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Letters to the Editor

Who is being represented?

The assault on Social Security and Medicare continues by the 113th Congress. It is mostly the Republicans who lead the assault.

The government has “borrowed” from the Social Security Trust for years and according to organizations like the Alliance for Retired Americans and the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare have left worthless IOUs in their place. The Alliance says “Washington politicians are treating Social Security like it’s their piggy bank, to do whatever they want with it.”

The simple fact is this: The Social Security program has always been completely self-funded. It is totally separate from the way our government taxes and spends for any other programs. It has never contributed to the deficit. It seems the radical deficit hawks in Congress have made it a scapegoat.

For two years in a row Congress decided Social Security beneficiaries would not receive a COLA, yet in January of 2009, Congress gave themselves a pay raise of $4,700 which raised a rank and file member’s salary to $174,000 in the House and Senate. The House and Senate Majority and Minority Leaders receive $193,400, and John Boehner, speaker of the house, receives $223,500. If you do a search, as I did, you can find out all this information. Members of Congress won’t be affected by President Obama’s proposed pay freeze for federal employees because Congress sets its own pay scale separately. During 2009 we, the taxpayers, paid $2.5 million for the Congressional pay raises. It’s a pretty slick deal for the Congress, especially since they spend fewer days than ever allegedly doing their job. They are busy at fundraisers making deals with huge donors and promising continued subsidies and tax loopholes for corporations and millionaires.

One way our Congress could help reduce the cost of Medicare is to pass a law allowing it to negotiate the price of prescription drugs. Unfortunately, that will never happen because too many politicians are beholden to Big Pharma.

It is a sad commentary that a majority of citizens have very little respect or trust in the Congress. It would appear “We, the people” are not being properly represented by our elected politicians, but “special interests” sure are.

Judith Haggenjos


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