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Letter: Slanted column

I would like to respond to Emily Goff’s column regarding wasteful government spending. I’m not in a position to refute her specific claims of wasteful spending, so I’ll take them at face value. However, it is not unusual for such claims to consist of half-truths or misleading information as any regular reader of Politifact can attest to. Ms. Goff is a member of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative (some would say right-wing) think tank that has been in the news lately. Their most recent “study’ claimed immigration reform would cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $6 trillion. However, the Congressional Budget Office found that immigration reform would actually decrease the federal deficit by $197 billion over the next 10 years. So I tend to look at the Heritage Foundation with a jaundiced eye.

The point of Ms. Goff’s column is that the growing federal debt must be addressed and the upcoming 2014 federal budget negotiations and debt ceiling increase are an opportune time to do so. Few would question the need for the U.S. to address the long-term debt reduction. The question is by what method or methods should debt reduction be pursued. The Heritage Foundation supports the Republican proposal to shut down the federal government in order to defund Obamacare. Never mind that Obamacare is not funded by yearly appropriations. So shutting down the federal government would do absolutely nothing in that regard.

I also find it ironic that it was the Heritage Foundation that gave birth to the individual mandate that they now claim to hate so much.

But even more dangerous than a government shutdown is the game of chicken some want to play with the debt ceiling. Raising the debt ceiling allows the U.S. to pay the bills that Congress has already authorized through previous legislation. Failure to raise the debt ceiling would result in the U.S. government defaulting on its debt obligations. The financial consequences of such a event would be catastrophic and affect every man, woman and child in this country. There are numerous responsible ways to address the long-term U.S. debt. Shutting down the government and failure to raise the debt ceiling, which are endorsed by the Heritage Foundation, are not among them.

STEVE SUTHERLAND

Greenfield

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