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Published: Wednesday, Sept. 7 2011 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Reverend Ike
West Algiers, LA

We have a serious spending problem which is fast becoming a serious debt problem for our children and grandchildren. Stop the spending - now.

EJM
Herriman, UT

We as a society have spent the last seventy five years building up this deficit. Both parties have contributed to our financial fiasco. To cut drastically overnite would plunge us into a Depression that would rival the 1930's. Great letter and correct. It will take a combination of cuts, tax raises and an overall reprioritizing of our wants versus needs to fix the mess.

Esquire
Springville, UT

Texas is paying a price for excessive cutting of the government as there is now a shortage of firefighters and equipment to fight the wildfires that are burning in that state. People who dismiss the need for government are ignorant narcissists.

JoeBlow
Miami Area, Fl

In today's political climate, it seems like the "common sense" approach is out of the question for the GOP base.

EVERY GOP presidential candidate professed to be against a plan that included $10 of spending cuts for every $1 in tax increases.

Seriously, if that plan was put on the table, would you want your representative to vote "NO"?

KJB1
Eugene, OR

Nice letter.

The Tea Partiers keep saying that the government should budget like a household. Fine. Say your hours were cut. You'd find a way to cut expenses (drop Netflix, maybe even sell a car), but you wouldn't tell your family to stop eating or using electricity. You'd be trying to find a part-time job or some way to make more money. You'd be trying to find more revenue. Why shouldn't the government do the same?

The Tea Party may whine about being called "terrorists", but what they want is economic terrorism, point blank. If the shoe fits...

RanchHand
Huntsville, UT

"I marvel that this truth is invisible to the tea party."

You and me both!

procuradorfiscal
Tooele, UT

Re: "The tea party believes . . . ."

Parties don't believe, people believe.

Liberal demagogues ascribe any evil they care to rail against to the Tea Party. The Tea Party is an easy target, of course, since it has no official platform or even existence, except in the minds of people using it as a prop for whatever they're selling.

But, ultimately, it's a scam.

It is certainly true that most people in America believe that there must be "massive reductions in federal spending [that] must be done immediately . . . ." But it is not true that the same majority would hold for not "eliminating tax loopholes or raising rates." [Note the liberal code for raising taxes.]

What most of us object to is the mentality of raising taxes first, with no accompanying real reduction in the cost of government.

That's the rope-a-dope liberal vote-buying, tax-and-spend politicians have played for years, and are still playing today.

Here's an idea -- Cut first, then we can talk intelligently about any needed tax increases.

Truthseeker
SLO, CA

Good letter.
The debt has increased under Obama due to the stimulus, a significant decrease in revenues, extending the Bush tax cuts and the war in Afghanistan.

Republicans for years have promoted the idea that tax cuts create jobs. Bush had the worst job creation record of any modern Pres. The extension of the Bush tax cuts has not produced more jobs either. Now the Republicans are talking about deregulation (repeal Dodd-Frank) and more tax cuts, such as lower capital gains tax rates. Basically, they've decided to double-down on the Bush economic principles.
We do need to put into place longterm spending cuts. Drastically cutting spending now will increase, not decrease, unemployment and further weaken the economy.
Interest rates for govt. borrowing are basically zero. So, we should be taking advantage of the borrowing rate for a short-term jobs program, focused on upgrading our infrastructure. Tax cuts to spur hiring have little to no effect when the demand is low.

Basically, however, Republicans are invested in Obama failing, thereby the economy failing. Obama's ratings are low because he as ceded the asylum to the inmates.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

"We have a serious spending problem which is fast becoming a serious debt problem for our children and grandchildren. Stop the spending - now."

But cuts won't necessarily improve the deficit!

Think this through!

You lay off a bunch of federal/state workers. Firefighters, police officers, teachers, and other workers.... The private sector is unable to absorb these people are provide them with salaries.

These people then, don't buy products, stop paying taxes (because they don't have a salary), and then lose their homes.

That debt and lack of income generation (from buying products), slows down the economy even more and brings up more government shortfalls.

Folks, it's not that difficult to understand!

We need more wealth overturning more quickly. Instead, it's being all hoarded by those on the very top.

The Missing Link
A Tropical Paradise USA, FL

The GOP and their Wall Street millionaires who helped cause this global financial-crisis. Nouriel Roubini, co-founder/chairman of Roubini Global Economics LLC, said the current slowdown in the world economy has brought forward the timing of a new financial crisis. Three years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., financial shares in Europe are under assault and the cost of insuring bank debt is at records as the global recovery falters and the euro-region crisis weighs on the economy. There's a 60 percent probability that most advanced economies will fall into a recession, while authorities are running out of options to provide emergency support, said Roubini, also a professor at New York Universitys Stern School of Business. You need to restore economic growth, not five years from now, you need to restore it today, Roubini said. In the short term, we need to do massive stimulus, otherwise there's going to be another Great Depression. Things are getting worse and the big difference between now and a few years ago is that this time around were running out of policy bullets. The economist said another financial crisis "is already manifesting itself" in developed economies.

procuradorfiscal
Tooele, UT

Re: "Think this through!

Good advice -- let's do a little thinking, here.

Every nickel paid to government workers comes out of our pockets. Every nickel not paid represents a cut from our monstrous, unsustainable deficit.

