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Letter to the Editor: Get our heads out of the sand

I am a senior. I will start Medicare next year. The president's plan to take money out of Medicare now does nothing to address Medicare's longer-term solvency to care for the health of my children and grandchildren; not without bankrupting this country or taxing it into oblivion. Bringing all health care under the purview of the government will only guarantee that America's deficits continue to grow in future years.

I firmly believe that the president and his advisers have buried their heads deep in the sand just to avoid the blinding light of reality that America is broke. They so fervently believe that government exists to provide equal outcomes to all, not simply equal opportunities, that they are willing to bet the future of this great nation for that belief.

On the flip side, I would take to task those who, while recognizing that changes must be made, don't want to share some of the burden. We have spent a lifetime caring about the future of our children. If we have to make some sacrifice(s) now to ensure their future security, let's do it!

We are not going to just tax our way out of this; nor will simply cutting back spending do the trick.

Taxpayers should be willing to pay more, and government largesse to others must be scaled back. We are at a point where everyone will have to be called upon to give up something. Let us not shirk that responsibility!

We have to get our heads out of the sand ... and into the game!

Lalit Piplani, Front Royal


True enough, Lalit.

Obama was a blank slate that many simply projected their hopes onto in 2008. The knee-jerk accusations of racism by his supporters toward those questioning the man is an example. He plays them very well.

His two autobiographies are self-contradictory and many claims are unverifiable after four years. He is a study in controlling the message. Yet we see nobody surfacing from his past to offer veracity to his claims. We won't see any such testimonials next week at the DNC.

Nevertheless, we have now seen how he 'governs' by bellicosity and decree. Most telling, not one Democrat senator voted for his budget. Not one.

But the Hard Left has nowhere else to turn.

It is thus understandable how the Egocentric-in-Chief would still appeal to some -- even after four years of incessant blaming and excuse-making -- and failure.

Very well said Lalit. I completely agree.

I completely agree with the second half of your letter. Particularly this quote: "We are not going to just tax our way out of this; nor will simply cutting back spending do the trick.

Taxpayers should be willing to pay more, and government largesse to others must be scaled back. We are at a point where everyone will have to be called upon to give up something. Let us not shirk that responsibility!"

However, the first part of your letter is a bit misleading. Here is a link to an article you might want to read on the medicare issues that looks at both political claims recently. It is a bit more complex than you make out.

But we are not broke. We have the largest, richest economy in the world even in the midst of this recession. Lenders are lined up to lend us money, and we are able to borrow it at just about the lowest cost in history. Lenders do not line up to lend money to someone who is broke. They expect to get paid back. Yes, we need to reign in our spending on the big ticket items like medicare and defense. Yet no one likes to talk about defense except to say we cannot cut it and maintain our security in the world. Well, we are spending more on defense now than we were at the height of the cold war and that makes little sense to me. But then, I am not an expert in these things. Seems to me the Affordable Care Act is a step in the right direction with attempting to reign in medicare costs while maintaining the level of care. Yes, there are costs associated with it, but then as you so ably said, "We are at a point where everyone will have to be called upon to give up something."

People line-up to lend us money because we are politically stable -- for the moment. (Where else to loan it? Greece?).

Federal spending is now at 100% of GDP and rising.

Our debt is $16 Trillion and the CBO projects it to exceed $20 Trillion in 3-4 years.

Our unfunded obligations exceed $ 50 Trillion.

We're broke.

Hell, Flathers, I thought we got our credit rating downgraded because we were politically gridlocked . . . a little bit unstable don't you think.

We are broke when we cannot pay our bills. Well, guess what, we're paying them. And I hope we can continue paying them. But if we allow big business and the super rich to continue to take money out of this country without paying their fair share of taxes, we're screwed. And all I see from the Republican side of the aisle is exactly that.

We've reached a place in history where global corporations have no patriotic duty or allegiance to any country. Their allegiance is only to themselves and their contractual obligations. Every time they can get a country to allow them to do business there without paying anything for it, they are ecstatic. But they will pick up and go the the next country just as soon as they use up the resources or get a better deal. If we allow this, we deserve to go broke and perhaps that will be the hard lesson to learn about what we will have done. Then maybe we can remake his country and resurrect our American dream, because right now we are on the verge of loosing it.

Empires come and empires go: unfortunately I don't believe we will ever see the U.S.A. restored to the "land of opportunity" or the great nation we once seemed to be. We've burned too many bridges and our middle class is being seriously threatened.

Listening to the Republican Convention, you would think that anyone without a job or anyone who hasn't become rich is a bum. There were all kinds of remarks that insinuate that we are a nation of welfare recipients and they will "deal" with that.

CORPORATE welfare and big money is draining this country and these politicians make up the rules as they go. Many people are merely trying to survive now: they are worn out job hunting and/or working several low-paying jobs to keep going. Many are too weary to do the research necessary to learn truth from lies, and some are just too ignorant (or lazy) to bother.

It's very hard for me to understand how these misguided masses feel that they are part of the Republican Plan.

WE the people need to demand debates not outrageously priced ads on TV or showy conventions! These hidden contributions and super Pacs have added to the corruption! We should all (regardless of our choice) be outraged over this waste! This election propaganda has been going on for almost two years! And the "effort" to destroy Obama from day one.

