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Letter: This problem was a generation in the making

It’s starting. The latest political proposal to increase government spending and offset a small portion of the increased spending by reducing the cost-of-living adjustment for future veterans’ pension benefits, has set off a firestorm. But this is only a symptom of a pervasive problem in our government today.

It may start with a tiny nick in benefits for veterans but will soon engulf federal employee benefits, teachers’ benefits, Medicare and Social Security benefits.

For a generation we have elected politicians who have written laws to provide benefits for us and failed to raise the taxes to pay for them.

While this is politically profitable, it is financially unsound and ultimately unsustainable.

The Congressional Budget Office, in its 2013 Long Term Budget Outlook, has projected that by 2038, fully 100 percentof taxes will be consumed by interest on the national debt, Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security payments. There will be nothing left for everything else: food stamps, welfare, education, defense, public broadcasting subsidies, etc – all the “little” things we’re fighting about now.

Let us use this moment make an adult, nonpartisan commitment to balance our promised benefits with taxes we’re willing to pay. Let’s have the fight, which we must, about how to raise taxes and reel in benefits, but let’s have a common commitment that ultimately they must balance. Let us refuse to elect another politician unless he or she has a realizable plan to produce to balanced budget and tells us when it will be achieved.

THOMAS BRANSCOM

Bow

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