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Real budget talk

April 19, 2011
North Fort Myers Neighbor

To the editor:

The President announced his plan for deficit reduction today and I agree, in principle. In the details I hoped to find that I, like many Americans, will see the sacred cows of the special interests led to slaughter. We cannot simply cut our way out of this; we must continue to build our economy with research and education.

The current budget cuts from congress focuses on only the 12 percent that is interior federal spending. The elephants in the room are the Medicare/Medicaid costs (22 percent) and military spending (19 percent).

Medical costs of Medicare and Medicaid programs are artificially high by more than 200 percent caused by the runaway rises in costs. Costs have risen from two primary causes: first, the system that rewards more procedures and more expensive tests (fee for service system; and second, the uncontrolled profits of the health insurance industry. A look at 40 other modern countries shows that we pay $666 per month while the average of other countries is $233 per month, and our health quality is lower than most. My calculation is that we pay about half a trillion per year in excess medical costs in our Medicare and Medicaid costs alone. Like it or not, the Affordable Health Care law reduces these costs and improves quality using proven methods from other industrialized nations. The millions in lobby monies from the insurance, drug and medical companies should not be more important than the health of our nation (physical and fiscal).

As a former defense contractor, I can attest to waste in the military budget that has nothing to do with national security. Thousands of pet projects to House and Senate home towns and donators could be cut without harming our ability to protect ourselves. We also need to make sure we implement a tax to pay for wars. This will create a political aversion to jumping into conflicts around the world when they have to account for a tax increase to the voters.

We also need to realize that the global recession has caused a deficit in the form of less tax revenue to the states and federal government. This is nearly half a trillion per year that adds to our deficit. As the economy comes back, this factor will reduce. This also supports the need to create new jobs in our country with research dollars and education dollars.

Additionally, the tax system in our country is far beyond needing an overhaul. With multibillion dollar companies paying little or no taxes, the wealthy 2 percent pay less with the Bush tax cuts. It is time to close the loopholes and ask the wealthy, who benefited from our great country, to help us out. The alternative of adding to the burden of retirees and middle class working families is unfair. By closing the loopholes the tax burden will be equalized with the wealthy that can afford accountants to use loopholes. And, we all know the corporate loopholes need to be closed to prevent large corporations from making billions and not paying taxes.

We need to make sure we also prevent tax breaks in the future from being given to large political donors. The system still needs changing to be more accountable to the majority of the people. Campaign finance reform, limits on lobbyist money, stricter ethics rules will also help reduce the spending and focus our elected officials on getting the most value for the least government.

We must have a long term, honest budget plan for our future and that of our children.

Jim Roach

Cape Coral

Candidate for Congress 2012


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