Letters to the Editor

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DEBT: Get the facts straight

Letter by Raymond P. Tennison, University Place on Aug. 4, 2011 at 11:43 am | 25 Comments »
August 4, 2011 3:26 pm

Re: “The solution to the debt crisis really isn’t any solution at all” (Katie Baird’s column, 8-4).

I found it alarming that a professor of economics could so inaccurately report the facts regarding the debt crisis. She states that the dramatic change in the federal government’s finances was due to the Bush administration’s tax cuts, a 2001 recession, the wars and the recent financial crisis.

The data just don’t support this assertion (usgovernmentspending.com). If you looked at federal government spending and revenue over the past two decades, you would find that revenue, adjusted for inflation, is up 23 percent over the past 20 years, and, although down slightly in 2010, has kept pace with inflation up to the 2008 financial meltdown.

Spending, on the other hand, has increased rapidly in all areas. However, spending on social services has grown more rapidly and for a longer period of time than defense spending. Social services spending (pensions, health care, education, welfare) has increased 133 percent over 20 years and 66 percent over 10 years, faster than the rate of inflation.

Defense spending declined in the 1990s and increased in the 2000s, but over the 20-year period is only up 46 percent, including all the wars. Clearly, all areas of government spending, with a few small exceptions, have risen at a rate well above the rate of inflation and at a rate that is not sustainable.

I appreciate anyone expressing their opinion, but let’s not adjust the facts to support those opinions.

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