- - Tuesday, October 15, 2013

In his news conference last week, President Obama painted the specter of a society crumbling through no fault of his own. However, ultimately, he decides which activities to shut down as the debt ceiling is reached. The ease and petulance of his decisions becomes evident when knowing the federal government continues to receive billions of dollars in tax payments each day and still funds more than 80 percent of federal activities.

Veterans seem to be an especially distasteful constituency to Mr. Obama. The Park Service erected barricades to prevent those in their 80s and 90s, who take Honor Flights, from visiting the World War II and Iwo Jima memorials. The Department of Defense moved to suspend death benefits to families of troops killed in Afghanistan. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs just announced that soon payments for health and disability benefits will be suspended.

The fact that curtailment of activities targets veterans and other individuals is irresponsible. The fact that Mr. Obama proclaimed that the United States could default on its debt is incomprehensible. The Treasury receives more than 10 times the revenue needed to pay interest on the outstanding debt. It can also refund existing bonds without exceeding the debt limit.

NOLAN NELSON

Eugene, Ore.