prospects. In another, it could highlight the tendency of corporations to maximize short-term gains for investors like ourselves at the expense of its own relevance to a changing world.

Clear-eyed reporting is as necessary as air and water to all our citizens. Keep up the good work.

Deborah Fialka, Denver

Don’t end patient metrics from care facilities

Re: “Better care for the mentally ill,” May 21 letter to the editor

The letter writer’s assertion that demonstrated patient improvement as a metric for future facility funding “promotes” fraud is flawed. Yes, it can create the opportunity for fraud but does not “promote” it.

Furthermore, what other means can those controlling the purse strings rely on, if not assessment results? To remove this from the means for funding justification would also remove accountability and transparency, not to mention incentive on the part of mental care professionals to help ensure that patients are on a good path to recovery. And helping the mentally ill is the goal here, right?

Gary Rauchenecker, Golden

What about Fifth Amendment?

Re: “Bill to combat fentanyl passes,” May 13 news story

While the benefits of Colorado’s legislative bill criminalizing possession of even a dusting of fentanyl can be debated, the lawmakers’ last-minute change regarding burden of proof is, without any doubt, a corruption of long-standing constitutional tenets of American justice.

The bill, as passed now, provides that a person charged for holding any drug with even a trace of fentanyl is prosecutable for a felony. Once charged, in order to reduce the charge to a misdemeanor, the bill imposes upon the defendant a “burden of proof” to prove he or she did not know the substance contained fentanyl. Out the window goes Fifth Amendment protections, particularly if the basic allegation of the possession itself is at issue.

That such a development has taken place in Colorado’s Democrat-dominated legislature is ironic, and the published quote of state Sen. Brittany Pettersen (D), cheering on this notion of a defendant’s chance to “prove his innocence,” is disturbing, to say the least.

Hopefully, our appellate courts will soon hear a test case allowing them to invalidate the law, which will prompt the legislature to get it right.

Peter Ehrlich, Denver

Three degrees, debt-free

All this back and forth in the national and local media about student debt bemuses me. I have heard no one address the issue as I will herein. When I graduated high school, I came from a single-parent family of very limited means. At the time, there were very few vehicles for paying college tuition. “You want a loan, kid? What collateral do you have?”

So, how to get an advanced education? Solution: I enlisted in the U.S. Army for three years with a promise that the Army would train me in a six-month tech program. After discharge, I worked all through my four-year B.S. program and received an NIH grant to support my master’s degree. Later in life, my GI Bill benefits kicked in and supported me during my three-year doctoral program. I managed to earn these three degrees completely debt-free.

Wake up, youngsters! Where there’s a will, there’s a way! Just how badly do you want it?

Gene Abkarian, Fort Collins

Ruling on religious grounds

Re: “There’s no comparison between abortion and same-sex marriage,” May 19 letter to the editor

The writer misses the point of the article he is criticizing. Nobody is arguing that there are substantive similarities between abortion and same-sex marriage. Obviously, there are important differences, as cited in the letter. The point is that people in the Supreme Court and Congress are using their religious beliefs to determine their positions on important issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage.

If they succeed in denying the right of a woman (and her husband and her doctors) to determine whether or not to have an abortion, there will be other targets, including same-sex marriage and birth control. One of the crucial tenets of the First Amendment is the right of people to practice their religious beliefs without interference from the government. That means, in particular, that the government (e.g., Supreme Court, Congress) is not allowed to establish laws based on religious beliefs.

What we are experiencing is the right wing trying to cram their religious beliefs down the throats of the rest of us. The Roe vs. Wade debate is a manifestation of that, and so are the debates related to LGBTQ rights.

James W. Craft, Broomfield

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