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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Rallying against our entitlement problem

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Everyone is in a tizzy over former Wyoming Sen. Alan Simpson's e-mail to a seniors advocate ("Social Security advocates having a cow," Page 1, Monday). Well, good for Mr. Simpson. Of course, I imagine his days are numbered on the august National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform; he violated a cardinal rule in entitlement politics, which is to keep lying through your teeth long enough to make it to the end of your political career.

How many people out there know they have been lied to? Fox News host Glenn Beck alludes to the "big lie" on nearly every broadcast he does and managed to entice half a million people to assemble in Washington last weekend. Come they did, all kinds of people, including me.

Social Security is just a piece of the entitlement problem. Add up all of the entitlement obligations, which are supported by trust funds containing nothing but spending authority, and extrapolate to perpetuity, and you have a present value mismatch well in excess of $100 trillion. And yes, this mismatch went up when Obamacare was passed.

Many of the people at the "Restoring Honor" rally really sat on a bus for two or three days just to come to Washington and make a statement. It was a sacrifice, but can we make a much harder sacrifice and reform? It sure beats imploding.

SAMUEL BURKEEN

Reston, Va.

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