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Protect veterans' pensions [Letter]

In his State of the Union address, President Obama overlooked what should be a major priority for Washington: finding a suitable alternative to the proposed unfair cuts to veterans' pensions ("Lawmakers take another look at military retiree cut," Jan. 5).

Veterans actually earned these benefits through years of service, which is more than one can say for most government spending. Why not cut the budgets for lavish government agency conferences? There are other extravagances that could and should go on the chopping block.

According to the Defense Department's inspector general, millions of taxpayer dollars are spent housing officers in mansions staffed with private cooks and gardeners. Another Pentagon report showed that the department's most expensive program, the $1.5 trillion Joint Strike Fighter, is hamstrung by hundreds of problems that could send its already astronomical cost even deeper into outer space.

We should cut this waste before turning our backs on veterans.

Earl S. Richardson, Salisbury

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