Comments about ‘Letter: Taxes are high enough; government isn't acting responsibly’

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Published: Friday, Dec. 7 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

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Salt Lake City, UT

"Aren't our present taxes high enough?"

According to data compiled by the Tax Policy Center and the Office of Management and Budget, in 2000 the taxes collected on individuals amounted to 10.2% of GDP and taxes collected on businesses were 2.1% of GDP.

By 2010, the GDP percentage of taxes collected on individuals was down to 6.3% and taxes on businesses was down to 1.3%.

When you combine those facts with the trillions we spent on two foreign wars, you can see how and why our deficits have ballooned.

"Liberal Democrats see no need for a strong military."

That's complete nonsense. But what you will find many people reasonably asking is why is it necessary to have a military budget that is more than three times larger than that of China?

Here is a fact we all need to accept: Even with cuts to entitlements, deficits can never be brought under controll without new tax revenues and reductions in our bloated military budget.

Salt Lake City, UT

The author decries excessive government spending, and then in the same breath defends massive government spending on the military, yet can't see the disconnect. He criticizes Democrats for not wanting a "strong military," assuming, I suppose, that anything less than the current level of military spending would result in a "weak" military. That smacks of paranoia. I know no Democrats who favor a weak military, but why do we need a military that is 10 times larger and far stronger than is necessary? It's like a person living in a 30,000 square foot mansion thinking he couldn't survive in a 3,000 square foot home. The best word I can think of to describe our current military is "overkill."

Ogden, UT

Evan, if you want to chase your Red Dawn boogeymen, you can do it on your own dime. Our military is currently capable of destroying any country on earth several times over, and we are in no danger of being invaded and overrun by anyone. I think we spend quite enough on it. Liberals don't want to gut the military, we want it pared back to responsible levels. We shouldn't be spending billions on ill-begotten or imperialist wars like Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq.

If you think war is a better use of our resources than a social safety net, then I have two pieces of advice for you: 1) re-evaluate your moral compass, and 2) pay for it yourself.

Hayden, ID

When enough voters learn that they can vote dollars out of their neighbor’s pockets and into their own then you win. That is not ideology; that is robbery

Salt Lake City, UT

Over the past twenty years or so, the right developed a plan to dismantle the "welfare state" and called it "starving the beast". The logic was that if we block tax increases, then the government will be forced to live within its means. There was credibility to this plan. No one would vote against a benefit that was intended for them, so the only way to control spending was to cut off the source of payment for new benefits.

The plan continued through the Bush administration even to the point of top administration officials quoting the "starve the beast" strategy. Two wars and a prescription drug benefit later we are still unable to stop spending. Politicians realized that they could easily lose election if they voted to curtail benefits, hence the easy way out became to borrow the money rather than cut programs.

Now the starve program has reached its natural conclusion and still we see Republicans unwilling to cite specifics of where the cuts will be made. Reelection has become the objective rather than solving the problems of the Country.

J Thompson

The federal government is REQUIRED by the Constitution to fund the military. Read Article I, Section 8. Read it over and over and over until you fully understand that the duties listed in that section are the ONLY duties that Congress has the authorization to tax us for. All other duties are to be left to the States or to the people.

We do not have one massive government whose head is the Oval Office. We have layers of government, each with distinct and separate duties. When people lump together all duties and assign those duties to Washington, they abdicate their responsibility as citizens to oversee and to control the governments (plural) of America. It is the DUTY of the citizens to see that no level of government does anything that that level of government has not be authorized to do.

Instead of acting responsibly, many citizens have jumped onto Obama's bandwagon and are cheering him on as he takes away one liberty after another. They want "free" healthcare. They want guaranteed wages. They want low taxes for themselves but high taxes for others. They want. They want They want.

CHS 85
Sandy, UT

"Liberal Democrats see no need for a strong military"

Really? What constitutes a "strong military?" Twelve aircraft carriers instead of ten?

Does that "strong military" come with no cost associated with it? Is a "strong military" the only government expense that is a "worthy" expense? How much are YOU willing to pay for this "strong military?" $2 billion per day? $3 billion per day? More?

At what point do we let Korea and England manage their own defense? At what point do we let the Cold War end and close the dozens of military bases in Germany? We now have Cold War bases in Germany in addition to new bases supporting the Global War on Terror in even more countries. Do we not live in the jet age where troops can be deployed from US soil quickly. Why do they have to be stationed overseas spending billions every year in infrastructure to support troops and their families so they can save four hours of travel time to deploy? Is that the kind of "strong military" spending you are in favor of?

salt lake city, utah

J Thompson..just how is Obamacare free? All along I thought the objection was you were required to "buy" health insurance.

Hayden, ID

But pragmatistferlife, if you can't afford to buy health insurance, taxpayers are forced to pick up the tab for you under Obamacare. Imagine how many millions of Americans who will suddenly be "too poor" to afford healthcare insurance. That is why Obamacare is estimated (interesting word) to cost taxpayers about $1.2 trillion each year! You of all people should be able to see right through this scam headed our way! But hey, it wins elections!

one old man
Ogden, UT

JT and others keep screaming about "all the freedoms Obama has taken away."

