Budget deficit: Entitlements are the problem, not defense

August 01, 2011

I would like to respond to Roz Ellis ("Cut military spending, not entitlements," Readers Respond, July 30). Our humongous military outlay is never on the table because it is not humongous. The cost of national defense accounted for approximately 19 percent of the federal 2009 budget. In contrast, the cost of Social Security, Medicare and other social programs accounted for approximately 55 percent of the budget. It may be prudent to scrap old ships and cut the defense budget, but these things will not solve our financial problems.

These problems are the result of the government's failure to operate on the same basic economic principles my parents taught me. Live within your means or below it. Do not spend money that you do not have. Do not borrow money unless you can pay the debt. Pay off your debts as quickly as possible. Spend money wisely; get the best value for your money. Put something aside for the future, even if you must give up something you really want.

If we want to restore our economy and ensure the survival of our country, Congress and the president must change the way the federal government does business. Specifically, the federal government needs to abolish programs and policies that promote, subsidize and guarantee debt and, instead, practice and promote investment, savings, and financial prudence.

Douglas J. Kingsley, Baltimore

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