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That's a nice Christmas gift. Ketchikan waits anxiously each year about this time, just like the kids do for Christmas morning, to discover what the next cruise ship schedule looks like.

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With a drop in oil prices limiting revenue for state capital and operating budgets, Alaskans will have to think frugally for the time being.

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A.J. Dennis, 77, of Silver Creek, Washington, died Dec. 18, 2014, after a long illness.
Phillip Dean Nehl, 59, died Dec. 10, 2014, in Ketchikan after a long battle with heart failure.
10/4/2012
Wrong recipients

It's becoming more often that an honest American feels like a fool paying federal taxes because the government does such idiotic things with the money.

Case after case can be named. But one of the most recent shows that nearly 2,400 Americans who collected unemployment insurance in 2009 lived in households with income of at least $1 million.

Yep, that's what the Congressional Research Service uncovered while reviewing congressional reform of the unemployment system as it occurred in the past about 75 years.

Of course, unemployment is paid based on job loss or inability to find a job and not on household income.

Republicans tried to impose a tax this past congressional session on high-income recipients of welfare benefits. But that provision failed to be retained in a bill signed by President Obama, although five attempts were made to restrict or tax the benefits to millionaire households. Restrict? Yes. Tax? Just quit sending, welfare to millionaire households.

Clearly, sending welfare checks to millionaires isn't the intention of the welfare program. It is to help poor Americans facing insufficient income to pay for housing and food when they fall on hard times. Even for them, it isn't intended as a way of life; it's a temporary help.

In addition to the millionaire households, 954,000 welfare recipients in 2009 lived in households earning more than $100,000. Similar numbers were reported in 2008.

It's the right thing to do to help the needy; it's demoralizing to be supporting those with the resources to take care of their own bills.

It's little wonder the Tea Party came into being. It's unlikely, with such reports as that of the CRS and a multitude of other examples of reckless federal spending appalling to all political parties, that it will fade into history any time soon.

Uncle Sam needs to be held accountable.