Cutting spending

Posted Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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The political debate on spending reduction is too narrow, focusing only on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Many other programs could be considered: federal and congressional retirement benefits; veterans' benefits and pensions; military procurement policies and use of contractors; the endless wars on terror and drugs; agricultural subsidies.

We could change the way we administer welfare programs. Instead of food stamps, bulk commodities could be distributed to the needy. Why not allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices the way Veterans Affairs does?

Should Medicaid be supporting middle-class residents in nursing homes after they have passed along their assets to their children and be paying for babies to be delivered in private, for-profit hospitals?

Other advanced countries have social security hospitals for the indigent. These are facilities that provide good care in less-than-luxurious settings.

Every program mentioned, plus hundreds of others, has interested parties that profit handsomely from the status quo. If we are serious about cutting spending, each program should be examined thoroughly through a practical nonpartisan lens, then be debated and re-evaluated.

-- Michael Zaunbrecher,


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