Las Vegas Sun

January 27, 2015

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Letter to the editor:

U.S. government is out of balance

The presidential debate Wednesday night had a segment on the role of government.

Government employees are absolutely necessary and they do a lot of good. But let’s start with simple, undisputable arithmetic. Government employees usually pay taxes. And some people on welfare or food stamps pay some taxes. But nobody is in a tax bracket greater than 100 percent; therefore, each government employee or recipient is a net drain on government spending. They take out more than they put in.

Also, essentially no government employee creates anything that we can sell overseas. The government employee has produced nothing that can be sold to China to offset a purchase from that country. Hence, the balance of trade must be made up by someone in the private sector making something that can be sold outside of America.

Again, government employees are necessary and good. But how many can we afford? Currently, we are the largest debtor in the history of the world. That cannot continue; our credit rating will go down, our dollar’s value will fall and inflation will soar.

We must balance how much government we want with what we can afford. And right now, that balance is out of whack and getting worse.

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  1. "We must balance how much government we want with what we can afford."

    As the most prosperous country on the planet, we can afford a lot. It's more accurate to say we must balance how much we want from government with how much we are willing to pay.

  2. Letter writer is correct. Smart government is good, big government is dangerous. Not to mention expensive.


  3. We need all the government employees to run ESSENTIAL programs. The way to cut back is to ELIMINATE unnecessary programs. Social welfare should be a local issue, not administered and adding costs at the federal level--we'd save the costs of all those federal employees and many of the local government employees that monitor programs to comply with federal requirements. And we need to eliminate federal mandates that states, cities, counties, school districts provide endless services for illegal invaders and their kids.

  4. We have a problem with obese government but it is also full of incompetence. Since Mr. Chapline likes to provide us with his anecdotal information (always a good read) let me provide you one of mine:

    As many of you may know I am a patient in the VA health system. A few years ago I had a heart attack and had a triple bypass done. When I awoke in the recovery room I was told I had to return to surgery because I was leaking! I had to return to the hospital 2 subsequent times immediately after my surgery because of incompetence that cause life threatening conditions. One of which was NO blood pressure!

    I survived. As a result of my surgery I have a hernia in the center of my chest and constant pain. The VA sent me to a surgeon at the military hospital. It took 3 months for me to get an appointment because the clinic kept forgetting to put in the order for the surgeon.

    He suggested a mesh be installed to help the hernia and perhaps the pain. I still have the hernia and the pain.

    I returned to the VA clinic and asked about some sort of pain maintenance and they sent me back to the surgeon. He tried cortizone injections but they failed to help long term. He said that they only way he could relieve the pain permanently would require him to crack my chest open again. I said no. He put me on a non-narcotic pain med. This make my discomfort "tolerable". He wrote me a prescription for two months and sent me back to the clinic for them to continue my meds.

    It took me a month to get an appointment to talk to my doctor. I told her that I had specifically made this appointment to add the pain meds to my monthly requirement. She asked me how many I had and I told her how many along with the dosage which was 6/per day. She wrote that I should return in 6 months. I waited for my meds to arrive and they didn't. I finally went to the VA pharmacy and they told me that they had not order for my pain meds. I had to write a letter to the doctor! I finally received a four month supply but the dosage was 4/per day.

    I could go on but I think you see a pattern here. I am in constant pain and have difficulty getting what I would call basic physician service.

    These are the people that manage our Post Office. These are the people that manage our Amtrak service (where they sell a cheeseburger that cost them $16 for $9.50 and have been investigating their losses for years but are "honing" in on the problems)!!!

    It is an environment of mediocrity!

  5. Yikes.

    It's out of balance?

    Here's the hard truth the right doesn't want you to know. As a share of the population, the federal workforce is near a modern low.

    Just take a look at actual data:

    The data proves that, as a share of the population, we're at a smaller federal workforce than the workforce under the Reagan administration.

    We should be looking at data and facts, not reading tired, misleading rhetoric.

  6. Mr. Gould,

    Your letter is absolute nonsense. Economic output consists of both goods and services. My urologist doesn't produce anything that we can sell overseas. I still need him because my prostate is the size of a hand grenade. Economies get rid of things that aren't needed very quickly. Just because a teacher is not producing something that is sold doesn't mean people shouldn't be taught how to read and write.

    When government workers and private workers get paid they turn around and either spend or invest the money they get. If you buy a car or government worker buys a car the automobile industry gets a benefit. When a soldier goes to war in most cases he's not producing anything but the country in theory should be getting some kind of benefit otherwise why have the war.

    In addition governments are very large employers. I believe the Chinese and American military are the two largest employers in the world. Governments tend to employ people when economic conditions are weak which helps keep unemployment from shooting through the roof. This is one of the first recessions in American history were government employment has dropped at the same time the private sector was reducing employment. This has caused unemployment to remain above trend for years. This phenomenon will continue for many years to come. The Fed estimates at least 12 years to get the unemployment rate back down to 5%.

    To add a little to Mr. Sandoval's above post federal employment hasn't gone up since Harry Truman was in office. Even though the population has almost doubled. The federal government is spending massive amounts of money trying to pay their share of the nation's hyperinflated medical costs. They have no money left over to hire anyone. It would be great if they could hire a few hundred thousand people to get the unemployment rate down.

  8. Mr. Hageman perhaps you should read this report about government employment.

  9. Mr. Chapline thank you. I know that we disagree but I can assure anyone reading that I have NO REASON to lie and I assume that Mr. Chapline does not as well.