Additionally, some 40% of government workers are at, or within 5 years of retirement eligibility. For most of them, retirement means a small, tax-supported pension, supplemented by contributions to and earnings of a 401K-like Thrift Savings Plan. Since matching contributions to the Plan are sunk costs -- already paid -- the continuing cost to taxpayers of a retired government employee is a tiny fraction of the cost of paying him full-time wages.

Any small effect [outside the Beltway] on the productive economy of cutting jobs from the parasitic sector, will be more than offset by the stimulus provided by a lower deficit.

So, let's put on our thinking caps -- large cuts in the cost of government can be painlessly attained by encouraging retirement-age bureaucrats to retire, maybe even offer incentives for early retirement.

So, why not do so?

Government employee unions, maybe?

Tekakaromatagi
Dammam, Saudi Arabia

Ok, I accept that too much cutting too soon could give us more of a recession. But as it is now, I don't see any cutting. Let's get some of that. That would help restore confidence that the government is able to do something. As it is now, I've heard a lot but so far I haven't seen anything.

RedShirt
USS Enterprise, UT

Here is the ironic thing about the liberals. They complain about the "fatcat" millionaries that have destroyed the country, but then elect them into political office with the idea that they will punish the millionaires.

Obama is worth $5.5 Million
The Clintons are worth $34.9 Million
Harry Reid has $3.4 Million
Nancy Pelosi has $35.2 Million
Jane Harman has $293.4 Million
John Kerry has $238.8 Million
Maxine Waters has $2.2 Million

The fact that in 2010 there were 261 millionaires in Congress.

With nearly 50% of Congress being Millionares you expect any legislation to pass that would punish the millionaires, or even create more oversight and control over their activities?

To "KJB1 | 6:58 a.m." one thing that is often not included in the household budget analogy is the fact that the government is on a fixed income and is incapable of getting a second job. The US averages just under 20% GDP in taxes, regardless of the tax rates. So, raising tax rates won't fix anything, it only shifts where the money comes from.

The best thing to do is to get more people working.

Independent Woman
West Jordan, UT

I agree 100% with the letter writer.

What I bothers me the most about the whole thing, and politics in general, is the way everyone seems to need to kowtow to the Tea Party. This party is, in reality, a small minority of all voters in the US, and yet all candidates are changing their ideas, etc. to get Tea Party support. That's a very scary scenerio in my opinion.

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

To procuradorfiscal: It is certainly true that most people in America believe that there must be "massive reductions in federal spending [that] must be done immediately"--Look at any poll and you will find that this statement is untrue.

Americans support spending cuts in general, but when it comes to cutting any specific programs, they are opposed to all cuts except foreign aid (under 1% of the budget). Support for cutting Medicare or Social Security is in the single digits. Virtually all polls show that Americans would rather pay higher taxes than see cuts to those two programs.

atl134
Salt Lake City, UT

"With nearly 50% of Congress being Millionares you expect any legislation to pass that would punish the millionaires, or even create more oversight and control over their activities?"

Didn't we have over 50 Democrats in the senate who wanted to get rid of the bush tax cuts on those making over 250k? Then the GOP filibustered it of course... and held unemployment benefit extensions hostage to use as a bargaining chip for it...

Hellooo
Salt Lake City, UT

Why would anyone believe someone should have to pay more than 35% of any percentage of their income to the Federal Government. It is wasted on foreign wars with no result, extravangant spending programs at home with no real purpose, and keeps the country from addressing its need for structural reform in the tax system and social programs. Fix the programs, lower taxes, and then watch the country prosper again.

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

To Hellooo: You can rest easy. The 400 wealthiest American families, with average incomes over 100 million dollars a year, only pay 16.6% of their income in federal taxes.

procuradorfiscal
Tooele, UT

Re: "Look at any poll and you will find that this statement [Americans favor immediate spending cuts] is untrue."

Not sure which polls you're looking at, but a recent CBS News poll found "77 percent prefer to cut spending, 9 percent want to raise taxes and another 9 percent want to do both."

So, 86% of Americans want spending cuts. There may be less agreement as to particulars, but a clear and vast majority agree there must be cuts.

Yet, liberals block any serious proposals to cut spending. Recent "compromises" don't cut a nickel -- they don't even seriously address spending growth.

Many dramatic cuts, starting with the number of agencies and bureaucrats, would be relatively painless [see discussion above] and could reduce the deficit a lot [executive branch payroll is $177B a year, physical plant/vehicle/support expenses, another $161B], yet liberals/trade unions oppose them, bleating about some crying need to raise taxes, instead.

Here's an idea -- let's try some cuts first. Assess the effect. Then we can intelligently discuss any need for more taxes.

TheProudDuck
Newport Beach, CA

"Texas is paying a price for excessive cutting of the government as there is now a shortage of firefighters and equipment to fight the wildfires that are burning in that state."

Evidence?

I'd be happy to be corrected, but my immediate reaction to this kind of claim is that, like most liberal "facts," it is obtained by alimentary extraction.

You've made a factual claim: Because of budget cuts, Texas now has fewer firefighters and less equipment than it had previously. Is this true? Do you have numbers to back it up?

As for taxation: Raising taxes on "the rich" won't put more than a scratch in the paint of the budget deficit. Looks to me like that would net us about $80 billion, against a $1.5 trillion hole. (And that's assuming tax hikes wouldn't increase tax avoidance, which they always do, leading the higher rates to return less than the expected revenue).

You'd have to pretty much double *everybody's* income taxes, to get deficits back to Bush-era levels. Got an extra thousand bucks a month lying around? Me neither.

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