Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor on Medicare plan, Bush tax cuts, Obama, backyard rockets

Medicare pitch reflects GOP values

When introducing their voucher proposal for Medicare, Republicans hasten to assure those of us older than 55 that we need not worry since the voucher system won’t apply to us. The casualness with which Republicans make such an outrageous suggestion displays their true values.

We elders need not worry, they say, because we can keep the previous and much better system. If we get ours, they tell us, we need not worry that others get less, even when those others include our children and grandchildren. The value embedded in this claim is that one should look out only for oneself and let the devil, or one’s children, take the hindmost.

This is not my value as a senior citizen. I am concerned about all children, and if they must receive less, I believe that I should share the loss with them.

However, it is not true that future generations must receive less. The Medicare system is fundamentally sound, and it can be kept sound with relatively minor changes. The changes would require slight tax increases, but this the Republicans will not accept. Almost all Republicans have signed the Grover Norquist pledge not to raise taxes under any conditions. That is, they have pledged themselves to Norquist and not to the public that elected them.



Out-of-date claim

I have read Davis Merritt’s opinions in The Eagle many times. Though I have not always agreed with his stance on issues, I have generally appreciated his candor and journalistic integrity. That is why I was troubled when I read his Aug. 21 commentary regarding the changes to Medicare proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.

Merritt stated as fact that the proposed privatized Medicare bill will “require older Americans, by 2020, to pay on average $6,400 more for health care.” This claim is based on a now out-of-date Congressional Budget Office estimate of the gap between the cost of health care a decade from now and the size of Ryan’s proposed premium-support subsidy for a typical 65-year-old in 2022. According to a Wall Street Journal editorial, the CBO has admitted it does not have the capacity at this time to estimate the effects of the evolution of the health care and health insurance systems over time.

Based on projections from the current Medicare Advantage program, three Harvard University economists estimated that seniors in traditional Medicare would have to pay $64 a month. That’s $768 per year, not $6,400. The Wall Street Journal editorial noted that seniors would migrate to more cost-effective options.



Tax-cut jobs?

The following information covers the administrations of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush (does not include 2008) and comes from the report “Before the Bush Recession.”

•  July 1981 to July 1990: average monthly job growth, 168,000; average annualized monthly growth rate, 2 percent.

•  July 1990 to March 2001: average monthly job growth, 178,000; average annualized monthly growth rate, 1.8 percent.

•  March 2001 to December 2007: average monthly job growth, 68,000; annualized monthly growth rate, 0.6 percent.

PolitiFact.com also examined the claim that Democratic presidents create more private-sector jobs. Here is what it discovered:

•  Ronald Reagan, increase of 2.46 percent a year.

•  George H.W. Bush, increase of 0.40 percent a year.

•  Bill Clinton, increase of 2.86 percent a year.

•  George W. Bush, increase of 0.01 percent a year (includes 2008).

Obviously, the Bush tax cuts were not very effective at creating job growth, even before the economic collapse.



Not capable

The media like to assert that the current administration is capably handling international affairs, apparently based upon the president sitting in a bunker watching TV while SEAL Team 6 took down Osama bin Laden. They ignore several key events that have undermined, even endangered, the United States globally.

Egypt and Libya, in whose upheavals we were complicit, have moved ever closer to becoming Islamic states. The potential impact of the Syrian/Iranian de facto alliance and the probability of an Iranian nuclear capability growing ever closer is also ignored. U.S./Israeli ties have never been weaker. “Leaks” of highly classified information, kill lists and cyberwarfare endanger our military around the world.

And now the administration has decided to ignore warnings from the Pentagon and the Afghan government and arm rural villagers with not only AK-47s but also “Russian heavy machine guns” – all in the wake of a stream of “insider” killings of U.S. forces by our Afghan partners.

This reckless act will pose additional dangers to our troops. Didn’t the administration learn anything from Attorney General Eric Holder’s “let’s arm the narco-terrorists program,” dubbed Fast and Furious?

Far from being capable in international relations, this administration is dangerous.



Backyard, beyond

When will the day come when you can launch a small rocket containing a miniature satellite into space from the backyard of your house? If people had this capability, they could do their own space research or start their own satellite radio companies.