2018-07-07 / Viewpoints

Correspondence

Serious Harm

Dear editor:

Our Republican “friends” intend to attempt to balance the budget by making large cuts to entitlement programs, including Medicare and Social Security.

This is in spite of the na­tion’s growing indebtedness, which has been exacerbated by the GOP’s own policy de­cisions — including the new tax law, which most analyses say will add at least $1 tril­lion to the debt level.

So to try to mitigate their own doing in growing the debt ceiling, the Republi­cans’ budget plan proposes to squeeze $537 billion out of Medicare over the next decade.

Take note if you are 55 or older. That is $537 billion gone in ten years. Social Security comes in for more modest cuts of $4 billion over the same decade.

“The 2019 Republican budget scraps any sense of responsibility to the American people and any obligation to being honest,” said Rep. John Yarmuth of Kentucky. “Its repeal of the Affordable Care Act and extreme cuts to health care, retirement security, anti- poverty programs, education, infrastructure, and other criti­cal investments are real and will inflict serious harm on American families.”

Let’s examine the par­ticulars. Health care, I need that. Retirement security, I thought I earned that. Educa­tion, most people believe an informed populace is good for all. Infrastructure, another campaign promise forgotten.

Oh, and this just in. The U.S. Senate last week voted to give the military $716 billion for 2019, approving one of the biggest defense budgets in modern Ameri­can history despite concerns from some economists and lawmakers about the rapidly rising federal deficit.

The 2019 military budget, approved by an overwhelm­ing 85 to 10 margin, gives America’s armed forces a substantial $82 billion increase from 2017. Thanks, “friends,”

Scott R. Blume
Clarendon

Oppossums Matter

Dear editor:

Your recent article about deer ticks brought needed attention to a serious health hazard.

Lyme disease is spread through deer tick bites and Pennsylvania leads the nation in confirmed cases.

I want to bring attention to a natural deterrent to deer ticks: opossums. Opossums have ex­isted for 70 million years and are deer tick-eating machines, consuming 5,000 to 7,000 ticks in a single season.

Opossums are probably the most misunderstood mammal in North America.

The open-mouth, hissing, drooling behavior of opos­sums has led many people to assume the animal has rabies. That’s just bluffing behav­ior. Rabies in opossums is extremely rare.

Opossums should be cel­ebrated and welcomed into our yards, gardens and forests. They are nature’s antidote to Lyme disease. I have chickens and three dogs and feed two opossums daily. Everyone gets along fine.

With their bad eyesight and slow-moving gait, they are easy prey for automobiles. Let them cross safely. Learn more about these peaceful mammals from the National Opossum Society at opos­sumsocietyus.org.

Richard Wyman
Cambridge Springs

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