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Voice of the People, March 21, 2021

Voice of the People, March 21, 2021

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Utility upgrade hurt road

I live in a pristine community known for its peace and tranquility. My street is a lovely country two lane road with new houses and cedars. It is full of bicycle riders, joggers and people walking their dogs. Last year they closed the bridge off of Pitney Road, no money to fix it so traffic has been detoured down our street.

Then in November the electric company started putting in new poles. We received no notification, to my knowledge there was no discussion in City Council as warning what to expect. For four months they have been putting up tall steel poles that are driven into the ground and cemented into the earth. The street was closed on and off all through the busy Christmas season. Huge machines tamp these poles in. There are cracks in my ceiling from the intensity of the pole drivers. The poles are rusty brown steel and a definite eyesore.

The project involved many huge trucks, bulldozers, cherry pickers and state police. I wonder who is paying for this project.

Now I look out my bay window there is an ugly monolith.

In fairness the workers were polite and helped us get in and out the driveway when necessary. The State Troopers escorted us up and down the road.

But the beauty of this road is gone. A bird that used to call to me in the early morning hours from the tall cedars is gone.

I feel unprotected by my city and county. I should have been informed about this project. Why is there money for this project and not our little bridge?

Jane Bavisik

Port Republic

Medicare billed to future

Much is reported in the news regarding Medicare Part A’s trust fund having insufficient funds to pay full benefits beyond 2026. Part A’s solvency would involve a moderately painful fix: increase the tax and/or reduce payments.

Rarely reported, however, is the fact that Parts B and D operate under statutory differences in their methods of financing. Their mandate requires costs to be fully funded by a combination of beneficiary premiums and general revenue transfers. Thus, said regulatory structure guarantees permanent solvency, but at what price.

Data published in Medicare’s Trust Fund Report shows that, at its inception in 1965, Part B’s premiums comprised only 50% of the program’s outlays. This has decreased progressively to nearly 25%: the general fund picks up 75%. Premiums from Part D enrollees are also less than 25% of its costs.

In most years, the Treasury was forced to borrow (i.e., increase the national debt) to maintain this solvency. Many have expressed the opinion that mandating solvency results in a perpetual unfunded entitlement of $400 plus a month for increasing numbers of Medicare recipients.

Knowing on whom this debt obligation falls, would one be incorrect in labeling the financing of Parts B and D as inter-generational theft?

Thomas DeFiore


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