Take money from Social Security, Medicare, raise taxes to balance budget

In your recent column in The Swartz Creek View you lamented the decline of American politics to “some of the lowest depths I’ve ever seen.” You then went on to contribute to that decline by expressing the same kind of inflammatory, uninformed, one-sided opinion that has caused such political polarization.

About the president’s comment that Social Security checks may be delayed unless Congress raises the debt ceiling, you wrote: “ That is extortion, plain and simple.” But, obviously, if the government runs out of money, payments of many kinds may be delayed. What else would you expect? If you run out of money, won’t your bill payments be delayed?

You say the government should put the young, the sick, the elderly and the troops first. But it is the Republicans who insist President Obama make deep cuts to the social programs that benefit these constituencies most, rather than raise the debt ceiling. Yet these same Republicans had no problem voting 19 times to raise the debt ceiling under George Bush. What did George Bush need a debt limit increase for? Mainly to finance wars and tax cuts.

So, why are the Republicans suddenly making a “principled” stand against raising the debt limit now? Could it be that they want to “force potential rivals to give into [their] demands,” the very thing you criticized the president for doing in your column?

The nation’s long-term debt is tremendous. Cutting some bums off welfare or eliminating funding for the arts or cutting the budget of HUD or similar actions that conservatives favor will make virtually no appreciable dent in our debt.

Americans need to know that. The only place to get money to keep the country solvent is: Social Security, Medicare/Medicade, the military and taxes.

According to you, the first three of these are off the table, since the young, the sick, the elderly and the military should take first priority. So, the last option is the only possible course. Yet you spend no ink criticizing the Republicans in Congress who refuse to consider tax increases as even part of the solution to our contry’s money woes. Their position is indefensible because

Bush’s several tax cuts were actually financed by deficit spending (accompanied by previous increases in the debt ceiling) and disproportionately benefit those who need help the least at the expense of those who need it most.

These truths are unpleasant to listen to, but they are fact — facts which only “the lowest depths” of partisan bias could prevent you from accepting and giving voice to in your column. — Lorne Carignan, Swartz Creek

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