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April 21, 2015

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Letter to the editor:

Debt problem has no single solution

Another view?

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There has been so much in the media about allowing the tax rate for the highest earners to return to where it was before the Bush tax cuts. I have a hard time understanding why there seems to be so much support for the rich even though the very rich represent only a small demographic of America.

The worst argument in my opinion is where some say that if the tax rate was “raised,” we would still have a deficit. Well, duh, if we cut 4.6 percent of the spending, which is how much some would raise the tax on the very rich, we would have a deficit also. The only solution is to do both, cut spending and adjust taxes.

One of the phenomena we don’t seem to include in all of this is that the earnings of the very rich have increased tremendously in the past 10 years while their tax rates have remained low. Has this led to job creation, an argument from those who support lower taxes? Not at all.

Most of the middle class have struggled to stay even, while celebrities and corporate executives have seen their earnings soar.

As long as we have not only legislators but also a divided America continuing to argue whether we should cut taxes or cut spending, there will be no compromise and therefore no solutions.

Neither party is completely right on the target yet, but as long as we the people remain divided, Congress will see no reason to be on task and look for the bits and pieces that they can agree on.

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  1. Letter writer is correct that there are multiple solutions to the deficit and debt problems. Democrats in the Senate and the President see the only solution as raising taxes on the rich. Republicans and the GOP House leadership see the best solution as cutting spending. Both must be done or we take the fiscal cliff dive soon. Simple solution. GOP should go along with the President and Senate and raise taxes on the top 2 percent. President said he's ready to sign it. GOP gets tax cuts extended for 98 percent of Americans. Then the GOP does not sign onto anymore Democratic tax increases unless and until President and Dems concede spending cuts. If none are put on the table, and they won't be at least while President Obama is in office, the GOP sits tight and let's the economic chips lie where they fall. The President's fingerprints are all over the outcomes, not the GOP.


  2. Ken Anderson is correct in his contention. The fiscal problem is now so large you cannot solve it with 'just' more taxes or 'just' more spending cuts.

    Here is the real problem. One side wants to 'limit' what they will do on the tax revenue to side to 'just' the wealthy. The other side wants to define a 'spending cut' as a 'reduction in the rate of spending growth'. Both sides have favored areas where cuts would be tiny or non-existent, such as Defense and Entitlements, respectively, which are the two largest drivers of our debt.

    Starting from such a baseline gives us ZERO chance of being successful.


  3. There is always this argument that if you tax the rich and make them pay their fair share, it will not help.

    And in some warped way of thinking, there is even something thrown out there that because of this line of thought, that we should not raise taxes on the rich. That because it won't make a difference, then that is sufficient reason for them to keep reaping all the benefits. And shove the sacrifice off on the rest of us.

    There is even some kind of bent thinking that both political parties are at fault.

    This is all just deflection.

    We just had an election. And people voted. The people of America, even Republicans, voted for President Obama and his administration for another four years.

    And they MANDATED him, yes, there's that word, MANDATED him, to get rid of the infernal Former President George W. Bush Jr. Tax Cuts For The Rich, The Filthy Rich, And The Obscenely Filthy Rich.

    That policy was meant to be temporary. Not permanent. The temporary part is over with. We, the American people, REFUSE to live under incompetent and idiotic Bush the Lesser policies that we still seem to be following. Why? Because they do more to hurt the American economy than help it.

    People can call it "class warfare," oh, you're just jealous you aren't making money like they are, oh, it won't make a difference, so just let them be, and this one is precious...but...but...but we simply must not overtax the "job creators."

    Spew all that stuff all you want, call it what you want, but I call it to hell with you. We're not listening to that garbage anymore. This past election EMPHATICALLY asserted we want no part of it anymore.

    Those tax cuts are gone, baby, gone.

    Bet on it. Reach for your wallets/purses, richie rich dudes/dudettes, because you're paying. Paying what you should have been paying in taxes a long time ago.

    Your good thing has come to an end.

    And it's not stopping there. Next is the tax code and getting rid of loopholes that make no sense. And it's not stopping there.

    I'm so glad that the American people, as reflected by our elected government, have rejected this fantasy world we been living in for about thirty years now.

