Budget ChicaneryThe old saying, "Fool me once, shame on...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 02, 1993

Budget Chicanery

The old saying, "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me," comes to mind as President Clinton and Congress prepare to implement an "economic package."

Most Americans perceive that the chicanery of the federal budget process must end if our children are to have any hope of enjoying the American dream.

Common sense tells us there are several self-evident truths that cry out to be addressed:

1. Social Security and Medicare are not prepaid insurance programs. These programs are actuarially insupportable. They are simply broad entitlement and transfer programs, only partially funded.

It is irresponsible, if not actionable fraud, for politicians to continue to support unlimited COLAs and call Social Security a paid-up insurance-annuity contract.

2. There are no Social Security surpluses. All so-called surpluses are invested in the national debt. In the 21st century, when Social Security goes into deficit (due to fewer workers and many more retirees), today's surpluses can only be cashed in by raising taxes or borrowing new dollars.

3. Eliminating 100,000 jobs through attrition or a highly inflated 25 percent of the White House staff is bailing out the Titanic with a teaspoon. And is Congress waiting for an engraved invitation to cut its tremendously abusive staff and spending practices?

Industry across America has radically reduced nonproductive layers of bureaucracy; it is time for the government to do the same.

4. Immediately needed action items:

(A) Line item veto.

(B) Real zero-based budgeting and sunset provisions for all spending programs.

(C) All new taxes for deficit reduction, not new programs.

(D) There is sufficient waste to have substantial net cuts and fund new, limited programs.

(E) Tax incentives to create capital and job formation.

(F) Fairness in sacrifice: everybody, not just the other special interest.

Taxes are a drain on any economy, impeding capital formation and investment in job-creating business. A certain amount of taxes are nevertheless necessary to create an orderly and diverse infrastructure within which an economy can efficiently function.

Americans will sacrifice to ensure their children a better economic future. But a program of more taxes and more government spending is a formula for disaster, an ever weaker economy and lower standard of living. To the executive and legislative branches, I say throw away your smoke and mirrors, ignore the special interests (particularly incumbent re-election) and do the right thing now.

E. Alexander Adams

Clarksville

Why Chaos?

It was ironic that the same day's headlines were about Justice Thurgood Marshall's death and President Clinton's delaying the life of the ban on gays in the military.

We all know that discrimination against any group is wrong, and we all suffer from it in the end.

There are stories about crimes committed every day by heterosexual men. I haven't noticed any stories of crime by homosexuals.

Since thousand of gays are now in the military and there has not been trouble, why should there be chaos if the ban is lifted? Why are we spending millions to hunt them down, just because of sexual preference? Where would Gen. Colin Powell be now if President Truman had not lifted the ban against discrimination of blacks in the military?

Agnes McAvinue

Baltimore

Wrong Way

I see President Clinton and his wife working together with great sincerity, and I cannot help but like them. They certainly work diligently, and their desires to see everyone have what they need is heart-warming.

But I have to say that I disagree strongly with their methods. Let me explain.

There are only two ways to operate a society's economy, by central planning or by the free market. Some central planning is necessary in every system of government, yet it is extremely inefficient if it is used to excess.

Too much central planning destroyed the former Soviet Union. Dollar votes in a free market are the driving force behind the fast development of technology. Central planning has no such mechanism for developing technology, which is why too much central planning fails.

Central planning has grown greatly in the United States and seems now to be on the verge of growing even more with the Clinton plan.

Too much central planning has caused many economic problems. The excessive government spending has crowded out the private sector and lost precious dollar votes. It has caused periods of serious inflation that have redistributed wealth.

This past redistribution of wealth is a large cause of some severe problems, such as the health care crisis, downward mobility for most young adults and increased homelessness. Now to remedy the problems, more central planning is advocated.

Central planning by "great intellectuals" promised the former Soviet Union social solutions, yet the absolute opposite occurred. Why are we going for this kind of solution? Shouldn't we know by now that it will weaken us?

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