Columnist comparing apples to oranges

July 29, 2014

In response to Mr. Flood's July 23rd article concerning millennials' confused political views coupled with raising taxes for infrastructure projects, he is correct in that millenials are confused on how to assess policy issues, but not for the reasons stated.

Having raised two sons in this age group, the misguided messages received from academia and media outlets vs what is taught to those living in a more traditional household is more a factor than Mr. Flood's assertion, “if millennials have learned to resist logical choices, its because they learned from the masters” (re baby boomers). All baby boomers are not like minded. Many still believe and impart to their children the guiding principles that were held by both Democrats and Republicans not so long ago. The principles of rugged individualism vs collectivism, self reliance vs government handouts, personal responsibility not victim-hood, equality of opportunity not equality of outcome, inspired by and celebrate stellar achievements that garnered great wealth vs the incitement of class hatred, and that capitalism - even with its inequities - is still far superior in providing freedom and opportunity for success than a large intrusive government “nanny state”. Even the “Prince” of the Democratic party, John F. Kennedy said "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."

Pertaining to Mr. Flood's premise that the two unfunded wars and the public’s lack of appetite to approve a tax increase have resulted in huge shortfalls for infrastructure spending is a non sequitar. There are many reasons that de-bunk this position, suffice it to list a few.

First, the federal budget is in deficit so one is “cherry picking” a program to declare that raising taxes would fund it. Fiscal 2015 budget deficit will be approx. $564 billion coupled with the national debt of over $17.5 trillion! Hence, much of what the federal goverment provides is unfunded.

Moreover, even earmarked tax proceeds do not seem to go to the intended program, but somehow get diverted.

Second, according to the CBO, a Brown University study, and a Harvard University report, the estimated cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined will fall between $1.1 trillion (today's cost) and $6 trillion, including long term medical care, disability compensation for service members and families, military replenishment, and other social and economic costs over the next 20 years or so. This amounts to approximately $200 billion/year since the onset of the wars. In contrast, according to the Senate Budget Committee, the government spends approximately $740 billion/year ($3.7 trillion in the past five years) on over 80 different means tested poverty and welfare entitlement programs. Hence, not to debate the validity of war or the merits of social programs, but from a financial perspective, the cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars pale in comparison to other areas of government expenditures.

Third, there is strong resistance by many to approve any tax increase due to the lack of accountability, inefficiency, ineffectiveness and incompetency by our government to spend the money wisely. Remember the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” of 2009, AKA the stimulus bill? $787 billion revised upward to $831 billion of unfunded government spending to save or create new jobs, keep unemployment below 8 percent, and to fund “shovel ready” infrastructure projects.

By any measure, this act did not accomplish its intended goals. Unemployment did not stay below 8 percent. Jobs saved or created is dubious at best, and of the $111 billion earmarked for infrastructure projects only $37.7 billion was spent on infrastructure! According to the council of economic advisers most of the $831 billion was spent on items such as tax benefits for special interests ($290 billion), food stamps increase ($37.6 billion) , unemployment extension ($61B) entitlement spending ($240.7B), medicaid grants ($89.8 billion) and other social programs. Not exactly what the American taxpayer was sold!

So, pay attention millennials - rational, tough-minded baby boomers demand accountability and real solutions to problems before we give another nickel to our government Wise up!!

Mario Roca
Rehoboth Beach

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