Almost all Americans get

some sort of entitlement

Several letter writers shocked by the results of the election are maintaining that President Barack Obama was re-elected because of voters' desire for entitlements. One letter writer suggested that most were from the cities. It doesn't take much imagination to figure out to whom he was referring.

But the fact of the matter is that more than 90 percent of citizens at some point in their lifetimes benefit from some sort of entitlement. Many just do not realize they have used entitlements - such as the home mortgage interest deduction, student loans, Pell grants, veterans benefits and many others. These entitlements are utilized not only by those who vote for Democrats but by all of us.

If everyone who took advantage of entitlements voted for Democrats for that reason, the election would have been an overwhelming landslide. The real reason the Republicans lost is that they were offering nothing new. They were only offering the same old, same old "reward the rich with lower tax rates, and the wealth will trickle down" rhetoric that has never worked. Not to mention that Mitt Romney constantly flip-flopped on most important issues, often saying one thing on the campaign trail and the opposite in the debates.

The voters also understand that the economy, although moving at a slower pace than anyone would desire, is moving in the right direction. And voters understand that the economy would most likely be further along if the Republicans had worked to pass the president's job initiatives instead of being obstructionists and attempting to make him a one-term president.


Galloway Township

Counseling available

for Medicare recipients

If you are one of the 49 million Americans on Medicare, chances are you've reached a point where the sheer amount of options and information has completely overwhelmed you.

That's where the State Health Insurance Assistance Program, or SHIP, comes in. SHIP is completely free Medicare counseling offered by the state of New Jersey.

SHIP counselors are trained to present Medicare information in a clear, concise, and objective way so that beneficiaries can make more informed and confident decisions for themselves. Each county has its own SHIP office, and SHIP counselors can provide help over the phone or in person. As a rule, SHIP counselors do not recommend specific policy changes or endorse specific policies; they merely provide information.

Even though Medicare's open enrollment period is now officially over, anyone affected by Sandy can still make changes in their coverage, and there may also be important changes for other beneficiaries to consider.

For example, the period from Jan. 1 to Feb. 14 is the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period, which allows one to switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan back to original Medicare, and also to join a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan, with no penalties.

Atlantic County residents can reach SHIP either by calling Career Opportunity Development Inc. at 609-965-6871, or through the Atlantic County Department of Intergenerational Services at 888-426-9243.


SHIP Counselor

Career Opportunity Development Inc.

Egg Harbor City

Let payroll tax cuts expire

to save needed programs

Regarding the Dec. 10 letter, "Congress should let Bush tax cuts expire":

The payroll tax cut scheduled to sunset at the end of this year is for Social Security and Medicare. These taxes fund current retirees and beneficiaries. Therefore, funds must be borrowed to continue current benefits. President Barack Obama cut these taxes in order to get people to have more money to spend to stimulate the economy. However, the cuts also stimulated the deficit, as the funds had to be borrowed.

These programs are needed to support all retired people, and these retirees paid into these programs during their employment. Continuing this tax cut would hurt the programs, and Congress should not extend it under any circumstance.

But please do not confuse this payroll tax that supports Medicare and Social Security with George W. Bush's cuts in income-tax rates.



Beach-fee opponents

use faulty reasoning

State Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-Salem, Gloucester, Cumberland, and state Sen. Mike Doherty, R-Hunterdon, Warren, have proposed doing away with beach tags and allowing all taxpayers free access to any beaches that have been replenished with sand paid for with federal tax dollars. I assume this is part of the "fairness" doctrine sweeping our country.

So now let's take this concept one step farther to reach another ludicrous conclusion. Approximately 47 percent of the population pays no federal income tax, and 53 percent pay the balance. Does that mean the 47 percent of nonpayers can't go to those beaches? Or do the remaining 53 percent have to show a copy of their federal income tax return to gain access?

Our federal government pays farmers approximately $20 billion a year in subsidies for "farm income stabilization," which is not based on the financial needs of the recipients or the financial condition of the economy. Based on that and following Sweeney's and Doherty's line of thought, all federal taxpayers would be eligible for a discount on their next box of Cheerios.

This is just another example of Trenton politicians overriding home rule and not letting the local politicians decide what is best for their individual towns and constituents.


Stone Harbor

The rich already pay

largest share of taxes

Regarding the Dec. 8 letter, "Americans want end to tax cuts for the rich":

The letter gives the illusion that the top earners got the biggest tax break from the Bush tax cuts. That contention couldn't be further from the truth. If the Bush tax cuts were to expire, the lowest bracket would go from 10 percent to 15 percent, a 50 percent increase, while the top bracket would go from 35 percent to 39.6 percent, a 13 percent increase.

At the end of 2010, when the Bush tax cuts were set to expire, the House, Senate and White House were all controlled by Democrats. The Democrats whined about how unfair these tax cuts were. So what did they do? They voted to extend them.

All wage earners benefit from the judicial system, national defense, highways etc. Yet there is a disproportionate tax burden placed on middle- and upper-income earners. More than 40 percent of low-income earners pay no federal income tax. You can't get a bigger tax cut than paying nothing.

Facts do not support the contention of many that the rich got the biggest tax breaks. And in case anyone is wondering, my income is nowhere near the top, but in the middle-class area.