- - Sunday, January 12, 2014

Tea Party Republicans are correct to be critical of the budget deal (“Schumer: Immigration reform possible in 2014 because of Boehner’s tea party break,” Web, Jan. 5). The adopted budget for 2014 and 2015 is a disaster for those who advocate fiscal restraint, balanced budgets, no tax increases and reduction in long-term debt.

Billions in “user fee” increases are just hidden taxes to pay for more social programs advocated by Democrats. Promised savings of $85 billion over 10 years accompanied by a $23 billion reduction in debt is just creative bookkeeping. How can anyone not find far more than $2.3 billion on a yearly basis in savings out of a $3-trillion-plus budget?

There are likely just as many good managers in the government as there are in the private sector. If these people’s superiors would give them the authority and flexibility to manage budgets, they could find far more savings than members of Congress and the president have proposed. Millions of Americans have cut far more out of their family budgets and managed to survive. Why can’t our elected officials do likewise? There is no guarantee that future budgets adopted by Congress and signed off on by presidents will enforce these commitments that exist only on paper. Both Congress and President Obama are just kicking the can to 2015 and beyond instead of dealing with our financial crises today.

In reality, this budget doesn’t even reduce the level of future growth in spending to a slightly lower level than what Mr. Obama has consistently advocated. Everyone seems to have forgotten that decades ago, balanced budgets were supported on a bipartisan basis by both the president and Congress regardless of which party was in control. Neither the Republicans nor Democrats in Congress (or Mr. Obama) offers the chance of a real balanced budget anytime soon. If Tea Party Republicans had wanted this toxic brew that Speaker of the House John A. Boehner is serving, they might as well have voted for Democratic House candidates and bring back House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the House. At least with Mrs. Pelosi, what you see is what you get.


LARRY PENNER
Great Neck, N.Y.