Re: “Boxer should be less like Lenin,” Mailbag, Oct. 23. The national discussion has come to Glendale's pages in its usually vitriolic and confrontational way. The question is whether letter-writer Ben Ochart has legitimate concerns about the direction of the country. Is the national debt worthy of deep concern? Though it doesn't seem productive to wrap this discussion along with a history of gun control or quotations from Lenin, it does seem to be valid to include the Affordable Care Act as part of the discussion.
Both Democrat and Republican administrations have contributed to the national debt, and both parties have done so through additional spending: one party through additional social services, another through war; and both through reductions in taxation to different segments of society, and both by propping up large financial institutions during the mortgage debacle.
Sources of information like the Congressional Budget Office provide a neutral ground to gather information, if blame is the objective. But fixating blame only creates positional statements as useless as shouting at each other. No one will be persuaded and no one will be enlightened by it.
But I wonder if the question should be framed as to how we can reduce both the national debt and the cost of medical care. There is substantial information to support the contention that government at all levels — national, state and local — wastes huge amounts of taxpayer money and is pushing our current expenses onto future generations. But we also have huge societal problems that need to be addressed if we are to improve our quality of life and provide for a vibrant economy for future generations.
Framing the questions to create a healthy and well-educated population with a healthy and innovative economy is how we should strive to discuss the challenges we face. Amassing ever-higher debt to sustain current non-capital expenses can’t lead us to a better quality of life for us or for our children.