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Government should rein in spending to match drop in revenue

Let's clear the air with regard to who is writing to you. I registered as a Republican while I was in serving in the U.S. Navy in the Gulf of Tonkin in 1972. I am politically to the right of Rush Limbaugh, admire Sean Hannity and think that the tea party folks are common-sense patriots.

With that said, my income has declined by 65 percent since September '06. It is now getting back to where it was in 1994. It may take me a few more years to get back to my 2006 income level. In 1994, I had five children with a stay-at-home wife at home. Today, I have one child at home, two in college and the other two raising their own families. Because I am self-employed, I have no federal or state safety net. My college kids are working their way through school.

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Over the past five years, I have taken a hatchet to personal spending vital to our standard of living. I have reduced my personal spending by almost 65 percent to reflect the decline of my income.

I don't think that I am asking too much of our elected officials to rein in our government's spending to match the decline in tax revenues. I did it on a personal level and it is painful. I miss the standard of living that I once enjoyed. I am heartbroken that my younger children have not had the same experiences as the older ones. An example — my three older children traveled to Europe during their high school years. My two younger ones went to Fells Point!

As a former elected municipal official (Riverdale Park, Maryland), we struggled with balancing the town budget. One of our big fights was over trash collection. Collecting trash one day a week rather than two would save the town a lot of money over the course of a year. However, some of our town residents had grown so accustomed to twice-weekly trash collection that they threatened to run us out of office if we changed it. We were simply asking our town residents to "get a haircut," and they responded as if we were attempting to cut off their heads. We were not attempting to eliminate a vital service, we were attempting to make it more affordable. Think of the rioters in Greece.

Another area of contention was with our police department. When President Clinton promised to put 100,000 police officers on the street, our police chief jumped at the offer without reading the fine print. After the funding expired and after President Clinton received his accolades, we were faced with the prospect of having to pay for the police officers that had been hired, trained and settled into their jobs. It did not help that one of the officers had been deployed to Iraq, yet we still paid his salary and another was on disability leave drawing a salary.

As I was cutting my family budget by 65 percent, I did not do so as a conservative Republican. I did it as a concerned family man who happens to be a Republican. When we struggled to balance our town budget, we did so as concerned, responsible town residents who had been entrusted with the affairs of the town. We had a problem that needed to be corrected.

Thus far, it seems as if there are a group of lawmakers on Capitol Hill who do not realize that our nation has a financial problem. They are spending more than they are taking in. The responsible thing to do is not popular. The responsible thing will be painful. The responsible course of action will break our collective hearts. It almost seems un-American to say that something cannot be done. We are Americans and we can do anything. We went to the moon, for crying out loud. It hurts our national psyche to say that we can't provide for our less fortunate fellow citizens. The reality is — we can't. The Johnson administration declared a war on poverty, but Jesus' statement that "...you have the poor with you always..." still rings true after 2,000 years and untold billions of dollars have been spent to attempt to disprove Him.

In closing, let me say that I am a born-again, evangelical Christian. With this said, all that we have and all that we will ever have comes from the Creator. He is the One who has given me the gifts and talents that I have in order to earn the income that I am able to earn. All He wants is the tithe (10 percent) that acknowledges that everything comes from Him. Our government takes much more than the 10 percent that God asks for Himself. Our government therefore is placing itself above God through its taxation policies. Our government requires 15 percent and up whereas God asks for only 10 percent, at the minimum. It is true that God does not pave the roads, build our libraries or fund the studies that research the mating habits of the purple wren. But He created man so that we can pursue those things that interest us. As the prophet Isaiah said: " We are the clay and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand...". There is no reason to give the created more than we give the Creator, no matter how much or how little we have. To do so is a usurpation of God's supremacy.

Ray Badders

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