    The Tea/Republican Party has decided to run interference for the rich. And they are paying for that fact. It's not over. We'll destroy the entire Tea/Republican Party if they stay in the pockets of the rich. We're not fooled anymore.

  4. As a current beneficiary of Social Security and Medicare, I have a dog in this fight. However, I am willing to accept some reduction (called "reform" in Conservative-speak)in those benefits. But I'll be damned if I'll do that just so the wealthiest among us can keep their tax breaks. I have often stated on these pages that we are all in this together and will need shared sacrifice from all of us to solve the debt problem. We have a unique opportunity to do just that at the end of this month. Let's let ALL the Bush tax cuts expire and begin that process.

    I'll be listening to see if our conservative friends are really as concerned about the debt as they are about their own tax bills.

  5. Here are a few questions for all to answer:

    (1)Do you think people of middle class means, or less, should support the needs of the Wealthy? What's wrong with this picture?

    (2)If your thinking not of your own interest, but the interest of others who do not have your interest in mind, are you considered reasonable? Or naive? Or mislead? Or misinformed? Or a compassionate and giving person?

    The immediate and long term large picture coming from the Obama administration is Debt Ceiling and Tax Reform. Placing all relevant information on the table points in this direction.

    The best part, wealthy Americans will be out front driving progress on both issues. This President is smart.

  6. Jim Weber wrote,

    "But I'll be damned if I'll do that just so the wealthiest among us can keep their tax breaks. I have often stated on these pages that we are all in this together and will need shared sacrifice from all of us to solve the debt problem. We have a unique opportunity to do just that at the end of this month. Let's let ALL the Bush tax cuts expire and begin that process."

    Jim, you said it true! Amen!

  7. Freeman

    The CBO says if we go over the fiscal cliff we'll reduce the 2013 deficit by $590 Billion. As I said "it's a beginning". I know you think we should extend tax cuts for the wealthy because it only reduces the deficit by $82 Billion and is apparently such a pittance it isn't worth considering. Somehow I doubt you would pass up the chance for $82 Billion in spending cuts though.

    But, if you prefer to borrow another $82 Billion and add it to the debt, you are free to say so.

    I also said "I'll be listening to see if our conservative friends are really as concerned about the debt as they are about their own tax bills."

    How about it Freeman? The World wonders.

  8. I don't understand why the Progressive letter writers to the Sun are still fighting. You won! The tax cuts for the wealthy are going away. Boehner already offered 800 billion in increased taxes on the rich. If no deal is reached, and we go over the cliff, all the tax cuts go away but D's and Obama will restore the middle class cuts in 2013 and R's will go along. The question is what do we do after we tax the wealthy and we still have the same big problems. Now, that will be interesting.

    I do find it amusing that Colin says the Bush tax cuts were intended to be only temporary, which is true, but at the same time, he wants to make those temporary tax cuts 'permanent' on the middle class.

    The truth is that unless we are willing to make gigantic and real cuts in many areas, including defense and entitlements, the Bush tax cuts for the middle class must also be rescinded over time.


  9. There are absolutely solutions to the above issues but let's look at the environment that were living in. People want a maximum amount of entitlements with the minimum amount of taxes. They want everything but don't want to pay for anything.

    In addition the 3100 medical lobbyists in Washington DC love the fact that were spending trillions of dollars a year on medical care. That's where all the money's going.

    When you look at the above formula deficits are result. Until we control medical spending and everyone pay some taxes you're going to have deficits as far as the eye can see.

    Wages have been stagnant for years and medical spending is about to break $20,000 a year per family. Without getting this nonsense under control you can't get the deficits under control. Tens of thousands of people a day are signing up for various government health care programs on the federal, state and local level and that is the single biggest factor in our fiscal imbalance.

  11. Ref... It doesn't matter why half the country doesn't have any money. The point is they don't have it. With the domestic savings rate at about 3% that translates to $1500 a year in savings for the average family of four. That's not enough to cover a dental emergency or blown transmission. As the young start growing old with nothing in their pockets they are going to demand affordable medical care, a strong pension system and safety nets that keep them from sitting on the street corner when they are 70 years old. My baby-boom generation saved trillions and trillions of dollars of wealth. More than a third of my baby boomers are completely reliant on their Social Security check as a primary source of income. People under the age of 35 basically have nothing today.

