The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


April 4, 2014

Shortsighted government

Sometimes it just hurts to think about the stupid things our government does. The governor can’t seem to understand that education is the future of our state, our country, and the world when he cuts school funding. Education is the basis for everything. We need to catch up with the world’s leaders in secondary schools. Our universities and colleges are the envy of the world, but our secondary schools are lacking.

Now, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagen announced he wants to shrink the military from 520,000 to 440,000 troops. With troops set to pull out of Afghanistan at year’s end and the lengthy land wars over it sounds like a good idea. He wants to close some bases but increase the special forces and marines assigned to protect diplomatic posts abroad. This all sounds good, maybe we can get back to normal.

Then he proposes what I feel is unconscionable: he wants to limit military pay hikes to 1 percent, trim housing and health care benefits and freeze pay for generals and admirals. I don’t know about generals and admirals but the grunts, sailors and Marines don’t deserve to be treated this way. Don’t forget the slogans “we owe our freedom to the military” and “they are sent into harm’s way so that we can be free” and now he wants to cut personnel costs.

I believe that military pay hikes should be equal to congressional pay hikes and housing and medical benefits should be at least equal to that of the average citizen. I am sure we can get along with a smaller military, just as I’m sure we could do nicely with a smaller congress and less staff. How about freezing pay for congress?

The recently passed farm bill has, as usual, millions for big absentee farmers to not plant, but didn’t hesitate to cut food stamps for the poor.

Our government continues to subsidize big oil and coal with tax breaks for the rich while crying about budget problems. If all of that isn’t stupid I don’t know what is.

Carlyle W. Westlund,


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