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Letter: Helping writer recognize errors

To the writer of the letter published Wednesday titled “Democrats fail to recognize their own errors.”

We should all recognize our own errors. Let me help.

In 1998, the House of Representatives voted on four separate articles to impeach President Bill Clinton. Two articles failed to pass, meaning they didn’t get enough Republican votes. The articles that passed did not do so on strict party lines. Five Democrats voted in favor of at least one. Five Republicans voted against one article, and 12 voted against the other.

These articles were presented after a wide-ranging, four-year investigation by an independent prosecutor appointed by Janet Reno, the Democratic attorney general, acting in her role as chief law officer of the American people. The attorney general is supposed to act independently to protect the government from even the appearance of wrongdoing by federal officials, including the president.

The two Social Security trust funds are not a “pot of money” that presidents can raid. Decisions about the budget belong to the legislature. And the money collected by Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes is required by law to be kept in U.S. government bonds. You can view this as the government borrowing money from Social Security. But the Social Security Administration has bonds to show what it’s owed. It can redeem them on demand, just as you can cash a savings bond. Clinton didn’t take it, nor Johnson, nor Reagan, nor Bush, nor any of the rest.

Eligibility for Social Security benefits isn’t based on citizenship. It’s not public assistance. You pay in, and you get back accordingly. Almost everyone working in America pays the Social Security tax, regardless of citizenship. It takes about 10 years of paying in to establish eligibility. An eligible worker or eligible worker’s survivors may collect benefits based on the lifetime pay-in.

— Jeff Sharp

Salisbury

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