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Keep them untouched and whole 07-01-2011

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Letter to the editor by Joe O'Hara

Didn’t wage-earning, Americans pay into the Social Security and Medicare trust funds through payroll deductions?  Aren’t our children and grandchildren doing the same?  Wasn’t the intent of these funds to supplement pensions and medical costs when a person reaches age 65?  Now, Congress is talking about making unwanted and unnecessary changes to these programs … programs we and our children sacrificed so much to obtain.

Somewhere along the line, someone began referring to the Social Security and Medicare programs as “entitlements.”  To me, the term “entitlement” infers a tax-payer funded government program such as Medicaid which provides a safety net for deserving, low-income people.  As I see it, the Social Security and Medicare programs are not “entitlements,” however, we damn sure are “entitled” to these benefits … we paid for them!  We also got assurances that these programs would remain whole.  We shouldn’t have to make sacrifices because the federal government screwed up their handling of these funds:

·         Over the years, the federal government borrowed about $2.8 trillion from our Social Security and Medicare trust funds and used them for purposes other than those for which they were intended.

 

Don’t count on ever getting that $2.8 trillion back.  Congress can’t even agree that aggressive, realistic spending cuts must be made in order to even begin reducing the deficit – which, when the $2.8 trillion is added, is really $17 trillion.  Hey, Congress, it’s a really simple thing to reduce the deficit: don’t raise the debt-ceiling; don’t increase taxes; but do make significant, realistic spending cuts – but not to Social Security and Medicare.  These programs are already funded and are off-limits.

·         Congress freely hands out the benefits we paid for to interlopers who know how to work-the-system, too illegal immigrants, and too others who are not entitled to these so-called ‘entitlements’.  Congress can give billions of dollars to countries who hate Americas’ guts, but they won’t do the right things for their own citizens.

 

Now, Congress is proposing to increase taxes and make spending cuts - mostly insignificant - as ways to manage the deficit.  Of course - according to them – two of the big spending items are Social Security and Medicare … you remember:  the ones you already paid for; the ones that were supposed to remain whole and help provide us with brighter futures; the ones that would be there for our children and grandchildren.

Had Congress used our Social Security and Medicare trust funds as they were intended, we wouldn’t be in this mess today.

This is just another example of Congress kicking sand in the faces of the American people.  That uncomfortable feeling I have that something is wrong with the direction in which America is going keeps getting stronger and stronger.

Joe O’Hara

Ocala