Blanca O’Leary stated in her letter to the editor (“Disaster not a bargaining chip,” Aspen Daily News, Jan. 19) that Scott Tipton’s vote against the Hurricane Sandy federal disaster relief package lacked compassion and foresight. O’Leary’s statement is at best naive, bordering on cynical.
Less than half of the $60 billion package was slated to relieve victims of hurricane Sandy while a full $38 billion of the relief won’t even be spent until 2015. I understand that most Americans are math challenged (which is how politicians get away with their shenanigans), but following is a partial list of the non-relief spending included in the bill:
• $2 million for a new roof for the Smithsonian Museum
• $4 million for the Kennedy Space Center
• $8 million for a new car fleet for the Justice Department
• $150 million for Alaskan fisheries
• $270 million in new Amtrak spending (beyond the $30 million already approved to cover Amtrak’s insurance deductible related to Sandy)
• $348 million for the National Park Service
• $600 million for the EPA to mitigate global warning (which is not occurring)
• $17 billion for “community development funds” (can you say ACORN?).
Astounding — and the above is just a partial list.
The larger issue is our unfunded entitlement obligations combined with our continued deficit spending and debt. Post World War II spending has averaged 18.8 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). Under this president, spending has averaged 24.3 percent of GDP. We continue to run-up annual deficits in excess of $1 trillion which is why our national debt has increased by $5.8 trillion under this president to $16.4 trillion. According to the Wall Street Journal (“Cox and Archer: Why $16 Trillion Only Hints at the True U.S. Debt,” Nov. 26, 2012), our unfunded liabilities related to Medicare and Social Security stand at $86.6 trillion. That figure does not include the unfunded liabilities for Medicaid, nor Obamacare, which combined, easily run in the order of scores of trillions of dollars. Which means that every American (man, woman and child) owes at least $326,984. Today.
No problem, just tax the rich, right Blanca? Wrong. The total combined value of everything in America is currently estimated by consumerismcommentary.com at $53 trillion, with the “rich” owning some $17 trillion of those trillion dollars. The money simply does not exist — yet O’Leary excoriates Scott Tipton for exercising restraint.
I believe it is O’Leary and her constituents who lack compassion and foresight; for the future generations of Americans to whom they are selfishly bequeathing our debt.