The United States has cancer ["No compromise as default looms," News, Oct. 8]. What is cancer but the uncontrolled growth of a few malignant cells with a single-mindedness to kill itself and the entire body in which it lives. What are the actions, the philosophies of the Republican tea party but the exact same?
The tea party doesn't see itself as being a part of the whole, part of a nation. The tea party cancer is clueless that a house divided against itself will not stand; yet the party's members insist on dividing us.
JoAnn Sweezey, Huntington
The government shutdown and debt limit impasse unfortunately remind me of an exchange from the movie "Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy."
An exasperated Bud Abbott asks of Lou Costello, "How stupid can you get?" To which Costello innocently replies, "How stupid do you want me to be?"
The difference is, beginning with House Speaker John Boehner, there are no innocents in Washington.
Clifford D. Glass, Rego Park
I can appreciate the writer's frustration at the government shutdown ["The political and the personal," Letters, Oct. 8]. But in all fairness, I have to correct his assertion that members of Congress retire with "extravagant benefits."
As a retired federal employee, I know that members of Congress retire with the same benefits as the rest of us, which are undeniably reasonable but hardly extravagant. These benefits are provided under the Civil Service Retirement System (of which I am a recipient), or, for those who were elected in the 1990s and after, the Federal Employees Retirement System.
Civil Service retirees receive no Social Security benefits other than those earned from outside employment, and then at a reduced rate. Federal Employees Retirement System participants receive a combination of federal pension and Social Security income.
Paul Jacobs, Huntington