Letters: Pa. treasurer's advice to parents of college-bound kids: Save upfor education

Posted: March 22, 2012

YOUR MARCH 20 editorial ("College Loans the Next Debt Bomb") correctly brings attention to a concern for many families, but it fails to mention one important strategy to address this dilemma: saving for college.

Saving for higher education offers enormous benefits compared to borrowing. If a family saves $25 a month, it could have about $10,264 after 18 years. Those savings can gain state tax deductions, too. Meanwhile, someone who repays a $10,000 loan with interest over 18 years would ultimately pay $18,563 without any favorable state tax treatment. That is at least an $8,300 difference.

As state treasurer, I administer Pennsylvania's 529 College Savings Program. I understand budgets are tight for many families, but even small contributions to a PA 529 plan will help meet the costs of higher education. I encourage families to learn more at www.pa529.com, and I hope you will too.

Rob McCord

Pennsylvania State Treasurer

Bunch blog post an attack on GOP

The shooting of Trayvon Martin seems to have Will Bunch and the rest of the liberal media in a tizzy. Bunch has graced us with his slanted views of yet another tragedy.

Bunch feebly attempts to indict the Republican candidates as weak leaders or worse (read racist) because none of them ran to the nearest microphone to condemn the admitted shooter, George Zimmerman. His motives are simple - discredit the candidates by somehow tying in their silence as proof that the Republican Party is racist. Amazing.

Zimmerman is entitled to due process under the law. Investigation has to prove he acted illegally. Only then should he be arrested.

Jim Taylor


Questions in webcam case

Ronnie Polaneczky's column on the Dharun Ravi case ("Sympathy for webcam Spy," March 20) raises questions about law, justice, homophobia, and the Internet. Jurors in the case apparently saw Ravi's first filming of his roommate's intimate relationship as the immature acts of a college kid.

But, his repeated filming and texting about what he had done were less forgivable. It is hard to imagine why we should be sympathetic to his attempts to embarrass, expose, and harass his roommate.

But the jury also found him guilty of a variety of other crimes - serious crimes - that were not directly related to his boorish, offensive, and homophobic behavior. He lied to investigators, attempted to influence a witness and tampered with evidence after he tried to cover up the avalanche of Twitter and text messages that he had used to spread the word of the film he had posted. This is surely a sad tale of lives ruined and the anguish of parents and relatives over the death of one child and the probable incarceration and likely deportation of another. But, it is hard to feel much sympathy for someone who tried so hard to violate the privacy of his roommate and tried even harder to cover up what he knew to be deeply wrong and criminal behavior. If we feel sympathy because Ravi might be deported, we should ask Congress to finally revamp our immigration laws. I hope that happens, and perhaps it will happen before Ravi is released from prison for lying to investigators, tampering with evidence, and trying to influence witnesses in his futile attempt to undermine the justice system, just as he undermined his roommate's privacy.

Paul Finkelman

President, William McKinley

Distinguished Professor of Law

Albany Law School

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