Essay by:
Melinda Self
Emporia State University

Fixing the Federal national debt is a lot like pulling off a well stuck band-aid; sure it will initially sting but once it has been removed the healing process can continue. Although our debt began with good intentions as it became necessary to fund the war effort during World War II, the government did a poor job at making any effort to re-pay any of these debts as the economy began to prosper in the decades to come. Instead we added new debts when we chose to institute Social Security and Medicare. These programs were intended and designed to help those in need of assistance in their golden years but now are subject to great abuses by many. I am angered by the fact that I will have contributed to these funds my entire working career beginning at age 16 and when I need to use these funds they may not exist. There are those, mainly upper class workers, which are opposed to contributing more to these funds and would rather invest privately for their retirement. Good for you! You had the opportunity to earn an education that will serve you well in your lifetime. You had the great fortune to learn about retirement early enough to act and save accordingly. Social Security was not largely intended for you. Yes, everyone that contributes is entitled to their share, but think of your parents or grandparents who may not have had the opportunities that you did.

Fixing this mess will not be easy and not everyone will be happy but changes need to be made now. First off, Washington needs to cut the Federal budget in half. If you cannot find an area to cut try the military budget. I know that after September 11th a lot of people were hurt and angered by these events and I cannot blame you one bit. I apologize now if I offend anyone that is not my intent. I simply want to say that in WWII funding the war effort was voluntary while the war in Iraq was taxpayer funded. How many of the war supporters thought that it would have lasted this long and at such a great expense to us? As of January 2008 we have already spent $500 billion to fund the Iraqi war and counting. We need put an end to the loss of our troops and pull them out of a country that doesn’t want us there anymore.

Second, illegal immigrants need to be accountable for their existence in our country. They use our resources and infrastructure daily and do not help pay for the extensive upkeep. Either work towards gaining citizenship or go home. Stop abusing our state and federal programs limited funding so you can have free healthcare, food stamps, and disability unless you plan to pay US taxes. I believe that if the government would consent change the law stating that if a child is born in the U.S. automatically becomes a citizen this would drastically cut the number of illegals trying to stay. They do not want their families torn apart but at the same time they want to live the “American Dream” without paying for it.

Lastly there needs to be a serious Social Security and Medicare reform in order to cover the growing cost of the baby boomer’s retirement and medical needs. Sadly taxes need to be raised and the $94,000 income cap should be raised to a minimum of $150,000. This approach will outrage mainly upper class but at the current standards we are hurting the middle and lower class workers who may be relying solely upon these funds when they stop working. Also, the minimum age of 62 at which you can begin to collect your benefits needs to be raised to account for the longer life expectancies of workers. The age raise may not be much but it will help create more funding for future use. Even a simple change of a few years could save millions in payments disbursed that if invested wisely could accumulate interest. Medicare itself is practically a joke. There is no way to cap medical expenses and there is not enough funding or doctors to go around to take care of these mounting expenses. If we are going to provide healthcare for the elderly and many state programs provide for children then why are we not trying to find ways to keep the working class healthy and provide them with benefits too? Socialized healthcare seems like a better alternative than leaving the millions of hard-working U.S. citizens uninsured or you can try to normalize medical costs across the nation and see how well that works.

I’m sure that my opinions will anger some but it’s time for our generation to open our eyes and see what exactly we are dealing with. I do not want to leave my children cleaning up after our messes. It’s time we own up to our mistakes and rip off that band-aid so that once the scab has fallen off we will be able to see the changes that need to be made for the greater good of our country.

