As the “fiscal cliff” looms, lawmakers in Washington must be careful not to make things worse for Americans who are already struggling.
Most importantly, the health care system in this country is still in flux; even though the Supreme Court has upheld “Obamacare,” Indiana and other states still don't have the direction they need to make basic decisions about many parts of the new law. What the health care system needs is more competition, not more government. The Medicare Part D prescription drug program is a good example of what is working in our health care system.
Health plans negotiate rebates with drug manufacturers and, by law, pass those rebates on to beneficiaries. President Obama and his Democrat allies despise competition and free markets, so they are fighting to introduce Medicaid-style price controls into the program. They want the rebates that currently go to beneficiaries to go to the federal government instead. It doesn't take a Ph.D. in health care to know that only one thing will result: higher prescription drug costs for seniors. I hope our congressional delegation will work to expand competition in our health care system and continue to find innovative solutions to help keep costs down.
I'm extremely troubled by some members of the Republican Party recently saying that they will not honor their promises not to raise taxes on the American people.
Much has been made about the “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” advocated by Grover Norquist. When a candidate for public office signs that pledge, he is making a promise to his constituents, not to any one person, that they will not raise their taxes. Democrats are not even trying to hide the fact that they want to raise any tax they can — the question is only on whom and by how much.
There are certain proposals, like higher energy taxes, that would hurt our economy more than others. Raising taxes on energy companies doesn't hurt those companies, it hurts us. The American consumers are the ones who will have to pay for these higher taxes. I applaud Senators Coats and Lugar for their stand against higher taxes in the past and hope they continue to fight for lower taxes for us all.
It is finally put up or shut up time for those politicians who have proclaimed but never proved that they could dent the federal deficit by closing tax loopholes and ending tax deductions.
Their contribution to the “fiscal cliff” negotiations should be a full public listing of all the loopholes and deductions they would eliminate, complete with the amount that each closing would save and the identity of the group that would have to pay that amount.
Only such disclosure will tell us whether this approach can provide significant savings and who will be affected. The surprise may be the extent to which the burden will fall on families with middle and lower incomes.
By avoiding details during the recent campaigns, some politicians tried to leave the impression that closing loopholes offered an effective and painless solution. We need the truth now.
Gordon E. Walter
Thank you in blue, red and yellow! Share your support for our local heroes by putting a blue or red light (or both) in your window in honor of the police officers and firefighters who have died in the line of duty and those who continue to serve our communities each day. Let everyone know how grateful we are for these guardian angels and their family members who share them with us.
Also, please tie a yellow ribbon in honor of the soldiers who have fought and those who continue to fight to protect the freedoms we enjoy this season and every day.
Jerry Vandeveer, president, Law Enforcement/Firefighter Memorial
To the Fort Wayne Street Department: I thank you for a job well done. During a recent lunch hour walk with the dog, I found two street department crews clearing leaves in my neighborhood. Although I didn't get to speak to each person, I did tell those I encountered thank you and that their hard work was very much appreciated. Kudos to you all!