Zeroing in on the Zero Hour – An Open Letter to the Editor of The American Legion

By Richard E Walrath

The following is in reference to Brian Riedl’s “Zero Hour” commentary posted in the September 2011 edition of The American Legion.

Does the American Legion plan on having a similar opposing article in the near future? I trust that one is forthcoming.

There are so many errors in Riedl’s article that they all cannot be covered in just one letter. The most egregious error is his statement regarding Social Security as “the main culprit” and linking it with Medicare and Medicaid. This is a common ploy used by many right-wing writers.

Social Security is almost totally funded by the FICA tax paid by employees and employers, and has achieved at least a $2.5 TRILLION surplus over the years which Riedl fails to mention. In what way does this make Social Security a “culprit?”

Medicare is an issue, entirely separate from Social Security, separately funded, and unrelated. The answer to the health care problem in the United States is single payer, universal health care that provides health care for all its citizens. Churchill once said, “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing–after they’ve tried everything else.”

But the most glaring error by Riedl, by far, is that he states that rising spending, not falling revenue, is the cause of long-term deficits. No, not so. Tax-cuts signed into law in 2001 and 2003, mostly for the benefit of the rich, followed by the worst recession in 2007 since the Great Depression, are responsible for the short-term and long-term deficits. Return to the tax-rates in the Clinton years which created 23 million jobs. and a surplus. The deficit problems will disappear.

One last point. Riedl says that between 1789 and 2008 a National Debt of $5.8 trillion was created. I would suggest that a fact-checker be used on Riedl’s article. During the Bush years alone, 2001 – 2008, $5.0 Trillion was added to the National Debt. Is Riedl trying to hide where most of the National Debt came from?

© 2011 Richard E Walrath

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