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How Republicans raided the welfare state and left it flat broke

I would like to add some points to former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich's column "How the welfare state has grown" (April 7).

Mr. Ehrlich fails to mention the fact that every president since Lyndon Johnson, beginning in 1964, has raided the Social Security Trust Fund and transferred the money to the government's general fund to pay for the country's wars and for the campaign promises they made to their constituents in order to get re-elected.

He also failed to mention that President Ronald Reagan called upon Congress in the early 1980s to increase Social Security contributions because he claimed the system was going broke. This was around the same time Mr. Reagan lowered federal income taxes for all taxpayers.

Congress passed the increase and Mr. Reagan continued the transfer of Social Security Funds to the general fund in order to pay for his trickle-down economic polices.

Mr. Ehrlich also failed to mention the off-shoring of well-paying blue-collar jobs with the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement in the 1990's under President Bill Clinton — which happened with the full concurrence of the Republican majority in Congress.

What the country needs to straighten out the welfare state is term limits, taxpayer-financed political campaigns and leaders instead of politicians.

Vince Russo, Severn

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