Yet none of those people seem to be able to list ANY freedoms that are gone.

Please, JT, give us a list. Tell us exactly what freedoms have been taken from us.

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Federal taxes right now are lower than they were under Reagan, under Bush Sr., and under Bush Jr. In fact the last time that federal taxes were lower than they are now was when Harry Truman was president. That was before my lifetime and I'm 57. U.S. taxes are also just about the lowest in the developed world. Japan and Switzerland have taxes comparable to ours, everyone else is higher.

Survey after survey shows large opposition to any specific cuts in government. That being the case, we need taxes to be at a level that funds the government that the people say they want.

one old man
Ogden, UT

MM writes: "But pragmatistferlife, if you can't afford to buy health insurance, taxpayers are forced to pick up the tab for you under Obamacare."

He would have been correct if he had written: "But pragmatistferlife, if you can't afford to buy health insurance, taxpayers are forced to pick up the tab for you under THE OLD SYSTEM."

Christian 24-7
Murray, UT

Yes Roland, as a percent of GDP. That is because the GDP has dropped, which is a bad thing.

Worse yet, government is spending more and more, money we don't have and thus they don't have. The rich don't have enough to pay for what our government wants to do. If you are a working person, regardless of income, look out, the government will need what you make more than you do very soon.

Salt Lake City, UT

"When enough voters learn that they can vote dollars out of their neighbor’s pockets and into their own then you win. That is not ideology; that is robbery"

Says the guy who voted for someone who vowed to slash the social safety net (cutting Medicaid and other aid programs to the poor in the name of deficit reduction) while giving a 20% tax cut to those at the top.

red state pride
Cottonwood Heights, UT

"Survey after survey shows large opposition to any specific cuts in government. That being the case, we need taxes to be at a level that funds the government that the people say they want."
I rarely agree with Roland but in this case I do. Evan obviously doesn't want cuts in military spending and surveys do show that Americans don't want any changes in entitlement programs. We can't continue to borrow/print 4 out of every 10 dollars we spend so that means revenue has to go up. You're not going to make up the difference simply by raising taxes on "the rich" so taxes have to go up on everyone. It's a moral imperative.
People start having convulsions when anyone suggests eliminating a cabinet level dept e.g. Education or ending ethanol subsidies so let's do the right thing and pay for it. Yes, we'll have smaller cars, smaller homes and smaller lives but it will all be worth it so that no one will have to worry about falling out of the "safety net"

Eric Samuelsen
Provo, UT

I may as well weigh in, since it's me you're responding to. I'm completely in favor of having a strong military. So let me get specific:
We do not need to cut back on veteran's benefits--we need to increase them. VA hospitals, education opportunities, the current veteran's jobs bill, for example; we should increase funding in all those areas. Cuts in spending should not come on the backs of the young men and women who served our country honorably.
The Cold War is over. As it happens, we won. Part of what we won should be the freedom to shut down unneeded military bases all over the world. Shut down all non-essential military bases, which to my mind would be about two thirds of them. Including Hill AFB.
The wars of the future are likely to be small ones, anti-terrorist battles, plus, perhaps under UN command, peace-keeping. We don't need tank battalions. We don't need more aircraft carriers, though a few are useful.
We spend more than the next 23 countries on earth combined. We can cut military spending in half.

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

To red state pride: Yes it seems we do agree. See the two sides can come together. As I've said before, if Americans were made to pay the full cost of their government, they would quickly discover that they could make do with less. Tax cuts without spending cuts are like putting government services "on sale". And like everything that is "on sale", we want more.

Bountiful, UT

It's not income that matters, it's income after taxes are paid. It's been a trend for tears now that a greater and greater proportion of our nations wearth is going to those at the top of the income level. Ideally it shouldn't be government that levels the playing field, and makes things fair. The private sector should be paying out money fairly in the first place. However if that was the way things worked Unions would never have been necessary in the first place.

The common man doesn't have a seat on the board of directors. He doesn't play golf with the boss. The only lever of power available to the common person is the ballot box. Those at the top aren't shy about pulling the levers of power that they have in a way that benefits them. And we see from this last election that those at the bottom likewise.

Salt Lake City, UT

In the conversation of tax and cut away from the cliff, the election has already been forgotten. Politicians trying to get elected always remind us that the painless way out of deficit is to grow your way out. Both parties used rosy growth projections to make their budgets look like they would save the day without sacrifice by anyone. Truth: if the economy booms (4 to 5% growth) And we raise taxes AND we cut and adjust benefits the deficit will be erased and at long last the debt clock will stop racking up growth in the debt.

Of course, robust growth in the economy would force the anti-Obama crowd to alter their narrative of gloom and doom. Hey, how about this: "When the President and Willard had lunch, Mitt forgot and left his Franklin Planner there with all of his ideas on how to boost the economy. The boom is really due to Romney and not Obama!"

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

How much defense spending is enough?

Repubs? What's the magic number?

We already spend 5x as much as #2 China and 10x as much as #3 Russia.

When will we be safe? When is enough defense spending enough? What's the magic number, repubs? Do we have to spend 10x as much as China and 20x as much as Russia before you folks are satisfied?

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