First, let me tell you that I a neither a Democrat or a Republican nor am I connected to any other political party. Secondly, let me tell you that I keep trying real hard to make sense of all this mess that our country and our state are in these days. Thirdly, I keep listening and reading the media explanations and the political blame games being played by all our elected folks at the national and state levels. I am continually amazed at how gullible we as voters and taxpayers have become. I read and listen to the new proposals to solve health care in America by converting everything over to a government-controlled and run system. Are you paying attention? What successfully run federal program will the new Federal Health Care Program emulate? I can't think of one. Maybe I just don't understand, but it seems to me that there is a better way to solve some of the country's problems right now besides creating something big, new, cumbersome, very, very, very expensive and which down the road will become a mess. Here are some suggestions that the feds in Washington should address before creating another boondoggle.

First, fix the taxing system. The current system is way too complex and difficult. Make it simple and easy to file. Get rid of all the confusing language, deductions, income options, tax credits and such, and the IRS could be reduced to a very small agency that actually assists folks with paying their fair share.

Second, fix Social Security. A good idea back when it was created and the government would hold our contributions in trust until it was needed for folks to retire. The money is gone. Congress spent it on other things and left the Social Security Administration with a stack of IOUs. Benefits that are being paid out now are from current taxes and deficient financing. Oh, and eliminate the special retirement program provided to Washington's elected elite and make them all members of the Social Security retirement program. (How fast do you think it would get fixed then?)

Third, fix the Veterans Administration. Its medical program has long been under-funded and inadequate to support and heal those who have helped us keep our freedom. If our government cannot adequately take care of our heroes, what makes me think they can take care of me?

Fourth, make some serious election reform measures designed to eliminate special interest and lobbying groups from controlling elections and who can run. End the lifetime service option, by including term limits which would return us to a more representative form of government than what we have now. Do you feel you and your interests are actually being represented in Washington? I don't and have not felt that way for years, but we send them back anyway. What is wrong with us?

My list could continue way beyond the limits that the newspaper would allow for a letter to the editor, so I will stop with these four.

My point is this: Before the folks in Washington create another massive bureaucratic blunder that will cost our children and grandchildren more than they can imagine, I think the "Political Elite" should fix some of the other messes they created first.

John Hooper

Oxford