Letter to the editor
Republicans keep telling us that government spending has to be cut, drastically and immediately. You would never guess that it is Republicans themselves who are grabbing the lion’s share of federal entitlement spending.
As Binyamin Applebaum and Robert Gebeloff reported in the New York Times*, through Social security and Medicare, older people get most of the benefits while the share of entitlements going to the least affluent households has declined from 54% in 1979 to 36% in 2007. And Medicare enrollment is expected to grow by a third as baby boomers retire.
After a lifetime of paying into these programs, we feel entitled to the benefits. But the average worker contributes only $1 for every $3 in future Medicare benefits. No one in their right mind would argue that this can go on forever.
Political science professor Dean Lacy of Dartmouth College has found that support for Republican candidates has increased in states that receive more in federal benefits than they contribute. And, “(t)he greater the dependence, the greater the support for Republican candidates.” At the same time, states that contribute more than they receive tend to support Democrats.
While Republicans excoriate President Obama for his “failed” stimulus spending, we are slowly clawing our way out of the worst economic catastrophe most of us have ever seen. In Europe, where governments have implemented the kind of austerity that Republicans are calling for, the result has been disastrous and continues to grow worse.
It took bipartisan negligence to create the mess we’re in. We will never get back to prosperity and fiscal responsibility without pulling together. Building up straw men and knocking them down may feel good — and it does get standing ovations at campaign rallies. But it does nothing to move us toward a real solution.
2307 W Wilden Ave. Goshen IN 46528. 574-903-5153
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