Re: Ripping off the Band-Aid

Hey Mindy!
Great essay! I agree with you on the illegal immigrants issue. I think that something needs to be done with that huge problem. I fully support helping other people the best way that we can, but they have to contribute something too. Why should we basically pay for them to live in our country? I also agree that the healthcare system is an outrageous problem. However, I would have to politely disagree that socializing healthcare is the answer. I think that socialized healthcare will lead to higher costs and lower quality compared to our current free market system. Think about it...our taxes would be far more than what we pay today...because we would ultimately have to pay for the system to operate.Yeah free doctor visits and low-cost medicines would be awesome, but socialized healthcare doesn't really do a lot of good in the way of treating major diseases or cancers. In countries, such as Canada people have to be put on surgery waiting lists just to have treatments and there are even numerous people who come from Canada to the USA for medical treatments and who pay out of the pocket for them. Anyway, I'll stop!! I respect your opinions, and totally agree that something needs to be done soon about all of these issues.
Whitney Davis :)

Re: Ripping off the Band-Aid

Great job! Your band-aid analogy added some humor the essay and made it more low key to read. Your ideas are really strong and I feel that you have very great ideas to bring to the table. I agree with you in the funding the war issue, while we all are appreciative of the soliders who are dedicating their lives for our country with the current economic situation that our country is facing I feel like this war may need to come to an end so that money can be spent on fixing our problems at home. Thanks for sharing!

Re: Ripping off the Band-Aid

This was a good essay. I liked the way you started with the bandaid and how you can continue to heal. Cutting the war budget will be hard but hopefully all of this will be done within the next year and that will cut back. I also agree about the illegal immigrants. Good Essay overall!

Re: Ripping off the Band-Aid

I enjoyed reading your essay. The title made it interesting! I agree with the illegal immigrant part where they need to start paying if they are going to stay in our country. Also that the war is costing way too much, but if we do pull troops out, it will take a while. It was definately a good essay.

Amanda Archer

Re: Ripping off the Band-Aid


You did a phenomenal job expressing yourself and writing a great essay. First, I commend you for inserting your opinion even if you may be in the minority. I agree with you in the fact that we need to refocus our economic resources away from the war and more into our own domestic growth. In addition, the illegal immigrants should be held accountable and pay taxes to help stimulate and assist with our government's financial problems--they live here too, they have our luxuries, it is time they pay taxes as well.

I very much liked your analogies, and you did a nice job introducing and clinching the essay. Hats off to you Melinda for a superb essay!

-Ryan Wilson

Re: Ripping off the Band-Aid

I thought your essay was really easy to read and I liked your analogy of the bandaid. I also like how you expressed your opinions. I agree with you that its time to clean up our mistakes and deal with the problem now. Good Job...Miranda Meyer

Re: Ripping off the Band-Aid

I liked the catchy title and how directly you addressed our nation's problems. It was interesting to learn your standpoint on the war, illegal immigration, and other events that have created heavy expenses because I feel that these problems are sensitive topics in everyday conversation. However, you made it known that these problems can not be avoided any longer, and I agree that everyone, including illegal immigrants, need to contribute to rescuing our economy in ways that are reasonable. I enjoyed reading your essay!

Toni Herman

Re: Ripping off the Band-Aid

I liked how you provided a background of information as to how we got to our national debt it was a good strong start and it gives readers a better understanding. Also, i agree with you about the illegal immigrants its not fair that americans citizens who right now are struggling with money have to pay for them while they get to live in our country basically for free something needs to be done about keeping better tracking and deproting those who are not trying to become citizens and are not paying their dues. However, i will differ with you about having socialized health care because even though it seems like a good idea on the outsde when you take a closer look it does not better for us then the current system we have now. Yes doctor visits and things like that will be little to no cost we will have to pay much higher taxes so in a way you are paying for these "free" services. Women having babies have to come to the united states to deliver becuase their hospitals are over crowed because of the free health care and i personal if i need a hospital i want to be able to go to one in our country. But i did like how you expressed your opinion very strongly it made your paper better and made it for a better read. Good Job!!

Melissa LaFuria

Re: Ripping off the Band-Aid

I disagree wtih what you wrote about the "illegals" abusing all of the recourses of the U.S.. Immigrants also have to pay taxes to the I.R.S. even if they dont have a social security number and for the most part they are unable to get any help from the government and that includes food stamps. You have to be a U.S. cittizen to be able to do such things as that. Working towards citizenship is not as easy as everyone makes it sound it took my family almost thirteen years just to become residents and it cost thousands of dollars. I myself have not become a citizen yet because it's difficult to go to school and save up to be able to pay to put in my application.--Claudia Terrell

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