Union Democrat staff

Is our economic fate that of Greece?

To the Editor:

I was surprised and disappointed to note that it took two local reporters and input from the AP (What will sequester mean? Feb. 26) to outline the Obama administration talking points relating to the sequester. Hopefully, by the time this letter is published the projected spending reduction will be in place.

Flashback: "Obama pledges to veto effort to undo automatic spending cuts."

"Already some in Congress are trying to undo these automatic spending cuts. My message to them is simple: No," Mr. Obama said. "I will veto any effort to get rid of those automatic spending cuts to domestic and defense spending." Nov. 21, 2011.

Post-election: "The President will urge Congress to come together and act to ensure these devastating cuts to defense and job-creating programs don't take effect." - White House statement, Feb. 5.

Facts: The sequester doesn't cut federal spending at all - it simply reduces the projected budget baseline increase; this year, the sequester would slow the growth in federal spending by just $85 billion, from an expected, pre-sequester budget of $3.64 trillion - less than a 2.3 percent reduction; the proposed spending reductions amount to less than 0.03 percent of our gross domestic product. If our economy can't survive spending cuts of that size, we truly are Greece.

To put this in perspective, the federal government borrows $85 billion every 28 days. Also, because of ongoing contracts, etc., only $44 billion of the $85 billion sequester will actually be cut from this year's budget. The rest will be cut in future years. So, the real reduction in federal spending this year is just 1.2 percent. If the federal government can't reduce spending by less than a penny-and-a-half on the dollar without throwing us into the dark ages, something is truly wrong.

Ray Anderson


Don't derail housing project just yet

To the Editor:

Folk who are signing a petition to block the apartments proposed for Union Hill at Parrotts Ferry Road, please be aware that you may be hearing misinformation about the project. It is not 500 units and a strip mall, it is 80 much-needed rental apartments in a nicely-designed complex that will provide accessibility features for seniors and persons with disabilities. It will also incorporate environmentally-friendly walking access to stores for residents when the entire project is complete. The developer reworked the original design to achieve a look worthy of the gateway to Columbia State Historic Park. He is local and open to ideas.

This project shouldn't be facing angry '"NIMBY" obstruction. Our county's working families deserve a convenient place to live. Everyone can't be a homeowner, nor should they have to be. As for the retail project being proposed at the corner, surely everyone who got stuck in that snowy corridor of Highway 49 on Feb. 19 would have been comforted by a good grocery store. I live in Columbia and I support this project. If anyone asks you to sign a petition, please ask them for details.

Beetle Barbour