Letters to the Editor

Letter: Not free

March 3, 2014


To the editor:

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network poll showed 72 percent of Kansans supported taking federal funds to expand Medicaid coverage in Kansas, (Journal-World, Feb. 27). The federal government has promised to pay 100 percent of the cost of expansion for three years; and 90 percent in subsequent years.

From virtually every article or editorial letter I have seen, there are two reasons Kansans believe we should expand medicaid. First, it would expand medical coverage to tens of thousands of low-income Kansans.  Secondly, the federal government would pay for the expansion.

Providing medical coverage for children and low income Kansans is a worthwhile goal. However, most supporters of the expanded coverage act like it will be “free” because the money comes from the federal government.  Where does the federal government get money? The money comes from borrowing money, from printing money and from taxpayers. 

I think you see the problem here.  Almost half of the country does not pay any federal tax. The other half picks up the tab. So when you think federal dollars are free, remember the nation is more than $17 trillion in debt, with unfunded expenses for Medicare and Social Security promises which are close to $100 trillion, not counting the promise of Obamacare.

I sincerely hope I live to see someone balance the desire to provide services with the ability to pay for them. It doesn’t look good at this point. If you can do it, speak up. 


Bart Johnson 2 years, 11 months ago

It doesn't really matter, at this point. The US simply cannot continue to spend like this for too much longer before serious consequences set in. The federal government will go bankrupt and collapse. The only question is, what are we going to do when that happens?

Beator 2 years, 11 months ago

I'm stocking up on 2 ply toilet paper for bartering.

Jim Slade 2 years, 11 months ago

So instead we turn down the expansion, pay the same amount of taxes, but see our tax dollars go to the states that did expand rather than come back to Kansas to help Kansans.

Larry Sturm 2 years, 11 months ago

If you didn't have medicare or couldn't afford health insurance and were disabled what would you do ?

Bob Forer 2 years, 11 months ago

the answer is obvious. He would change his opinion.

Julius Nolan 2 years, 11 months ago

And what happens when the government doesn't? Sounds like the libertarians are spending too much time acting like Chicken Little screaming "The Sky Is Falling". In this case the words are "The government is bankrupt" and there is no proof, just pure conjecture.

Sam Crow 2 years, 11 months ago

Tell that to the people of Detroit or any of the other cities, that woke up one morning to see the repercussions of government bankruptcy. They thought the spending party could go on forever too. The states are next, beginning with Illinois.

James Howlette 2 years, 11 months ago

A city or state does not make its own currency. A federal government does. There is a difference.

Sam Crow 2 years, 11 months ago

So lets just print up 17 trillion and get out of debt. Right? You obviously have no knowledge of macroeconomics.

James Howlette 2 years, 11 months ago

I obviously have more knowledge than you, since I also know the deficit is shrinking and that the ACA isn't expanding it. CBO estimates say that repealing the ACA would actually make the deficit worse, not better.

Sam Crow 2 years, 11 months ago

Only you and Rachel Maddow really believe that.

Beator 2 years, 11 months ago

If Putin abandons the dollar, a crash landing more like.

Moscow (AFP) - Russia could reduce to zero its economic dependency on the United States if Washington agreed sanctions against Moscow over Ukraine, a Kremlin aide said on Tuesday, warning that the American financial system faced a "crash" if this happened.


Terry Thatcher 2 years, 11 months ago

I always believe what the Kremlin says.....

Richard Heckler 2 years, 11 months ago

Social Security Insurance - Separating Fact from Fiction

The opponents of Social Security will stop at nothing in their long crusade to destroy the most efficient retirement system in the world. Opponents have taken two tracks to attack Social Security.

The first is to claim the system as it is will fail, and the second is to claim that privatization is a better way to provide for retirement security. The first claim was the favorite from 1935 to about 2001.Then the privatization claim became the vogue. Now the first is back on the table.

With corporations routinely defaulting on their pension promises, more and more workers must rely on their individual wealth to make up the difference. The stock market collapse at the turn of the millennium wiped out much of the financial wealth of middle class Americans, and the collapse of the housing bubble has wiped out much of their remaining wealth.

More info not rhetoric: http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2010/0111orr.html

Richard Heckler 2 years, 11 months ago

Social Security Insurance is paid for by users as is Medicare Insurance. Medicare Insurance is taken out of Social Security Insurance checks each month.

Have opponents actually lied to the public about Social Security? Yes.

During the 20th century, there were several periods lasting more than ten years when the return on stocks was negative. After the Dow Jones stock index went down by over 75% between 1929 and 1933, the Dow did not return to its 1929 level until 1953. In claiming that the rate of return on a stock investment is guaranteed to be greater than the return on any other asset is lying.

Until 1984, the trust fund was “pay-as-you-go,” meaning current benefits were paid using current tax revenues. In 1984, Congress raised payroll taxes to prepare for the retirement of the baby boom generation. As a result, the Social Security trust fund, which holds government bonds as assets, has been growing. When the baby boomers retire, these bonds will be sold to help pay their retirement benefits.

What impact would the conversion to private accounts have on the national debt? The government would have to borrow an additional $4 trillion over the next 20 years to make up the money that would be drained out of the system by private accounts. Former President Bush and Congress racked up an average $793 billion deficit each year Bush was in office. Social Security privatization would raise the size of the government’s deficit by another $300 billion per year for the next 20 years.

This does not seem to bother Republicans, as long as they are in power. In fact, by the time the second Bush left office, the national debt had grown to $12.1 trillion. Over half of that amount had been created by Bush’s tax cuts for the very wealthy.

Another 30% of the national debt had been created by the tax cuts for the wealthy under Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Fully 81% of the national debt was created by just these three Republican Presidents.

How would the rest of the U.S. economy be affected if the private accounts replaced the current system? Put simply, moving to a system of private accounts would not only put retirement income at risk—it would likely put the entire economy at risk.


Richard Heckler 2 years, 11 months ago

Former President Bush claimed the trust fund is just a bunch of government IOUs and therefore worthless. Is this true?

The trust fund does just contain IOUs, but they’re not worthless.

If they are, someone should tell that to the very smart and very rich people, and the central banks of Japan, China, and many other countries that hold a large share of their assets in U.S. government bonds.

When the trust fund was created in 1935, the law stipulated that any excess revenues coming into the Social Security system must be used to purchase federal government bonds. (At the time, the stock market had just lost over 75% of its value and was understood to be unsafe.)

Federal bonds are absolutely safe; the government of the United States has never defaulted on any bond obligation.


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