I am writing to express my views on the issue of federal spending. I hope the president and Congress will take these views into account. My request is that they stand up for spending control at the federal level even if it touches the largest and most sacred cow programs.
I am a Democrat and believe strongly in a compassionate society that supports the most needy with a safety net, but I also believe based on my sphere of acquaintances, that the good intentions of the safety net have evolved into an unhealthy over-dependence on government support.
Whether deserved, promised, or not, we have too many people living on government funding, and conversely too many people who evade taxes through a strong and active underground cash economy.
The result is that young people grow up in a culture that directs them to look for how to get money without working for it rather than looking for ways to support themselves through their own efforts.
When you look at the biggest and most difficult-to-change areas of the federal budget, it is Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and possibly other very abused programs like disability and unemployment insurance.
I personally know several people who are collecting unemployment and openly say they won't look for a job until it ends.
They provide phony information to "prove" they are looking and they do work on the side for cash. I also know people who take money under the table to keep their wages low enough to qualify for programs like food stamps and WIC.
I know of people who are drug addicts and somehow receive welfare and Aid To Families With Dependent Children. It is to the point where people openly talk about it as if it is how the program works.
I realize not all these programs are federal, but it speaks to a culture that makes cutting our overspending almost impossible.
My own experience as a manager involved in budget cuts tells me that when the problem is as massive as our national problem is, we cannot effectively make targeted cuts because no one will ever agree on them.
If the president and Congress can do this, by all means they should do it, but if they can't, then I hope they will address the need to make across-the-board cuts with no sacred cows.
It takes a strong, ethical, farsighted legislator to stand up for the kind of cuts needed to get spending under control.
This focus on increasing revenue by "making the rich pay their fair share" only goes so far and my own experience and logic tells me that it has gone far enough.
When state and federal taxes claim more than half of anyone's income, regardless of how rich they may be, it starts to become a disincentive for further wealth building for all except perhaps the most wealthy.
It is not the solution to continue tapping this part of the population when we have so many able-bodied people who can work and don't.
Our legislators enjoy a good salary and benefit package, as well as lots of perks that go with the job. But I urge each of them to show me the courage that makes this expenditure of taxpayer money a good investment.
They must stand up against partisan, self-serving political positioning and for the kinds of spending cuts that will help us regain a culture of initiative and enterprise through this country.
Kathy Blackburn is a resident of Dublin.