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MARK PROTIVA

Cotati

Marching for change

EDITOR: I bow to the Generation Z leaders who have emerged from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. They’ve called for marches nationwide to end gun violence on March 24. I’ll be here in Santa Rosa marching with them.

We must demand that our government adopt laws similar to those created by Australia after its 13th mass shooting, the Port Arthur Massacre in Tasmania, where 32 were killed and 17 injured. The government instituted a mandatory firearms buy-back and set strict limits on who could own a gun.

Mass shootings since that time: zero.

The National Rifle Association has 5 million members. How can they control the gun laws? Yes, politicians do feed at its trough, but the majority of its influence comes in money spent ($420 million in 2016) on advertisements and mailings backing its preferred candidates or criticizing its opponents with vividly alarming messages about crime and self-defense.

We must take control back and demand our government follow real “gun control” like those laws instituted in Australia.

See you on March 24.

DOT GEIGER

Santa Rosa

Fed chair and debt

EDITOR: The following statement from Jerome Powell, our new Federal Reserve chairman, gave me pause:

“Alone among all kinds of debt, we don’t allow student loan debt to be discharged in bankruptcy,” Powell told the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday. “I’d be at a loss to explain why that should be the case.”

Student loans are low-interest, unsecured debt. Loans for things like homes and cars are considered secured debt and typically carry a low interest rate. During the 1970s, to make education more affordable, Congress passed a series of laws allowing lenders to give out low-interest unsecured education loans with the covenant that they couldn’t be discharged. If education debt could be discharged, it would be like credit card debt with an undesirably high interest rate.

Powell’s statement demonstrates a naive understanding of debt that doesn’t instill confidence in his ability as chairman of our central bank. Asking about the nature of debt is akin to a pilot asking why flaps are necessary.

JAMES MILLER

Santa Rosa

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