*Editor’s Note: This opinion was sent to the White House and is an open letter to President Obama and Missouri legislators Claire McCaskill, Roy Blunt and Vicky Hartzler.
I am writing because of the unmitigated disaster which is our federal government today. Our country is on the brink of bankruptcy because of the uncontrolled spending in Washington by all branches of the government, the waste in most government programs, and the tendency of our elected representatives to ignore or delay facing the problems we face. The latest job report says unemployment is 7.3%, however recent hiring is in subpar jobs (retail, restaurants, bars) and the percentage of adults (participation rate) fell to 63.2%, lowest since 1878. The participation rate for men fell to its lowest since 1948. People are giving up, but you know all this.
Your reaction to the Syrian situation was disjointed at best. There is no question that the use of chemicals weapons against anyone, civilian or otherwise, is indescribably horrible, but so is the death of the 100,000 or so who have already died in that war. “Pinprick” strikes (probably not possible without unplanned civilian casualties), especially when the enemy is forewarned and has days or weeks to prepare, only serve to inflame the negative feelings much of the world has toward the U.S.
The implementation of Obamacare is another “train wreck” poised to happen. People that I talk with have no idea what is required of them or how the deadlines affect them. Granted, I am retired so do not have an employer who is required to shepherd me through the process. I also note that many employers are converting full-time jobs to part-time jobs and laying off employees to avoid the costs and penalties, including major hospitals and companies. What about all the unemployed who have little or no income? How does this affect them? Forty-seven percent of the population pays no income tax today. Where are they going to get the money to pay their share of the premium, even if they receive a tax subsidy? And is it true that congressional staffers will either be exempt from Obamacare or will receive a substantial subsidy to participate? Has anyone read the 150,000 or so pages of regulations relating to Obamacare? Can anyone explain in simple terms how it applies to the individual citizen? And as far as the IRS “policing the program”, they can’t even administer the unintelligible IRS code, or even keep their own house clean.
This country is facing unprecedented political and financial problems and our federal government is ignoring them or “kicking the can down the road”. You and congress are not addressing (other than a lot of talk that goes nowhere) such issues as:
Page 2 of 3 - Immigration Reform: no one really knows how many are here illegally or what the true costs are just in health care of loss of taxes.
Tax Reform: Another of our laws which are written by lobbyists and passed by those who benefit or who are supported for re-election. There are too many sacred cows for congress, who created them, to address.
Tort Reform and Sale of Insurance across state lines: Obamacare does not address these because of the strength of the lobbies involved. Another area of savings which apparently is untouchable.
Social Security and Medicare: Another area of potential disaster which congress keeps pushing down the road because they are more concerned with being re-elected than with addressing the problems. Sometimes you have to do things which may appear to be unpopular, but you may be surprised how realistic most of us are in regard to spending money we don’t have (there are exceptions, but it appears that most of them are in Washington).
Student Loans: How did this get so out of hand? It is just like the mortgage disaster of a few years ago. All of a sudden someone realizes that the loans total a trillion dollars and that there is a repayment crisis. Apparently student loans have been approved willy-nilly with no real control. Students are spending years in school and either getting a useless degree or none at all and thus are unable to repay the loan.
Gun Laws: As terrible as the number of mass killings over the past few years are, they pale in relation to the 30,000 people that are killed every year in this country. Yet there is strong opposition to background checks, restrictions on assault rifles, 20 or larger cartridge clips or any other legislation that would reduce the carnage in this country which far surpasses that of any other “civilized” country in the world. The NRA does not represent the majority of the population in this country, although they obviously outspend the balance of the country in their lobbying efforts. I am not opposed to guns for hunting and if you feel the need to defend yourself, get a shotgun. Most people do not need to walk around with a gun in their pocket or handbag.
We are not the saviors of the world. Believe it or not, there are countries that do not want us meddling in their affairs. I would like to know just how much money we give annually to other countries, especially those that are not really our friends, but like our generosity. Charity begins at home. We have disasters and hungry people in this country to address.
Washington appears to have turned into two “armed” camps”, armed with non-negotiable positions, most of which are loudly debated and defended in public Deadlock does not solve problems. Negotiation is not a bad word. It simply means discussing with a view toward reaching agreement.
Page 3 of 3 - I know I have exceeded the one page and one subject recommended letter to our representatives in Washington, but I wanted to remind you that this is not a one subject world and that you have a lot of problems to address, not only those I have cited here.
As a voter and a citizen of the number one country in the world, I would like to see us continue as such, not continue on the slippery slip we are facing.