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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

February 28, 2013 at 4:00 PM

Sen. Patty Murray and Danny Westneat weigh in on sequestration

Government spending not acknowledged

Sen. Patty Murray’s op-ed “Avoiding sequestration requires balance, cooperation, certainty” [Opinion, Feb. 27] lays out a purportedly fair plan while blaming the opposition in advance it if fails. What Murray fails to acknowledge is how badly government spending is out of control.

If Murray’s plan to raise revenue by new taxes on the wealthy and oil companies was used to pay down the debt while at the same time cutting spending, it would be an admirable plan. However, the vast array of new spending laid out by the president in his recent State of the Union address is indicative of the out-of-control government and will certainly consume any new revenue.

Murray claims that a strong middle class is essential to prosperity. If the current government spending continues, it is inevitable that the middle class will pay a very large burden sooner or later, and the debt is still growing.

–David Cutler, Medina

Low-income, elderly and disabled will see consequences

I couldn’t agree more with Sen. Patty Murray.

If Congress and the president don’t reach a deal to avoid sequestration, thousands of Washington seniors now living independently will be in real trouble. Across-the-board spending cuts will slash the budget for Project-Based Section 8 housing, which provides affordable apartments for low-income elderly and the disabled.

Bellwether Housing is an independent nonprofit. We own and operate more than 1,800 apartments. Particularly vulnerable to the upcoming March 1 sequester are approximately 400 Section 8-supported Bellwether apartments that serve seniors, people with disabilities and formerly homeless families. The residents pay 30 percent of their income for rent. The Section 8 contracts provided by the federal government are critical to our mission to serve our tenants with safe, affordable, high-quality housing.

If Uncle Sam breaks his word by not paying those rents, the owners won’t be able to pay their mortgages and eventually may be forced into default. Seniors most likely will have to go to Medicaid-funded nursing homes, an option that will cost taxpayers roughly $50,000 a year compared with about $8,000 a year for Section 8.

Across-the-board cutting is penny-wise and pound-foolish.

–Sarah Rick Lewontin, executive director, Bellwether Housing, Bellevue

Murray plays blame game

Talk about irony. Sen. Patty Murray’s blame-it-all-on-Republicans lament over the deadlock in Congress, featured on The Times Feb. 27 Opinion page, tells of Washington constituents’ anger and disgust expressed on her recent in-state tour.

Right on, Sen. Murray, and your holier-than-thou sniffling perfectly exemplified the main cause.

–Don Gulliford, Mercer Island

Budget cuts are not the solution

I was surprised that your excellent columnist, Danny Westneat, bought into the spurious arguments of Rand Paul and his ilk about the across-the-board cuts that probably will occur this week because of the law passed in 2011 [“Time to sequester the hype,” NWWednesday, Feb. 27].

Some facts are that this is the only administration in recession in many years that actually has cut government jobs. In the Reagan administration, more people were hired. The budget deficit has actually shrunk in the last three years. Yet the Party of No keeps saying we have a spending problem.

The administration has already proposed cuts of over $1 trillion in 10 years, yet more is demanded. These cuts come on top of previous reductions and are truly the wrong way to go, placing crucial and necessary programs at risk of reduction or elimination.

Does anyone really believe we have a handle on early childhood education and that more doesn’t need to be done? Do we really have enough food and meat inspectors? Are the long-term unemployed really in a safety-net situation or are they told to just get a job? Is our crumbling infrastructure slated for long-term rehabilitation and replacement?

When do we say “enough already” and show these small-minded haters the door and govern this country from a position of hope and expanded horizons, not small-minded, poorly informed, parochial nitwits. We can do big things.

–Jack McClurg, Marysville

Spending increase should be cut

I was struck by the honesty and accuracy of Danny Westneat’s column, “Time To Sequester The Hype,” and Sen. Patty Murray’s fundamentally untrue op-ed “Avoiding sequestration requires balance, cooperation, certainty” in Wednesday’s Seattle Times.

The Democrats already got their “balanced approach” tax increase in December, with no corresponding reductions in government spending. Now it is the time to cut the government’s yearly 4-percent increase in growth in spending by 1 percent.

Too bad Westneat is not our representative in the Senate. He would bring some honesty and sanity to the management of government.

–Jim Arthur, Tukwila

Comments | More in budget cuts, Congress, Politics | Topics: Danny Westneat, Sen. Patty Murray, Sequestration

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