Miriam Hyde is "exasperated with McCain" (Readers' Forum, Aug. 25), and there seem to be reasons for exasperation with both candidates. However, the arithmetic in her letter needs revision. The billions spent in Iraq are monumental but not even a flea on a fly on a log compared with the entitlement liabilities we face.

Dallas Federal Reserve President Richard W. Fisher recently reported that just the unfunded portion — that which is promised but without a funding mechanism — of Medicare and Social Security amounts to about $100 trillion. That's around $330,000 for every man, woman and child in America, or about 25 times the average household income.

And Barack Obama is making much of his headway by promising more entitlements. Besides that, the bad news is that these woes are only part of the oppression we now face as a result of reckless and foolish fiscal actions.

The idea of giving more and more and more to everyone with a need and continuing to support a bloated and corrupt pharmacological system out of a bankrupt federal treasury is preposterous. And people just keep lapping it up. When are we going to awaken to our awful situation?

Allan South