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Watch entitlement cuts

April 17, 2013
Lehigh Acres Citizen

To the editor:

This year's president's budget is getting a lot of press coverage. I can't recall this ever happening before. I ask myself does it matter, will it pass in either house?

Certainly his opponent will decry any attempt to raise revenue as taxation and supporters will not pass any decrease in entitlement. Well, they better not decrease entitlements. I don't like the idea of cuts to Social Security such as changing the cost of living so that benefits rise slower than inflation. That change will certainly hurt the most vulnerable the worst. I also don't like his hint on balancing the budget. We don't need a balanced budget.

We certainly need to decrease spending in some areas, but even worse we need revenue. We need jobs, and at this point government spending is the source. We haven't had a balanced budget in decades. The budget busters are military spending and health care costs, with some help from giveaways like tax cuts to the wealthy and corporations. The Bush administration did a lot of that.

I oppose cuts in entitlements that remove the safety net for our most vulnerable. We did not get in this deficit position because of spending on entitlements. We got there because of tax cuts, gifts to pharmaceutical companies, two wars (unnecessary), and poor government (lack of oversight by so-called smaller government) that caused the economic downturn.

Please do not balance the budget on the back of the middle class. I would suggest, if anything, further means testing, and removing the earning cap on Social Security. If this happens, high income earners will pay at the same rate as low income people. I would encourage more work to apply to the ACA and control our burdensome health care cost.

The president's budget did include some revenue sources, increasing the tax rate on investment fund and hedge fund managers, increasing the estate tax, imposing new limits on tax-advantage retirement accounts, a type of "Buffett Rule" the "Fair Share Tax," capping value of tax breaks on some itemized deductions, and further means test to Medicare parts B and D.

There are many good things in the president's budget like investing in our economy to keep growing, and to keep us competitive, like clean energy, environmental protection, and education, while the House budget spends the middle classes money on tax breaks for the wealthy, ends Medicare and social security.

Perhaps if we work to help advance the ACA and decrease health care costs, we could cut the cost of premiums paid from social security on health care. This would certainly benefit our seniors.

Lewis Robinson, M.D.

Fort Myers



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