'The Current Dangers of Nuclear War' panel at CU

According to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, the dangers of nuclear war are at their highest since 1953. Russia and the U.S., the two nuclear superpowers, are on opposite sides of a potential nuclear escalation triggered by events in Syria, Ukraine and Iran.

The U.S. attack on Syrian government installations on April 14 had a lot of experts and citizens wondering if our luck in preventing nuclear war was running out. Before the strike, Russia had repeatedly said that if any Russian soldiers or personnel were killed, they would retaliate. Russia and the U.S./NATO are also on the opposite sides of the deadly war in the Ukraine. Ukraine is on Russia's border.

First-strike policies and uncertainty about what the other side will do increase the dangers of escalation. Russia and U.S. diplomacy is at an all-time low, lower than during any time during the Cold War. Diplomacy is needed to prevent war.

The president and the Pentagon make their plans with very little input from the American public. We cannot sit aside and be silent. We must press Congress, who are supposed to represent us, to play their constitutional role to stop endless war and prevent nuclear war.

A panel discussion titled "The Current Dangers of Nuclear War" will take place Thursday, May 3, and will focus on the flashpoints for nuclear war between the United States and Russia: Iran, Syria, Ukraine. Panelists will include Ron Forthofer, Judith Mohling, David Barsamian and Moji Agha. The event is at 7 p.m. at G130, Duane Physics, CU Boulder and is free. Your voice is essential in efforts to prevent nuclear war.


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By Carolyn Bninski, Boulder

Change 529 plan to help lower-earning families

Fifty years ago, anyone with a part-time job and an entrepreneurial spirit could pull themselves through college. Millions of Americans echoed the classic rags-to-riches story by climbing the economic ladder through raw talent and force of will.

But now things have changed. College now costs more than a part-time job can pay for, and millions of Americans who could have gone to college a generation ago are now stuck with no opportunity. Between then and now, higher education costs have surged by 538 percent, and prospective college students have seen their opportunities dwindle. My entire classroom feels the pressure.

Now is the perfect time to restore the American tradition of affordable higher education by amending the 529 savings plan. The savings plan exists to provide tax breaks to families that save money for college. As it stands, this savings plan is well-intentioned but flawed, because it provides an identical tax break regardless of the family's income. In practice, the program gives tax breaks to high-income families that do not need them and still does not do enough for lower-middle-class families that struggle to pay their way through college.

The proposed amendment to the 529 savings plan being considered by the state legislature would shift the tax breaks from higher- to lower-income families, cutting an unnecessary government subsidy and providing lower-income families with the opening they need to enter the high-earning, high-producing workforce.

Everyone should want this. Education is the single most effective long-term investment we can make in our economy by helping young lower-middle-class workers help themselves. Not only would this mean more opportunities for struggling young workers to claim their share of the economic pie, it will mean a bigger pie for all of us. This amendment is a good deal for Colorado, and I urge readers to contact their representative and tell them to support it.

By Wyatt J. Coonen, Boulder