  12. Obama has had 4 years to tell us how HE is planning on cutting deficits--said he would during first campaign. Not a word. More spending plans. And ya think we take him at his word that he'll come up with something after he increases taxes?

  13. Rosalinda... Tell me the truth. Is FOX News your favorite TV channel? Obama is the only president to come along in the last 50 years to improve the deficit each year in office. I will try to find you a chart.

    Roslenda...sorry about the above spelling.

  15. ref... Your above analysis might be absolutely correct. I don't dispute it for a minute. The issue is regardless of how you look at it there are vast numbers of young people in this country who have nothing. Half the elderly are dying penniless. Regardless of why this is occurring it is is a lousy situation.

    The young have a difficult time building wealth and the elderly can't hang onto what they have.

    rhpobbar.....Regarding the phrase, "now snake has escaped to the economic jade plant and scares money out of markets" I have no clue what it means but it's a beauty. Not many Americans are familiar with that one!!!!! Good job!!

  16. Ref 2:24 BEAUTIFUL insight on why many earn more--time spent WORKING. And the times have not changed so much--entry level workers get entry level pay while seasoned professionals who deploy those skills are valued more.
    Still not much to assist seniors. We never knew until we aged out about the age discrimination, tax pressures when homes are lost or paid off, kids are out of the nest and not deductible... Didn't know about the meagerness of SS / Medicare. Best you stay healthy 'cause your "copays" are going to consume life savings with the onset of a chronic condition or surgery.

  17. Apologies to all. Every now and then I attempt to converse with Zippy and WharfRat. As recently, I am quickly reminded that some Posters are not interested in communication but seem to prefer "gamesmanship" where they can "think" they are condescending.

  18. Tell me again who was President BEFORE the Busch tax cuts? Would Clinton-era prosperity be good?

  19. Per Future "The House Congressional fiscal cliff written formal offer comes from the the details of the Democrat's Erskine Bowles plan. . . "

    Wrong. Erskine Bowles has never presented a "plan." In 2011 He appeared before the House. During his testimony he parsed the differences between the Democratic and Republican positions as they were at that time. The fact that this exercise has become the "Republican" plan simply shows that the two sides are so FAR apart that a "splitting the difference" exercise is now the Republican plan.

    A simple example: I ask an employer for a $1 raise. The employer counters by offering me a $7 dollar cut. Using the principal of the alleged Bowles "plan", my employer would then offer to be reasonable and "split the difference" - cutting my wage by "only" $3.

  20. RefNV (Re Freeman): You state that "The top fifth of the income distribution now receive about 12 times as much income as the bottom fifth." For now I'll stipulate that, although I could find no reference to support you.

    I DID find (at that between 1967 and 2011 real household income (inflation adjusted...) for the bottom quintile rose 23.1%, while that of the top quintile rose by 75.0%, and for the top 5% by 94.1%. For the bottom 4 quintiles, it is predicted to drop after 2011. For the top quintile alone it is predicted to rise. For the top 5% it is predicted to rise even faster.

    The top quintile has seen its real household income drop by 2.1% since its peak (in 2006), while the bottom quintile has dropped 8.4% since its peak year (in 1999).

    Analysis: The top quintile has always taken a larger percentage of the national income than has the bottom quintile. In recent years, this inequality has drastically increased, to the point that the US has greater income inequality than struggling third-world countries and even greater than developed European countries. A statistic called the "Gini" is a measure of inequality, where 0 means everyone has the same, and 100% means one person has it all. US income Gini = 46.4%; Indonesia = 39.6%, Pakistan =39.8%, Japan = 31.9. US wealth Gini = 80.1%, Indonesia = 76.3, Pakistan 69.7%, Japan = 54.7%. US, where "all men are created equal" is not as good as a variety of other countries in maintaining that equality: largely due to a tax system heavily weighted in favor of the wealthy. This is a trend that must be to be reversed.