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An Open Letter to Our Dysfunctional Federal Leaders


I note with some frustration that most of the budget cutting proposals on the table back there rely on significant cuts to programs such as Social Security, Medicare, Military Retirement, TFL and similar “entitlement” programs.

You may fool many of my peers with that title but all those programs were purchased with money or service. I, as many of our military retirees, am willing to take a hit. I am not willing to take that hit alone. I am particularly incensed that those receiving earned benefits are now being treated as leeches allegedly demanding unearned government largess.

If we are to be targeted, I expect a return to 60-70% top marginal tax rates on those making more than several million per year (the economy will survive as it did before). I expect an end to the ability to use the provisions of capital gains to avoid paying taxes on salary. I expect a general tax increase on everybody (with specific protection to avoid whacking the veteran with cuts and tax increases where both are not broadly shared). I expect a complete review of the “social safety net” to consolidate programs and focus those programs on rapidly and jointly returning recipients to productive employment. I expect a gradual phase out of all deductions/ adjustments/ exemptions in the tax code to eliminate the perverse incentives therein. I expect a 70% reduction in remuneration to current and prior service plum book employees and Congressional members for about ten years in retribution for getting us into this mess.

Either we all share or nobody shares. We, the taxpayers, did not cause this financial disaster. We the veterans and seniors did not cause it. You elected officials in buying votes caused it. I have never been so angry in my life at the charade going on in DC right now. Wake up or move on!


Cait McKnelly 6 years, 10 months ago

I don't have any statistics to back it up, but the general perception is that a fair sized portion of the Tea Party is made up of retirees; political reactionaries in a time of uncertainty who want to go back to the comfort and security of the 50's, 60's and 70's. What they don't recall is that, despite the supposed "wealth" of those times, they were beset by problems of their own; McCarthyism, racism, the Cold War, an economy built on a war machine, all among them. Like many of the Tea Party, I draw Social Security now, a system I paid into for nearly half a century of working life. Many of those who draw it paid into it for well over that. Ironically, because my combined income with my husband, who is still working, is over a certain amount, I pay taxes on it. Many of those in the Tea Party, who voted in these monsters in good faith, are now seeing things I don't think they ever expected. Among them is a recast of Social Security, the very system that supports them, as an "entitlement" program. Many of them would bristle if you told them they were on "welfare" but apparently, as far as the government is concerned, they are. If it weren't so sad I would laugh and say "you get what you pay for". But I'm also very curious to know what made these people vote so much against their own self interests. Was it the "scary black man" in the White House? Was it nostalgia for a time that, in reality, never was? Was it the politics of fear and hatred spewed by Rupert Murdoch and Fox "News"; a cynical manipulation for profit that they were simply to close to, to realize? What makes these people tick? (I'm really liking where I'm going this and may expand it into at least a blog post if not a full on article. Thanks for the inspiration, George.)

George Lippencott 6 years, 10 months ago

To cait:

I have wondered that myself. The TV images of seniors with signs do not really establish a platform.

Could they be seniors on relatively fixed incomes revolting against an impression of constant tax increases? Could they be seniors revolting against a progressive social agenda with which they do not agree? Could they be very wealthy seniors (sold a business) not particularly dependent on SS or Medicare who are revolting against the potential tax increases that will be needed to preserve a system they do not need? Could they be seniors revolting against what they perceive as ever increasing government intrusion in their lives? Could they be racists revolting against Mr. Obama? Fill in your own supposition

My suspicion is that whatever they were they were overtaken by Mr. Nordquist and his AFP who want less government intrusion (costs and regulation) in their businesses and personal lives. I don’t think those original seniors are in charge anymore – if they ever were.

Calling them racist would IMHO be consistent with calling the Democratic Party communist. Given our two party system there are some identified with the Democratic Party that espouse communist principals but the party certainly does not. I suspect that one could view the Tea Party that way.

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