My Turn, Connie Byrne: Plenty to be fearful about
The writer is responding to a Dec. 18 column by Dr. Ada Fisher, “Dr. Scrooge on call.”
Dear Dr. Fisher,
As a lifelong liberal leaning woman of age 70, I have not often read one of your commentaries while nodding in agreement, let alone highlighting your comments. I found myself doing just that while reading your entire commentary this past Sunday in the Salisbury Post. Additionally, not only did I read it and nod and underline three-fourths of your points, I’ve saved the page to share and now I’m actually writing you!
Dr. Fisher, so much of what you wrote flies straight in the face of what President-elect Trump has done and said to date. You’ve cautioned about unchecked spending, yet Mr. Trump is promising to spend millions on infrastructure projects with money we don’t have. Additionally, if he proceeds with his proposed tax cuts, tax revenues will fall along with the rates. We learned too well that “trickle down” economics doesn’t work for anyone except big businesses and mega-corporations.
You’ve called for a Federal Reserve audit and an end to raising Social Security funds to pay for projects not financed by tax revenues. Dire forecasts of Social Security benefits needing to either be cut or ended altogether are a direct result of such raids on these accounts. If the monies “borrowed” had stayed put, earning income instead of being taken by our legislators, the Social Security program would not only have continued to be solvent, but probably flourished. As someone who paid into the system since age 18, I am frequently both enraged and filled with despair, the latter because as a retiree with more debt than usual for my age (long story of raising a grandchild after losing my daughter), decreases in income are terrifying.
You also warm about the possible rise of a military-industrial complex capable of easily directing and taking over our lives. While I don’t see any sign of such desires at this time, another Dick Cheney might be lurking behind Curtain A, B or C. Loving my son, a 23-year Marine veteran who now works at the Pentagon, I have great respect for members of our military. And yet, as Lord Acton cautioned “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” also from Sunday’s opinion page.
In other paragraphs, you comment on the demand for jobs that aren’t there, yet are being promised with abandon. Unfortunately, too many people not only took Mr. Trump at his word, but are insisting those promises can easily be kept if only… take your pick on that one.
You also cautioned against the merging of corporate interests and professional politicians in leadership positions who can too easily lose sight of their real reasons for being there. I would add to that the merging of corporate interests and political appointments of governmental neophytes with strong corporate interests. Whose interests will they first consider, whose interests will they work to better in the long run, whose axes will they grind? I’m anxiously waiting to see if their corporate interests will be prioritized at the expense of our environmental and ecological well-being. As you pointed out, Theodore Roosevelt set aside land, as have many presidents since then, to make “sure we had places to explore, breathe and dream while protecting endangered species.” Very well said, in my opinion as a former biology and natural sciences teacher in years long past.
Dr. Fisher, you closed with an admonishment from the Bible of “fear not” and yet I am very fearful. Your voice, along with those of many other fearful ones, liberal and conservative alike, need to be heard, need to be joined together as we enter a new political era, new political environment.
Thank you again for a well written cautionary piece. I will pay more attention to your writings in the future, hoping the things you warn of do not come to pass.
Connie Byrne lives in Kannapolis.
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