Americans are paying the price for the conduct of the few: we are losing this battle. . .and as rough as it has been for so many, if these power-seeking fat cats (Republicans) take the White House, we will finally understand the difference. Yes, it can get worse - much worse!

Agreed, Diana.

"Federal spending is now at 100% of GDP and rising."

You may wish to check your wording on this; I hear that this statement is FACTUALLY incorrect.

Oh, Mrs Piplani, where in the world do you hear all of these lies; i.e., "The president's plan to take money out of Medicare now does nothing to address Medicare's longer-term solvency..."

‘Raiding’ Medicare

We think we’ll be hearing plenty of this bogus claim throughout the convention: “$716 billion raided from Medicare to pay for ObamaCare.”

That version was offered Tuesday by Arkansas Rep. Tim Griffin. It’s wrong, however, to say that money is being taken away, or “raided,” from Medicare. The health care law calls for reducing the future growth of Medicare spending over 10 years. If it happens, that would stretch out Medicare’s financing, keeping the hospital insurance trust fund solvent for longer.

As we’ve explained before, Medicare doesn’t have $716 billion sitting around that could be “raided.” Instead, the reductions in the future growth of projected spending would be primarily to Medicare Part A, which covers hospital expenses, and Part A’s trust fund had $244.2 billion at the end of 2011. All of that money must by law be spent for its intended purpose. The president can’t take money out of the trust fund; Medicare holds those bonds and can cash them in as it needs to cover whatever isn’t paid by current payroll taxes. The law even increases the amount of tax revenue that will flow into the trust fund by imposing a 0.9 percent Medicare surcharge on certain high-income individuals.

If Part A doesn’t need to spend income it receives from payroll taxes immediately, Treasury issues Medicare a bond and the amount is credited to Medicare’s Part A trust fund. When Medicare wants to cash that bond, Treasury has to pay it, even if Treasury already spent the original money on something else.

And that’s where the Republicans’ real complaint lies. Both the Congressional Budget Office and Medicare’s chief actuary have said that in practice, the $716 billion savings can’t cover two things at once. But the program won’t be “raided,” and the law actually extends the life of the trust fund, delaying the day when currently projected hospital benefits can’t be fully paid without additional funding. That’s now estimated to happen in 2024. Without the cuts in spending growth and the new tax revenue promised by the law, the day of reckoning moves up to 2016.

Misrepresenting the Affordable Care Act

John Archer, a Republican congressional candidate from Iowa’s 2nd District, repeated a popular — but wrong — talking point about the Affordable Care Act. He claimed incorrectly that the new law interferes with doctor-patient relations.

He said, “And finally, we’ll talk about getting government out from in between patients and their doctors by repealing Obamacare — we can do better.” Actually, the law doesn’t regulate what doctors can and can’t do, or even which doctors patients can see, another anti-health-care-law meme.

Romney made this same claim in late June after the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the law. Many Republicans have pointed to the law’s creation of an Independent Payment Advisory Board — which is charged with finding ways to slow the growth of Medicare spending — as a source of rationing. But that’s far from accurate.

The board has extraordinary power: Its recommendations are supposed to go into effect automatically unless Congress overrides them by a three-fifths vote of both House and Senate. But that power is quite limited in scope. The law says the board “shall not include any recommendation to ration health care, raise revenues or Medicare beneficiary premiums … increase Medicare beneficiary cost sharing (including deductibles, coinsurance, and co-payments), or otherwise restrict benefits or modify eligibility criteria.”

According to a Kaiser Family Foundation report, the IPAB is therefore limited to getting savings from Medicare Advantage (subsidized private insurance that currently covers about 1 in 4 on Medicare), “the Part D prescription drug program, skilled nursing facility, home health, dialysis, ambulance and ambulatory surgical center services, and durable medical equipment.”

Archer’s comment is just one more example of Republicans pushing the idea that the health care law would create a government-run system, like many foreign countries have, where the government is the insurer and even the provider of health care. But the Affordable Care Act comes nowhere close to that — it leaves the United States’ primarily employer-based insurance system in place and expands business for private insurance companies.


Please, please, please, as a senior soon to join Medicare, EDUCATE YOURSELF. Please do not rely on talking heads for this very important phase of your life.

Paul Ryan's father died when Paul was sixteen years old and in part paid for his out-of state tuition at an Ohio public university with Social Security survivor benefits received after the death of his father.

Jane, it is the old "I have mine and the heck with everyone else". That is what you see with the Republicans.

to the latter part of the above letter "We are not going to just tax our way out of this; nor will simply cutting back spending do the trick"

I guess I would be willing to sacrafice a bit more, If I could trust the government to to use the money wisely. I hardly think that one president is any better then another on this issue.

I was listening to an after interview of Jeb Bush of all people and he was discussing how it was going to take both raising revenue and cutting spending but that sadly too many Republican politicians had made promises to someone unrelated.

It was CNN via Piers Morgan (I believe) so it may be on their website. Its really sad that any politician would sign off their country to any one single person, or try to twist letting a tax cut we could not afford even when created expire into "raising taxes".

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