MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

November 28, 2013

THE PEOPLE SPEAK — Times have changed for worse in America


— How times have changed! Food stamps cost the average taxpayer about $36 per year, while corporate subsidies cost each about $6,000 per year. Members of Congress get a raise of 15 percent while Social Security benefits rise 1.5 percent

The Social Security trust fund has a surplus of $2.8 trillion. This sum plus daily revenue can pay out for the next 20 years. The best way to strengthen Social Security for the next 75 years is by lifting the cap so that income of over $250,000 is not shielded from the Social Security payroll tax. If you make over $113,700 a year, you pay the same amount to Social Security as a billionaire.

In America, the top 1 percent owns 38 percent of our country’s wealth, while the bottom 60 percent owns 2.3 percent. The increasing wealth inequality in the United States has become the great moral issue of our time. In recent years, while the median family income has declined and poverty has increased, the number of millionaires and billionaires has grown at an extraordinary rate. In 1996, there were 121 billionaires in America. Today there are 442.

The greed of the extremely rich is only one factor causing our economic downturn. Americans need to start to buy only American goods. An illustration of this is if you buy a foreign car. Even though it may be made in America, about 1/4 of the money that you paid for it leaves the country and doesn’t return. Also this isn’t just for the buying of cars. Sooner or later it will be as it is with your televisions, which you cannot find made in USA anymore.

As I said before, times have changed and all the things going on in America today, isn’t what I fought for in WWII. I don’t agree with all that either political party does, but it seems that the Republicans are doing the worse job in today’s economy, by protecting the wealthy and undoing the good for the working poor.

GEORGE M. KESSELRING

Muskogee