Comments about ‘My View: Debt ceiling not our biggest problem’

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Published: Tuesday, Oct. 15 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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"For the first time since the Korean War spending has gone down 2 yrs in a row."
(Republican Rep. Dennis Ross)

"..spending almost always went up every year, at least until recently. It fell for one year between 1964 and 1965, and then once again between 2009 and 2010.

But the only time it fell two years in a row was between 2011 and 2013."

Non-discretionary spending--(defense, SS, Medicare) need to be addressed. Clinton raised the income cap on Medicare, the same needs to be done for SS. We should also return to Clinton tax rates.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The real problem for America and Americans is the decision about just what kind of world do we want to live in. Seems like all the options tried so far have failed, Kings with their lords and ladies, Theocracy and other forms of dictatorship, republics, democratic republics and even no government at all. Democracy might work but it has never been tried beyond a few members. Strange that democracy has such a terrible reputation when it has never been used.

We and all the rest of the world are ruled by the whims of commercial businessmen. And in every case where a government has failed from internal problems, the internal problems were created by the corruption of greed of the leaders of that government.

The only solution for the ending of the economic merry-go-round that has plagued civilization since the beginning is to truly have government for the people, by the people.

Corona, CA

The problem is collecting revenue not spending. We have at this point cut, cut, cut. It is time for taxes to be raised on everyone. No one should be spared: Rich/poor, religious/non-religious, Corporate/Non-Corporate. A government is not like Kitchen Table economics. Spending is not the problem unless you are willing to cut Defense by 25% minimum.

Corpus Christi, TX

Here is an interesting question for all those that say Obama needs to stop spending, please explain how he does that? Congress approves all spending, so how is Obama spending too much? Congress just spent over a billion dollars on nothing, absolutely nothing, yet you are not up in arms about that. Giving backpay for government workers NOT WORKING.

Freehold, NJ

The debt ceiling is certainly not our biggest problem. But it IS one of the things that we must manage without blowing up the economy in the process. If you think we have problems with the budget now, wait 'till you see what a recession or worse does to this country's ability to pay it's bills.

Yes, definitely DO reduce government spending. But don't blow up the Republic and use mechanisms like the sequester to accomplish this goal.

A big part of reducing the deficit is a strong economy. Just the mediocre improvements over the past few years have done a lot to help. The current budget fight may reduce spending, but the way it is being done runs right over the edge of a cliff and into another recession at least.

Crikey we need some adults in the room. Especially the room called the House of Representatives.

Leawood, KS

I cast a vote for first cutting foreign aid, which is a form of defense spending. We try to curry favor wit quite a few regimes that are lost causes, and with others that are merely milking us as long as they can.

Then we have what is known as entitlement spending. The first requirement for any benefit should be citizenship, the second should be having actually paid into the system prior to having applied for something from it.

On a completely unrelated note, this little snafu may well be an impetus to amend the Constitution as it pertains to the workings of Congress. We live in an electronic age. The era of using procedure and rules as a tool is as arcane as a victrola in a disco. All votes should be on a roll call basis and recorded, bills and issues should be kept separate, (that is, little amendments that sneak unrelated gotcha's through), and these things should be regulated, at least in part, by a Constitutional amendment.

I think it needs no more proof that the notion of accountability and responsibility needs bolstering in the Congress.

Far East USA, SC

"There is a point where a taxes becomes punitive, causing total revenues to decrease. We've reached it. (People stop doing economic activities for which they are punished.)"

Well then.... Tell me how the country did so well at times when tax rates were much higher.

Yes, we are spending too much. No doubt.

But, our taxes have been much higher in the past and the economy managed to thrive.

one vote
Salt Lake City, UT

Why is the tea party concerned with growth? They want to shut down credit and shrink the economy.

Salt Lake City, UT

Is there the slightest chance that cuts in the corporate income tax and high end personal income tax cuts have helped create deficits and debt. Remember Bush's tax cuts while we were going to war.

Los Angeles, CA

A recent Businessweek article claimed that the deficit is only 4.2% of GDP, down from over 10% in 2009. I can understand how two different analyses could yield different values. But 4.2% vs. the 100% that this article claims? How can that be? Somebody appears to be playing fast and loose with the truth, so many of us don't believe that ANY of these figures can be trusted.

T. Party
Pleasant Grove, UT

@JoeBlow "Tell me how the country did so well at times when tax rates were much higher."

Are you talking about marginal rates, or effective rates? At most of the times in our history which fit your description (high marginal rates coinciding with relative prosperity), there were also plenty of loopholes which allowed high earners to shelter their money. Effective rates were equal to or lower than today's rates, if you had a good tax planner -- and most of them did.

But we were talking about revenue collections, weren't we? I'll ask you this: how did government revenues fare during the times to which you refer? Did they go up, as you seem to expect? Take a look at the history and get back to me. I think you'll be surprised.

Doylestown, PA

Bob presents the problem but offers only one solution. He pretends that there is no such thing as raising revenue through taxes or closing loopholes. This solution is not mentioned in his editorial at all. His comments point to his vision of the world where the wealthy have no responsibility to improve the society in which they live. The root of the problem is not the size of the budget but the failure of those who earn the most to pay their share to reduce the deficit. During the Republican administration of Dwight Eisenhower, the top income bracket of earners over $400K was reduced from 92% to 91%. It is probably not a coincidence but if you were to tax all income over $400K at 91% today, the budget deficit of $1.090 trillion would be eliminated almost to the penny. The debt was rung up by our Republican “friend” G.W. Bush. He played a game of accounting smoke and mirrors by cutting taxes and regulations basically gutting programs that are necessary to maintain a healthy economy resulting in the need for an expensive clean up job that ballooned the total debt.

Far East USA, SC

"Are you talking about marginal rates, or effective rates? "

Regardless of how you slice it, the lowest personal tax rates under Reagan were higher than they are today.

Reagans lowest tax rate was in 1988 ant it was 28%. That was for one year. In his other years, the tax rates were higher, with the top tax rate being 70%.

However, under Reagan, the 28% top rate kicked in at $17,850 for individuals and $30,000 ($55K in today's Dollars) for married couples.

Today - the 28% tax rate kicks in at $146000
Today's highest tax rate is 39.6% but only for incomes over $450K.

So, Yes, tax rates are lower today than in Reagan's days. Much, Much lower than most of Reagan's tax rates. And the country did well under Reagan.

Tax rates are lower today than under Clinton. And the country did well then also.

I am not suggesting that higher tax rates cause the country to do well, but history has shown that today's tax rates are not an economy killer.

T. Party
Pleasant Grove, UT

@JoeBlow "Regardless of how you slice it..."

Actually, "how you slice it" turns out to be very important. What matters is the percentage of income the taxpayer actually ends up paying -- his effective tax rate. You have completely dodged this question. We have fewer loopholes available today than in Reagan's day.

You also completely ignored my question about revenue collections, so I'll supply the answer. Historically, higher tax rates have not caused revenues to increase. As it turns out, people handle their affairs differently under higher tax rates, finding creative ways to preserve as much of their income as possible. Revenue collections stay fairly constant as a percentage of GDP.

Higher tax rates won't solve the problem. Please look at history.

Far East USA, SC

Sorry, didnt think I had to get into the dirt.

I will agree that few if any were paying the 70% rate. But, it would take huge deductions to get to the "Effective" rates we have today.

Even with Reagans 50% top tax rate.
I dont care how good your accountant is.

But hey, Convince me. Show me the deductions available under Reagan that don't exist today.

I seriously doubt that the effective rate under Reagan was lower than today. And it darn sure was not noticeably lower.

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