“Feedback Friday” Letter to White House generated form letter response July 18, 2012 on Social Security (part 12)

I have been writing President Obama letters and have not received a personal response yet.  (He reads 10 letters a day personally and responds to each of them.) However, I did receive a form letter in the form of an email on July 18, 2012. I don’t know which letter of mine generated this response so I have linked several of the letters I sent to him below with the email that I received. However, I think it was probably this one below:

Sweden produced ABBA in the 1970’s, but now they are producing some pretty good economic policies.

One of my favorite groups growing up was ABBA. Here are some of my favorite songs:

_______________

President Obama c/o The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

I know that you receive 20,000 letters a day and that you actually read 10 of them every day. I really do respect you for trying to get a pulse on what is going on out here.

I have been impressed recently with Sweden’s resolve to cut taxes and how that has caused growth.

Sweden has a very large and expensive welfare state, but it’s actually becoming a bit of a role model for economic reform. I’ve already commented on the country’s impressive school choice system and noted that the Swedes have partially privatized their Social Security system.

I even wrote a Cato study looking at the good and bad features of economic policy in the Nordic nations, and cited a Swedish parliamentarian who explained that his nation became rich because of small government and free markets and how he is hopeful his country is returning to its libertarian roots.

Notwithstanding the many admirable features of Sweden, I never thought they would be moving in the right direction on fiscal policy while the United States was heading in the opposite direction.

Yet that’s the case. We all know that America has had made many mistakes during the Bush-Obama years, particularly with failed stimulus schemes in 2008 and 2009.

Sweden, by contrast, has put in place pro-growth reforms. Here’s what Fraser Nelson wrote for the UK-based Spectator.

Can we trade Geithner for Borg?

When Europe’s finance ministers meet for a group photo, it’s easy to spot the rebel — Anders Borg has a ponytail and earring. What actually marks him out, though, is how he responded to the crash. While most countries in Europe borrowed massively, Borg did not. Since becoming Sweden’s finance minister, his mission has been to pare back government. His ‘stimulus’ was a permanent tax cut. …Three years on, it’s pretty clear who was right. ‘Look at Spain, Portugal or the UK, whose governments were arguing for large temporary stimulus,’ he says. ‘Well, we can see that very little of the stimulus went to the economy. But they are stuck with the debt.’ Tax-cutting Sweden, by contrast, had the fastest growth in Europe last year, when it also celebrated the abolition of its deficit. …‘Everybody was told “stimulus, stimulus, stimulus”,’ he says — referring to the EU, IMF and the alphabet soup of agencies urging a global, debt-fuelled spending splurge. Borg, an economist, couldn’t work out how this would help. ‘It was surprising that Europe, given what we experienced in the 1970s and 80s with structural unemployment, believed that short-term Keynesianism could solve the problem.’ …He continued to cut taxes and cut welfare-spending to pay for it; he even cut property taxes for the rich to lure entrepreneurs back to Sweden. The last bit was the most unpopular, but for Borg, economic recovery starts with entrepreneurs. If cutting taxes for the rich encouraged risk-taking, then it had to be done.

The article notes that government is still far too large in Sweden, but it’s also clear that moving in the right direction generates immediate benefits.

I posted a video back in 2010, narrated by a Swedish economics student, and asked a rhetorical question of why Obama wants to make America more like Sweden when the Swedes are moving in the other direction.

Unfortunately, there was no good answer then and there’s no good answer now.

Let’s close with some irony. Last year, I cited a study showing how large public sectors undermine economic performance. The study was written by two Swedish economists. In addition to trading Geithner for Borg, perhaps we can ship Krugman to Stockholm and bring those economists to America.

______________________

Thank you so much for your time. I know how valuable it is. I also appreciate the fine family that you have and your commitment as a father and a husband.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher III, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, ph 501-920-5733, lowcostsqueegees@yahoo.com

The White House, Washington
 

 

July 18, 2012

Dear Everette:

Thank you for writing.  I have heard from many Americans about issues affecting seniors.  Today’s economic climate further intensifies the unique challenges they face, and I appreciate your perspective.

My Administration continues to support older Americans encountering unfair treatment, financial hardship, or difficulty obtaining health care.  The historic Affordable Care Act strengthens Medicare by not only preserving, but also expanding benefits for Americans who depend on Medicare every day.  In 2010 and 2011, over 5.1 million seniors and people with disabilities on Medicare saved over $3.2 billion on prescription drugs thanks to the law.  These savings include a one-time $250 rebate check to eligible seniors who fell into the prescription drug coverage gap known as the “donut hole” in 2010.  And more than 32 million seniors have already received one or more free preventive services, including the new Annual Wellness Visit.  To learn about help available through the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, visit www.CMS.gov.

The Affordable Care Act also helps prevent and eliminate elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.  Additionally, this law implements unprecedented measures to fight waste and fraud, and to improve the quality and outcomes of care for Medicare beneficiaries.  It ends unwarranted subsidies to private insurance companies, and takes important steps to reduce unnecessary hospital admissions, improve patient safety, modernize payment systems, and streamline record-keeping.  It also realigns incentives to reward medical providers for the value, not the volume, of their care.  For resources and information on how to prevent, report, and stop Medicare fraud, visit www.StopMedicareFraud.gov.  To learn more about the Affordable Care Act, please visit www.HealthCare.gov.

By protecting Social Security from risky privatization plans, we are preserving its solvency and maintaining it as a reliable income source for seniors.  The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act included an additional payment to supplement Social Security benefits for seniors struggling to make ends meet, and I have called on Congress to extend this relief again.  Together, we will ensure all our citizens—not just a privileged few—can retire with dignity and security.

Finally, as we work to keep America’s promises to senior citizens, we are helping make sure older Americans can continue to enrich communities across our Nation through service and community involvement.  By expanding the Senior Corps and implementing the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, we are creating more opportunities for seniors to share their knowledge and experience with younger generations.  For more information regarding service opportunities in your area, or to share your story of service, please visit www.Serve.gov.

To find assistance for senior citizens and their families, visit www.Eldercare.gov or call 1-800-677-1116.  For help with Medicare, visit www.Medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE.  Additional information and resources are available at www.USA.gov/Topics/Seniors.shtml.  For assistance using internet resources, I encourage you to visit your local library or community center.

Thank you, again, for being in touch.

Sincerely,

Barack Obama

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