Regarding the column "New military benefits pose problem" (July 9), by Dr. William Winkenwerder, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs: I cannot dispute his analogy that expenses will increase with each passing year, from $18 billion in 2001 to $35 billion in 2005 - and such coverage is expected to reach $50 billion by 2010, with 70 percent earmarked for elderly retiree coverage.
The rhetoric in his opinion is the same as he presented to a Senate Armed Services subcommittee April 23, 2005. What scares me are the remarks made by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., chairman of the subcommittee, who said "We're going to have to look to redesign that promise in the future." ...
By Dr. Winkenwerder not offering the Senate any solution, I held my own roundtable discussion, and we came up with several proposals that he could have offered to the Senate. My Process Action Team consisted of one sergeant first class, one chief warrant officer 4, one major and one lieutenant colonel. The problem we addressed was the fact that debits were significantly less than the credits. This was the outcome of our get-together:
- Cease production on several M1A1/M1A2 main battle tanks, at a production cost of $4.3 million each.
- Cease production on several B-52 bombers, at $9.2 million each.
- Cease production on several B-2 stealth bombers, at $2 billion each.
- My suggestion: Have a national lottery. Forty-one states and the District of Columbia all have state lotteries. The U.S. Postal Service (who would manage and operate this lottery) has 33,250 post offices with over-the-counter service at more than 30,000 of them. ...
If four-fifths of the population already play the lottery, there should be no doubt that the citizens would be in favor of a national lottery!
David G. Edmiston Sr., Grovetown
(Editor's note: The writer is a retired U.S. Air Force master sergeant.)