Most of you who read my columns will recognize me immediately as one who thinks and writes from the right side of the political spectrum. I readily criticize those on the left when they do the silly things they do. Today, however, I am forced, by fairness, to criticize a Republican.
Our Congressperson, Michele Bachmann, has proffered the idea that in order to deal with our deficit, we should reduce our funding to veterans by some four hundred million dollars. We are in the middle of two wars. We are experiencing casualties from both Iraq and Afghanistan on a regular basis. To do anything short of increasing our financial commitment to veterans is dumb. That’s all, just dumb. Fortunately she has seen the error of her ways and has since retracted that idea. That is smart, just smart.
Like most concerned Americans, I readily agree that our spending has to be controlled. That having been said, I now suggest that there are two areas where reduction is out of the question, Social Security and the VA.
I am both a veteran and a Social Security recipient. What that means to me is that I have a contract with this government that is inviolate. When I was seventeen years old, I joined the armed forces of this country and signed a contract that gave over to the country everything I had including my life. America in turn guaranteed certain coverages for me in my later years. I kept my end of the contract and I fully expect the government to keep up their end.
In addition, for about fifty years or so, I worked and earned a living for me and my family. The government confiscated a portion of my income to “set aside” for my retirement years. I was never given an option to opt out. I was never offered the option as to how or where that money would be invested. It was clearly understood that when I reached a certain age, there would be money available to me for my “golden years.” I never agreed that the fund should be raided by various congresses to pay for anything other than legitimate recipients of Social Security. Again, I was not given an option or a say in the matter. Now, with prices rising to ridiculous levels for everything most of us buy, our government has not even seen fit to offer us a cost of living increase, all the while increasing their own incomes.
So you ask me, how would you cut our spending, Mr. Smart Aleck? That’s a fair question and I have a few thoughts. I read recently that we send one and a half billion dollars to Egypt every year. It now seems that a majority of that hard earned tax money has ended up in Mubarak’s personal bank accounts. How many other tin horn dictators are we propping up and supporting with our tax dollars? How much American tax money goes throughout the world for who knows what and to whom? My suggestion, quit it. Just say no. Did you know that in the very small state of West Virginia, there exists the best road system, dam system and government buildings of anywhere in America, and that they all seem to bear the name of their benefactor, Democrat, Sen. Robert Byrd? There are bridges to nowhere and highways in the wilderness in Alaska thanks to their Republican Senator, Ted Stevens. No, it would not be very difficult to find a number of ways to reduce the waste in our spending.
We do not need to buy security by funding outlaw governments all over the world. We can enforce our security at any moment of need. It is past time when we must face the very real fact that we can no longer afford to support the world. We need to see to our own needs first.
Let us instead keep some of this money at home. Let us maintain a strong military. Let us never forget our commitment to our veterans and to our senior citizens. Let us take care of ourselves before we begin to think about taking care of other peoples and countries. And finally, let us re-establish integrity in the halls of Congress and put the people of America first.
Ron Scarbro February 6, 2011
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