As a resident of Vancouver, I'm grateful for a community that nurtured and educated me, and allowed me dignified work. I have a comfortable life. At a time when one in five American children grow up poor and the richest 10 percent of Americans have engineered control of three-quarters of all wealth, I am upset that Vancouver's children, including mine, aren't getting the same opportunities I had.
In the Nov. 25 story "Any deal on fiscal cliff will show how real it is," The Columbian reported on the tax and budget decisions that Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, and Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, both D-Wash., face. The priority in the negotiations should be reducing the moral disgrace of high poverty and unemployment, which hurts all of us.
To avoid cuts to Social Security, food stamps, unemployment insurance and programs proven to prevent even greater poverty, we can't avoid cuts in military spending of at least $1 trillion over 10 years. The Pentagon budget is the low-hanging fruit of spending cuts. We must have revenue to invest in strong communities and family wage jobs so that all our neighbors can live lives of dignity. While we must care for veterans, we can't continue military spending on expensive, unnecessary wars and weapons systems.