    Another small anecdote: When I first moved to Southern Nevada in 1977 I worked for the State. I was employed with a very small agency that handled the power and water contracts from the Colorado River. We were responsible for Nevada's water allotments. We generated our own income through these contracts. We were also responsible for all of the power billing in Nevada from Hoover. We hated dealing with "other" state agencies because the incompetence was mind numbing. We had to deal with other agencies in purchasing but we did not use state personnel as we hired and fired our own. I left in 1985. I loved the Commission that I worked for because we were a small competent organization.

    Mr. Sandoval I bring these experiences to this forum in an effort to highlight that we should expect more from our government services. However, should one get upset you are told to calm down or you will not be given service. Our government agencies, many times, treat us, the customer, like WE are the problem. If we would just go away, all would be well.

    Imagine, if you will, a private business operating similar to our experiences with our government. Imagine.

  10. jrtsr: You needed cardiac surgery and you gripe about the quality of care? We patients need to remember that we are the guinea pigs as each doctor perfects (learns, trains) his/her "practice". My stance is, if you want to stay healthy stay away from doctors whenever you can. Sounds like you can't unless you do the medical m thing. Don't know how much your doctors explained before surgery. And let's think a moment, if someone makes it thru medical school and residency, there appears to be no supervision--unless and until he/she kills off lots of patients and the medical board has to look into it.

  11. Government jobs mean less unemployed. Do the math. Greece has about 25% of the workforce on government jobs and they seem to be doing OK...except for that ongoing public protest and bankruptcy thing.

  12. Ms. Anderson yes I do expect competence!

  13. gerry hageman,

    Excellent clarification!
    John Thompson,

    Do you to have pay any portion of your care under the VA?

    In the past, VA doctors who had battlefield experience were excellent. They gained alot of experience that translated into private/public practice. And VA training was high quality as well.

    Open chest or heart surgery can have complication that don't necessarily reflect on the competency of the physicians, including the health state of bones and muscles, and sometimes patient precipitated complications.

    Hernia's occur in many different surgeries, and may be recurrent. There are many factors related to cause, so incompetency is not always the case.

    I don't know your case, and only you know some things, but no matter what was done by whom or how it occurred, it is now you who must take the responsibility to follow up on your services, and preferably in a polite but persistent way.

    I hope you can do what is necessary to receive the care you are entitled to with as little stress as possible. Be persistent, polite, and timely.

    Another tip: Right or wrong, the non-professionals are gatekeepers with keys. Managing them is important. You can get them to work for you or against you.


    Attitudes can make a difference the quality of services one receives in many areas of private and public entities.

    I stopped going to any private business giving me terrible service including bad attitudes of employees and sometimes owner's. There are plenty. I approach all with a good attitude, and if they don't respond. I just never go back.

    I don't really see many difference in service quality received in private/public entities anymore.

    I think is it a sign of the effect of a growing arrogance and disrespect across the board in our society, although I recognize that it may vary in different locals. It may even have a generational component in any direction.

    In healthcare, it isn't always possible to go elsewhere, but attitude still makes a significant difference. I have to do that for my own care, which is private rather than public.

    I am NOT saying YOU don't have a good attitude, I am writing this in general, because health is not like buying a stamp or obtaining a driver's license.

    We maintain more power by controlling our attitudes. There is almost always a way to address grievances. We can make use of them and perhaps changes can occur. However, complaints require documentation of events be accurate. Cool attitudes enable accurate details.

  14. Am I missing something?
    Americans are the most generous and civic minded people in the world..
    When they have the money they fund everything through taxes and private donations..
    If I heard anything at the debate..I heard that Americans are out of work, on food stamps and therefore..No Tax Revenue
    Now..Romney said..Jobs, Jobs, people can pay taxes and fund the the programs..This fear and pennypinching attitude I hear everywhere is not telling me we created all those jobs the labor department claims..
    If so, where is the government revenue?
    Heck..Big Bird has a job..Big Bird is a billionaire..We should privatize Big Bird and tax BB's income to pay for the Post Office..
    That is the sad fact..No one wants to cut social one wants to gripe about government workers pensions..but that is the the State of the matter what spin Obama puts on it..

  15. Mr. Chapline my youngest son left the Air Force in 1995 after 10 years service because he said the military became to politicized. Knowing what happened in Benghazi, the fact the the Ambassador requested security, the fact that it was known ahead of time that trouble was due on Sept. 11th, the fact that it appears that our citizens where put in harms way FOR NO REASON, the fact that our President went to bed while the Consulate was under attack, the fact that our President came here for a stump speech immediately following the death of four Americans in Libya. In my mind the phone call came at 3 am and the phone was off of the hook and a "Do Not Disturb" sign was on the door.

    Had the President announced that he was suspending all campaigning until the issue was resolved would have shown him to be a stand up gentleman. I would really have respected him for that. Instead he sent the Ambassador to the UN to tell everyone that it was the result of a movie by an Egyptian and a spontaneous protest that "got out of hand".

    My son-in-law is an E-9 in the Air Force with multiple tours of Iraq. I ask myself: Is this the man I want in charge of his life? He is the father of my grand daughter. Or should we, perhaps put someone else in charge?

    Peacelilly, no I do not pay for my healthcare with the VA. I agree that battlefield surgeons and doctors are quite good. That is not what we have in the VA health system. Active military doctors and VA doctors are cut from a different cloth. I have been in the system for 5 years. I have had 7 different doctors and the last one I could not understand because of language problems. She was "let go" for too many "questionable" practices. I am not sure if it is the pay grade or what but I know they do have trouble filling those positions. I will say that the nursing staff both at the VA clinic and in the VA portion of the hospital at Nellis are excellent in my opinion. I also really like the last surgeon that I saw at Nellis. I just did not want to have my chest cracked open again. I am sure you can understand why.