GOP right to ‘scream’ for reform

November 10, 2013 

In response to Laura L. Lillie’s Letter to the Editor Oct. 29 in the Lake Wylie Pilot, I would suggest to Ms. Lillie that since she considers herself to be “reasonably intelligent” and, I assume, has a computer, she take the time to do a little research on the national debt, entitlement programs and earmarks. Wikipedia is a good place to start.

The forefathers who wrote our Constitution and believed all men were created equal felt the only way we could govern ourselves was to become fully informed so we could vote intelligently.

Ms. Lillie says the Republicans “keep screaming” about reforming entitlements: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, Unemployment Benefits, etc. That’s because entitlements makes up nearly half of all federal dollars spent. That number keeps growing with more people retiring, more people living longer and needing more medical help, more people on food stamps and unemployment and the unknown cost of Obamacare.

Unless it is reformed, taxpayers will not be able to make payments to those who have paid for and deserve their benefits. President Obama understood that and asked Democrat Erskine Bowls and Republican Alan Simpson to put together a deficit reduction plan which was excellent but which the Democratic House, Senate and president promptly ignored. That entitlement portion of the budget is automatic and probably would not have been a part of the $410 billion in new spending Ms. Lillie referred to. I am assuming she was referring to the latest government shutdown threat where the Republicans unfortunately lost the battle to cut any wasteful federal spending.

I agree with Ms. Lillie on the issue of earmarks: unfortunately they are non partisan and out of control. When Congress finally passed the $1.1 trillion spending bill it contained 6,600 identified earmarks among which were: $40 million bio/agro-defense facility in Kansas (R), $165,000 maple syrup research (D), $1 million arthropod damage control in Nevada (D), $307,000 research on small fruits in northeast (10 D, 1 R), $350,000 Cool Season Legume Research in northeast (6 D), $1 million AFL-CIO training programs (D). The total cost of identified earmarks is estimated to be $8 billion. (10 Outrageous Earmarks: National Review online). If we followed Ms. Lillie’s advice and eliminated all the earmarks, we would have cut spending by a whopping 0.7 percent.

To show the magnitude of the Washington spending problem, ponder this: US tax revenue – $2,170,000,000,000; Federal Budget – $3.82 trillion; New Debt – $1,650,000,000,000, National Debt – $14,271,000,000,000, Recent Budget Cuts – $38,500,000,000.

Now, remove the zeros and pretend it’s your family budget.

Annual Income - $21,700; Money the family spent - $38,200; new debt on credit card - $16,500; outstanding debt on credit cards - $142,710. And the total amount your family stopped spending? $38.50 (Unverified source).

And Ms. Lillie wonders why Republicans are “screaming” for reform.

Ms. Lillie has issues with Gov. Nikki Haley. Yes, the governor does “fit right into what the Republicans believe.” She and the Legislature have given tax credits to corporations and have actively promoted South Carolina to new and expanding industries. She has worked to improve the critical Charleston Port. In January, she announced $5 billion in new investments with new jobs created in 45 of the 46 counties; 6,300 in our rural areas.

Thanks to the governor’s efforts, South Carolina is now ranked second in the nation among the best states in which to conduct business. In fact, job creation in this poor state of South Carolina is a single-minded focus of the governor.

Gov. Haley refused federal funds for Obamacare since those came with mandates requiring South Carolina to use the federal poverty level of 138 percent of the national average.

In addition to the “free” federal money, South Carolinians would have had to pay an estimated $1 billion to cover those increased mandates.

And with education, The State newspaper (June 19, 2013) reported that both Democrats and Republicans won when the Education Budget included $77 million more in state funding. Included was: $12 million for growth, $26 million for expanded kindergarten for children living in poverty areas, $23.5 million for school buses and $5,000 salary supplement for teachers who completed the National Board Certification.

And Ms. Lillie might enjoy knowing Vincent Sheheen, Democratic candidate for governor also supports “trying to put the control of education in the hands of the governor.”

And others can research Ms. Lillie’s assumptions about Republicans actions in North Carolina.

But I do agree with her when she said we are created equal, regardless of gender, age or race, and are quite capable of following the same voting laws. “No one should be exempted for any law or any benefits.”

Jean Hojnacki is a Lake Wylie resident.

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