Susan Elinoff: Not the same

October 22, 2013 

Marc Landry has demonstrated he knows little about health insurance, adequately remarked upon by previous letter-writers. In his Oct. 16 column “U.S. must confront its debt,” Landry showed a similar lack of knowledge about economics and the budget process.

Landry pulled out the old shibboleth of comparing the federal deficit and debt to that of a family or business, despite the fact that there are many more differences than similarities. One example: When a family breadwinner loses her job, that family has less, or perhaps no, money to spend. Thus their income and outlay are roughly in balance. However, in an economic downturn, government tax receipts are reduced, but, paradoxically, its responsibilities and expenses are increased – more food stamps, more housing vouchers, more necessary aid to that family in distress. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of other examples of the differences between individual family or business budgets and government budgets.

We need to address our future deficit and debt problem. There are common sense ways of increasing revenues and making changes in entitlements and other expenditures. What we need are common sense people to debate and discuss these changes. There is little evidence that Landry could be part of that conversation.

Susan Elinoff

Durham

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