1-10-13 Waconia Patriot Letters to the Editor

Writer defends facts used in previous letters

To the editor:

I feel compelled to respond to false statements made in letters in the Dec. 20 Patriot.
Joe Polunc’s primary response is to simply refer to me as a liberal. Readers should know that Joe and I have had private debates through the years and whenever I make a point that Joe has no rebuttal for his response is to call me a socialist or a liberal. In actuality, my success in the financial services industry depends on the fact that my data is based upon economic reality and truth — not political ideology.
Joe tries to hit me pretty hard on the Senate debate over the debt ceiling between Senator Majority Leader Reid and Senate Minority Leader McConnell. But, his entire argument is a fantasy. Treasury Secretary Geithner did offer a plan giving the President greater authority to raise the debt ceiling. But, it mirrored a plan originally proposed by McConnell in 2011. It was even referred to in the Senate as the “McConnell Provision.”
McConnell was under the false impression that some Democrats were against the plan and that Reid would be embarrassed by not having enough votes to pass the provision. So, McConnell called for the vote. But, Reid had done a head count and knew he had all the Democrats and could win a straight up-down vote. So, he agreed to the vote at which point McConnell shouted “Objection” thus preventing his own call for a vote.
Don’t take my word for this. A basic internet search for “McConnell filibusters himself” gets you at least 100 choices. You can watch and listen to the entire exchange. But, if like Joe, you believe what you believe regardless of what your own eyes and ears tell you then just recall your seventh grade Civics class. The majority party has the majority and does not need to filibuster. The filibuster is a tool in the Senate for the minority party.
In a previous letter to the Patriot, I suggested that the largest contributors to our national debt were the Bush tax cuts, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Medicare Part D and the stimulus programs.
It was suggested by Joe and another letter writer that I was remiss by not including Social Security. But, they are wrong. Social Security is a self-funded program that takes no funds from the general treasury and is funded through a payroll tax (FICA). In fact, over the years Congress has often raided the Social Security surplus to pay for other Government spending.
I will point out that there is one exception to the usual social security self-funding. In the last two years in response to the recession and in an effort to put more spending dollars into people’s hands, President Obama reduced the social security tax withholding from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent and the general treasury made up the revenue difference. This is the only time that Social Security technically added to the deficit and it is a proverbial drop in the bucket.
Again, don’t take my word for this. You can easily research this yourself. My information comes from the Center on Budget and Policy Provisions (CBPP) and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Another good source is factcheck.org. But ask yourself, if Joe can be so obviously wrong about these very basic things why would anyone believe anything else he says in his painfully long letter?

Bruce Helmer
Chanhassen

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