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Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Washington's spending folly
Both Michele Starkey's ("Don't do as the Romans did") and Regina Norman's ("Numbers don't add up on Syrian aid") letters raise the same and correct question: Why are we giving our tax dollars to others?
Ever since the sequester took effect, all you hear from Washington is the doom-and-gloom impact on our lives because of the resulting budget cuts.
And yet we can give $60 million in aid to Syrian rebels, and Secretary of State John Kerry gave $190 million to Egypt. (To help them pay their bills?)
The government seems to have enough extra money to send our new secretary of state around the world to give our taxpayer dollars to other countries.
Sounds like folly to me.
Reform should not make the poor poorer
In his State of the Union address, President Obama said we must "restore the basic bargain that built this country," which I interpret to mean preserving and strengthening our retirement and health security programs.
Polling has shown that most Americans agree with sensible reforms, including allowing Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices and safe re-importation in Part D and lifting the payroll tax cap in Social Security.
These strategies will save money without cutting benefits.
But proposals to expand means-testing in Medicare and cut annual cost-of-living adjustments with the chained consumer price index, as the president proposed earlier, breaks his promise not to damage a secure retirement.
A COLA change of $130 less per year in benefits, for example, will grow to a $1,400 loss later on. That is money that would likely be spent in Main Street businesses.
It's time for the president and Congress to realize that cutting already modest Social Security and Medicare benefits is not a path to a strong economy.
Are not the vulnerable and disadvantaged impoverished enough?
KEITH T. LEONARD
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