Letter: Close loopholes, don't cut benefits

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As a retiree and a member of AARP, I am writing in defense of Maine’s seniors who are now threatened by Congress in its attempt to resolve the debt ceiling crisis.

There are proposals being considered by Congress that would make harmful cuts to Medicare and Social Security as part of a deal to raise the nation’s debt ceiling. These proposals would place arbitrary limits on federal spending, requiring cuts that could dramatically increase health care costs for today’s seniors and reduce the benefit checks they rely on to pay their bills.

Instead of going after those on Medicare and Social Security, Congress should be cutting tax loopholes and special interest tax breaks for companies that make billions of dollars in profits but pay little or no taxes. It is estimated that all tax breaks and loopholes cost the federal government roughly $1 trillion each year.

For example, oil companies are enjoying special tax deductions, preferences and credits that will add up to billions over the coming decade. These companies are making record profits. Does it make sense to hurt America’s seniors when these companies are doing so well at everybody’s expense?

Of course, Congress has to make some tough decisions to address our large and growing debt. But those decisions should not hurt today’s seniors and future retirees. Congress should go after wasteful government spending and entitlement programs first.

Phil Chin