Sen. Pat Toomey (York Dispatch, Dec. 13) is wrong when he says the government has a spending problem, not a revenue problem.

In the 1990s, budgets were balanced and the deficit was being reduced. When George W. Bush became president, he cut taxes, creating a revenue problem estimated at $700 billion a year. Then Bush got us involved in Iraq and Afghanistan, creating a spending problem.

Toomey is right that we can't go on this way, but his solution is wrong.

Tax rates must be raised, especially on the top 10 percent, who control more and more of the country's wealth. Tax rates should go to pre-Bush levels for everyone, but that would be a severe blow to the economy.

Yes, spending should be cut, but not in entitlements, which is Toomey's solution.

Social Security and Medicare are called entitlements for a reason -- we are entitled to them. We have paid into Social Security our whole working lives; some formulas suggest you may need to live to 77 to get back what you put in. The Social Security Trust Fund is separate from the general federal budget. The government has borrowed from this fund, which is probably better than borrowing from China, but these chickens will come home to roost.

Medicare is more difficult to solve, but workers, and even we retired folk, pay monthly premiums. The affordable care act may help solve Medicare's funding woes.

The main cuts in the budget should be in defense, where there is a lot of waste. We're out of Iraq, and military needs should be reduced.

The worst part is we're paying $454 billion annually in interest on the national debt. This is money wasted, caused by the policies of George W. Bush.

Turk Pierce

Springettsbury Twp.