Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says that, if proposed cuts in the budget for the Defense Department are enacted, the United States will not be able to afford to maintain its status as a first-rate power in the world. It will have to throw our country’s national defense strategy out the window.

One reason for our huge national debt is that we have spent more for “national defense” than we could afford, at the same time giving “tax cuts for everybody” with the most wealthy getting most of the benefit.

George W. Bush said at the beginning that the national debt doesn’t matter. Experience tells us, however, that we could not afford these costs then and we can’t now.

We say that we are spending money for national defense, but maybe we are really using the money to support the interests of many of our corporations to carry out commerce in various parts of the world — colonialism.

It is time to question our national defense policies. We also should question the use of the money that is provided to the CIA that also supports these national defense policies secretly. I don’t know how much money that is, it’s a secret, but it has to be a lot. I don’t think we can afford that, either.

Retail sales declined in January because most people don’t have enough money to buy things. Personal debt is increasing. Yet, some people are paid (overpaid?) millions of dollars to manage the businesses that employ them. It seems obvious that this country cannot afford such exorbitantly high wages.

No, the very wealthy are not investing enough money in the United States to maintain a strong economy. Our government needs to both cut expenses and get more money from those who have it.

Elery Keene

Winslow

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