GUEST COMMENTARY: A checklist for reforming government, finances

2013-09-15T00:00:00Z GUEST COMMENTARY: A checklist for reforming government, financesCarl and Shirley Bernacky nwitimes.com
September 15, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Our elected officials in Washington are engaged in daily political ridicule, leaving everyday Americans caught in their crossfire reminiscent of the Hatfields and McCoys.

Let's focus on the following:

  • balance of trades ranking equal to job creation
  • emphasis on infra-structure (not high speed rail) through bridges, highways and water treatment facilities
  • demolition of vacant properties throughout our nation
  • rebuilding rather than consuming farmlands

Let's also focus on substantial tax reduction to companies, corporations and employers who invest in our workers and institutions.

Let's exclude income taxes on U.S. savings bonds for seniors older than 62. They are being taxed twice. An IRA receives better tax treatment.

Let's also leave the Social Security age alone.

Individuals should avoid payroll taxes by receiving income through dividends and interest.

Inflation protection is vital for seniors. The proposed chain CPI (COLA) for seniors is not an accurate measurement. For example, health care for seniors accounts for 12 percent of spending and only 5 percent for the general population. Over 30 years, the CPI would amount to a $36,742.92 loss of retirement income.

Repeal the GPO (Government Pension Offset) and the WEP (Windfall Elimination Provision). The GPO denies the federal civil service retirees, school teachers and others a portion of spouse Social Security if deceased. The WEP denies federal civil service retirees 56 percent of their earned Social Security they paid fully into.

Address preferential tax treatment, tax haven abuse and speculation. This would amount to an additional $2,652 of spending monies for an average family per year and add billions to the treasury.

Tax nonprofits, which account for $1.6 trillion in untaxed dollars a year. Establish exemptions for non-profits that serve as alternatives to the government sector and can demonstrate the budgets of specific agencies and programs will be reduced as a result of their activities.

Pay the strapped U.S. Postal Service the estimated $81 billion dollars owed this agency.

There is meaningful postal legislation. Unfortunately, as mentioned in the beginning of this article, our Hatfields and McCoys remain our stumbling block.

Federal employees have been denied pay raises for the last three years, which translated to a $114 billion being managed. A raise is needed equal to the cost of living (COLA) our seniors will receive from Social Security in 2014.

Shirley Bernacky is a retired care giver and social worker, and and Carl Bernacky is a retired letter carrier. The couple lives in Dyer. The opinions are the writers'.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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