Letter to the editor: Government shutdown hits hard


September 29, 2023

The U.S. is on the brink of a government shutdown due to a handful of right wing extremists who are holding the country hostage. These extremists, all Republicans and ironically known as the Freedom Caucus, claim they will not vote to approve the 2024 federal budget due to their opposition to the growing federal debt. Really?

According to the Associated Press, a shutdown would furlough millions of federal employees, leave active military without pay, disrupt air travel and cut off vital safety net services. It would definitely affect some of our local residents.

Where was the Freedom Caucus’ outrage when Trump gave tax breaks, mostly to the wealthy, and increased the debt by $1.7 trillion?

Why does the Freedom Caucus want to continue cutting funds to the IRS when it is well-known that doing so will increase the national debt? Funding the IRS pays a great return on investment. Audits of the wealthiest 0.1 percent returned $6 for every dollar spent. The IRS used to audit about 16 percent of those with incomes over $5 million, but now it’s down to about 2 percent of the high-income earners, according to the Brookings Institute. Why does the Freedom Caucus stand on the side of the tax cheats rather than with the American public?

My sense is that the Freedom Caucus wants the county to fail when a Democrat is the president. Biden’s economic policies are working. His Infrastructure Replacement Plan is beginning to rebuild roads, bridges, public transit, wastewater treatment plants, the power grid, expanding high-speed internet, etc., reaping big benefits now and for years to come. If the nation continues to prosper, as it did under the Clinton and Obama presidencies, the Republicans may continue to lose power.

In the coming days, the Freedom Caucus extremists will be talking about the national debt. But that is just a smokescreen to obscure their real goal of sabotaging the economic success of our country when the Democrats rule. Shame on them.

Byron Kuster,

Moose Lake


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