Shrink the debt by investing in jobs

I am a member of the Machinists Union. I want to express my appreciation of Congress’ action on Jan. 1, that enabled legislation to move forward thus averting the so-called “fiscal cliff.”

However, I must also express my utter disappointment in Congress for kicking the can down the road in dealing with the issues of sequestration and the statutory debt limit, especially when these issues are being used in an attempt to dismantle Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security while supporting the tax cuts and loopholes being exploited by the richest 2 percent of Americans.

The most serious economic challenge facing the American people is the continuing job crisis, not the national debt or the deficit.

America will not be able to stabilize the national debt over the long term unless we fix the economy first; an American with a job is an American who will pay their fair share of taxes, thus contributing to the stabilization of the national debt rather than being a detriment to it.

The continuance of budget austerity in the United States could keep us from ever fixing what is truly wrong with our economy; lack of employment opportunities for the American people. Our top priority must be creating jobs by investing in infrastructure and education, raising wages, reducing inequality and increasing economic security.

The middle class families in America need more economic security, not less.

Our economic problems are not caused by overly generous Social Security, Medicaid or Medicare benefits. Social Security has not added one dime to the deficit, and the projected imbalance in Medicare and Medicaid over the long term is a direct result of the hyperinflation of health care costs. The solution to fixing Medicare and Medicaid is to make delivery of healthcare throughout the American healthcare system more efficient and cost effective, not to shift costs to beneficiaries.

Across-the-board “sequestration” simply cannot happen!

Bobby Joe Murray Jr.