Facts can be stubborn things

A Salina man recently submitted a column to several Kansas newspapers criticizing a recent health care update that I mailed to my constituents. As John Adams once said, "Facts are stubborn things," so let me respond to the many inaccurate claims in the column.

First, President Obama does raid $500 billion from Medicare to fund his new health care plan. My critic suggests that since $136 billion is taken from the popular Medicare Advantage and $364 billion from other Medicare programs somehow Obama doesn't raid Medicare. The fact is our seniors are being asked to shoulder the costs of ObamaCare.

Second, as it relates to budget deficits, my critic conveniently ignores the obvious reality that the federal government has to spend more money to provide ObamaCare. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, ObamaCare is still expected to have gross costs of $1.496 trillion over the next decade.

Third, and perhaps most importantly, my critic insinuated that the mailer cost six-figures at taxpayer expense. It most certainly did not. I invite him to look up the expenses in the official disclosure reports, which show that the total cost of production, printing and mailing was roughly 50 cents per household and not every household received it. Our office has been considerably frugal. In fact, we recently returned a $143,000 check to the U.S. Treasury of our unused office funds.

Fourth, it is patently false that replying to the mailer will be returned with a campaign solicitation. It is against federal law to mix official and campaign contact information, and my office is 100 percent in compliance with that law.

Lastly, my critic said he is vice president of a business. I would be curious to know if and how his business is affected by ObamaCare. In response to the mailer, a business owner in Yoder Michael Miller offered the following insight into the unsettling impact upon his restaurant. In order to meet the burdensome requirements of ObamaCare, he will see his expenses increase and subsequently have to increase his sales by six times that amount.

Mr. Miller explained: "I simply can't pass this expense on to my menu prices because I'm not sure Kansans are ready to pay $12 for a plate of fried chicken at their local restaurant ... I used to worry about my restaurant competitors or my food costs or where I will be able to find good employees. Those worries all pale in comparison to the fears I have about what my government is going to mandate on me. I used to be the biggest advocate for young people to 'strike out on their own' and start their own business. Now, I can't honestly say that it would be a wise decision."

It is a story like Mr. Miller's that shows why ObamaCare must be undone. Words from a critic in a newspaper are but mere words on a page; Mr. Miller's story is the real life example of the American Dream being derailed. For that we must fight.



Congressman Huelskamp (R-Fowler) represents Kansas' First Congressional District.

Honor all vets with flag salute

Memorial Day, 2012.

This year we will again pay tribute to our fallen comrades and the 36 that passed away this year.

The Garden City Municipal Band will kick off their 134th season with many patriotic songs we all know.

Former mayor and Garden City Commissioner John Doll will be our guest speaker.

Several years ago a project refurbished the memorial, then four years ago, a storm hit two days before the program, destroying the storage shed we kept our flags and other supplies in. These flags were casket flags, draping the caskets of current/prior service members of our armed forces. These flags are 8-foot-by-5-foot, made of cotton. We purchased 70 3-foot-by-5-foot nylon flags for replacement.

It is now time to refurbish "The Avenue of Flags." If you have a casket flag for your mother, father, brother, sister, son, daughter or other relative or friend, it should be flown on Memorial Day to honor their service. If you have a flag pole, fly it at half-staff until noon, then raise it to full-staff until retreat.

If you do not have your own pole, we have 64 poles at Valley View Cemetery and five at Sunset Gardens. We have room for your casket flag. Allow us to honor your veteran every Memorial Day. Please donate your casket flag to us. You may donate your casket flags to: American Legion, 405 S. Main or the Veterans of Foreign Wars, 1101 W. Mary.

We also collect torn and battered flags for retirements, so please let us know the status of your flag you are donating.

Thank you.



Babcock is the program coordinator for the Memorial Day program.