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The Missoulian saw fit to give Rep. Denny Rehberg its Opinion page (guest column, April 15) to argue that Congress needs to curtail spending and it should start with earmarks. Rehberg likened earmarks to the tip of the iceberg. He’s right, it is just the tip, but the Titanic wasn’t damaged by the visible tip, but by the huge mass below the surface. While Rehberg wants to chip around the tip, one has to wonder why he doesn’t want to tackle the huge mass below the surface, which is the real problem.

Perhaps it is because Rehberg knows that he played a huge part in creating the problem. When Rehberg and George Bush took office, they inherited a budget surplus. Denny Rehberg and “W” turned that surplus into massive deficits. They almost tripled the total national debt in only eight years. Rehberg doesn’t address the main cause of the debt – nine years of war that has yet to be paid for. The war against imaginary weapons of mass destruction has cost over $1 trillion so far. But, the cost of fighting that war was never included in any budget, until the 2010 Obama budget. Rehberg and “W,” rather than paying for this debacle, simply borrowed the money.

Rehberg is neither serious nor honest. Earmarks are in the millions of dollars. Defense spending is in the hundreds of billions of dollars. No one is in favor of earmarks (unless they benefit their own community) so it takes no courage to take a stand against them. It is dishonest, though, to give people the impression that the cutting of all earmarks will have any substantive effect on the deficit.

In 1999 we spent $270 billion on defense. In 2009 we spent $700 billion. That’s your deficit right there.

Richard Buley,

Missoula

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