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Letter: Fiscal and physical health

The recently released annual audit of the U.S. government on Jan. 23 by the Government Accountability office (GAO) brings to mind your editorial board member Lane Filler's recent and refreshing column on personal responsibility ["Our rights, wrongs and responsibilities," Opinion, Jan. 18].

Filler suggested that we pay more attention to our responsibilities before we start yapping about our rights. Among other things, he cited health care, which is considered a right by many in our entitlement-stricken society: "If we all took care of our bodies in a responsible fashion, the question of how to provide us all the affordable health care that is our right would be a lot easier to answer, because it would be a lot more affordable."

Health care, which represents a huge chunk of the federal budget (think Medicare and Medicaid) was targeted in the GAO report, which said that absent policy changes, the federal government continues to face an unsustainable fiscal path. The report noted that more than 70 percent, or $27.2 trillion, of projected government deficit spending over the next 75 years will come from Medicare.

This irresponsible spending has set the tone for the lack of personal responsibility, which Filler abhorred. With the government behaving this way, how can we expect 312 million people to change their ways?

E. Hale Jones, Smithtown