The $21.2 trillion national debt today is worrisome enough. But it is going to get worse, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
You may want to sit down for this: Within 30 years, the national debt will top $100 trillion, if nothing changes, the CBO is predicting.
That would amount to more than $300,000 each for every man, woman and child in our country now.
How would this disaster occur? CBO analysts made it plain: Tax revenue will increase only slightly during the next third of a century. Meanwhile, government spending will continue to grow.
Thoughtful Americans have worried about deficit spending for many years. Few politicians skip opportunities to proclaim it is a major concern.
Then, Congress and presidents of both major political parties do nothing. Some liberals decry tax cuts for their effect on the debt — but when it comes to cuts in federal spending, they adopt an over-my-dead-body position.
Unless something is done quickly to reduce the imbalance between spending and revenue, the situation 30 years from now will be a tragedy for our children and grandchildren.
— The Leader-Herald, Gloversville
We are rightfully concerned about and should be vigilant when it comes to preventing child abuse. But something that often flies under the public radar is elder abuse.
We must be ever alert to that, too.
A recent report from county officials was disturbing. It found that more than 143 seniors facing some form of elder abuse had been referred to the Oneida County Office for the Aging & Continuing Care and its partners in the county's Elder Abuse Coalition last year.
According to the county's data, the largest number of cases — 51 — was self-neglect. That might be one of the tougher problems to keep track of since many elderly folks live alone and, if they have no family, could go days without any human interaction.
That's why it is incumbent on all of us who might know or at least be aware of shut-ins to make every effort to stay in touch with them to keep track of their well-being. In some cases, a friend, neighbor or even an acquaintance might be the only human contact an elderly person has for days or even weeks. Elderly people who live alone might neglect themselves in many ways — ranging from health care to nutrition — that could be harmful to them.
If you know an elderly person who is alone, periodic checks on their well-being could make the difference between life and death.
Other types of elder abuse include financial exploitation and caregiver neglect (both affected 20 seniors, county record show), while another 22 cases involved some type of "other domestic" abuse. Two cases involved a senior being controlled or isolated by another person. In cases other than self-neglect, family members were the most common culprits, accounting for 36 cases while friends accounted for 10 cases, professionals or paid caregivers for three cases and others for three cases.
Just as we me must be advocates for children, so must we be the eyes and ears for elderly folks who cannot adequately fend for themselves. Keep tabs on elderly people who might be alone and watch for signs of neglect, and do not hesitate to report a suspected problem by calling 315-798-5456.
— The Observer-Dispatch, Utica
On Tuesday the last of the Wild Boars soccer team that had been trapped in a dark and flooded cave in Thailand were safely extracted. It was an exhilarating end to a story that had riveted the world's attention on Chiang Rai province in the country's north since the 12 teenage boys and their coach went missing on June 23.
And what a story it is. Once the team was discovered alive a little more than a week after they'd entered the caves, everyone put aside their differences to pull for these boys, praying they would soon be united with their anxious families.
Some did more than pull for them. The operation was led by Thailand's Navy SEALS, who oversaw an effort that included professionals from across the world and resulted in a daring and successful rescue in limestone passageways that were often flooded and as narrow as two-feet wide at some points.
Not, alas, without cost. One former Thai SEAL who came out of retirement to help — Saman Gunan — died after being caught in a flash flood and running out of oxygen. But not before he completed his mission by delivering oxygen to the trapped team. After his death, his fellow rescue workers made good on the vow he had made while boarding the plane to join the mission: "We will bring the kids home."
The Thai king ordered a royal-sponsored funeral complete with military honors for Petty Officer First Class Saman Gunan. For his family and admirers, it's a bittersweet moment. As his wife told the BBC, "I use my pride to repress my sadness."
The world often seems dominated by bad news, and Thailand has itself been divided politically between city and countryside. But that makes the rescue of the Wild Boars all the more satisfying as the effort united the country. Congratulations to all the men and women whose names aren't public but who played a role, however small, in this treacherous operation. And a special hurrah to the Wild Boars for their courage and tenacity in hanging together in an ordeal that others might not have survived.
— The Wall Street Journal