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Comments about ‘Robert J. Samuelson: Balancing the budget requires aswering questions politicos evade’

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Published: Tuesday, July 22 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Esquire
Springville, UT

We have a model, one that worked, from the Clinton years. A modest increase in taxes can lead to a balanced budget and, interestingly, this leaves more money in the private sector for economic investment and the economy thrives. This was deliberately unraveled by the Bush team and the economy crumbled. It isn't that hard.

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

A study done by the extremely conservative CATO Institute found that spending rises whenever taxes are cut, and spending falls whenever taxes increase. A tax cut amounts to putting government services "on sale" so people naturally want more. When people have to pay the full cost of their services, they discover that there are things they can do without.

It was Reagan's budget director David Stockman, who said that our large deficits are not cause primarily by Democratic spending, but the Republican belief that deficits are fine as long as they are caused by tax cuts.

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

It is fairly obvious what is needed. But much harder to accomplish in these hyper-partisan times.

Our three budget drivers are SS, Medicare/Medicaid and Defense. These cannot continue as projected.

SS is fairly easy, although it would most likely need a tax increase to fix.

Medicare is our biggest projected budget killer going forward. There are three and only 3 options.
1- cut or delay benefits
2- reduce overall health care costs
3- raise taxes to cover the costs

Republicans seem reluctant (understatement) to do anything about this problem and it is our biggest concern.

Defense? we need to cut defense spending and stop inserting ourselves into every conflict in the world.

Basically, cut spending and raise taxes. It is not rocket science. And it is obvious to those who put partisanship aside and look at reality.

RBB
Sandy, UT

Since 1965, entitlement spending is up 10.6 times while GDP has grown 2.7 times and federal revenues has grown 3 times. Overall, federal spending is up about 4 times. Thus, the problem is not with taxes paid. A slightly larger share of the economy is going to government than 50 years ago. The problem is that government expenditures have grown 33% faster than the economy.

Cutting entitlement spending won't happen because it is political suicide. Raising the taxes won't work. Just to balance the deficit we would have to raise taxes $3,000 per person in the U.S. Even those 1%ers do not have enough money to balance the deficit.

Cicero said that a democracy is doomed to fail once people realize that they can vote themselves benefits. Fortunately, our children cannot vote and do not realize that we are handing them an economic disaster which will make the last recession look like the roaring 20s. Eat, drink and be merry for Congress raised the debt limit.

Atlas Smashed
Santa Monica, CA

Balancing the budget requires an increase in taxes.

The Norquist Pledge that all republicans have taken prevents them from raising taxes.

As a result, balancing the budget is nothing more than a pipe dream.

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

"Since 1965, entitlement spending is up 10.6 times while GDP has grown 2.7 times and federal revenues has grown 3 times."

A big part of entitlement spending is up because of the rise in health care costs and the aging population. The long term affect on the deficit is catastrophic.

FT
salt lake city, UT

One of the unspoken strategies of the GOP is to starve the beast. That being it is better to die from starvation than feed the entitlement programs. It's obvious to see they are trying to run out the clock so they can force their new social order on America. The sooner we raise taxes and cut benefits the less pain we'll experieince but I have not yet heard one national leader advocate both.

Alfred
Phoenix, AZ

"Balancing the budget requires aswering (sic) questions politicos evade"

False. Balancing the budget requires... balancing the budget. That is, spending no more than taken in.

How can the federal government balance the budget? First, stop sending money to foreign governments such as Hamas... which is really not a government but actually a terrorist organization. It's crazy to borrow money from China to send it to another country. If the other country needs money, let them go to Chine for it.

And start pulling troops home from around the world. We have military troops in dozens of places around the world that are doing nothing but burning up Americans' taxes.

And stop extending unemployment benefits. People on unemployment can now go for 99 weeks without even looking for work. Many jobs pay way less than can be made on unemployment. Oh, and how does the government insure there are jobs for Americans? Stop illegal immigration. Illegals come to the US for one essential reason... to get work so they can send money back home. This not only takes work away from Americans. It also depresses wage rates in America.

GaryO
Virginia Beach, VA

We need REVENUE . . . The kind of revenue this nation has been missing ever since Ronald Reagan shamelessly decreased taxes for his high-rolling friends.

Under Reaganomics, which is still in effect, our nation has been going downhill.

"Balancing the budget requires answering questions politicos evade"

Yes. So let's stop evading shall we?

Why don't we just raise taxes for the highest earners back to pre-Reagan levels?

Why don't we just do what works again for a change?

wrz
Phoenix, AZ

@Atlas Smashed:
"Balancing the budget requires an increase in taxes."

Not so. Balancing the budget is simple... just don't budget for more than is taken in.

"As a result, balancing the budget is nothing more than a pipe dream."

True... so long as we have a democrat in the White House and Senate.

@FT:
"The sooner we raise taxes and cut benefits the less pain we'll experience but I have not yet heard one national leader advocate both."

Raising taxes and cutting benefits will have an immediate negative effect on the economy and likely throw the US into another recession.

The best way to (help) balance the US budget is to stop foreign aid. This is a no win proposition for the US since it does nothing to stimulate our economy. All it does is stimulate the economy of the receiving countries.

SEY
Sandy, UT

Foreign aid comprises about 1% of the federal budget.

SEY
Sandy, UT

Balancing the budget is a pipe dream. It's futile to even entertain the possibility. Any increase in taxes is a congressional license to increase spending. The commitment already in place for future expenditures is hundreds of trillions of dollars. No politician is going to commit career suicide by voting against those expenditures. We're going to keep spending until the whole system implodes. There's just no other way out.

Atlas Smashed
Santa Monica, CA

@ FT

You are absolutely correct. The GOP is purposely running our country into the ground in hopes of promoting their anti-(middle-class) government. Unfortunately, they aren't looking to cut the size of government since they'll still use government as ways to enrich their highest bidders.

@ WRZ

"The best way to (help) balance the US budget is to stop foreign aid. This is a no win proposition for the US since it does nothing to stimulate our economy. All it does is stimulate the economy of the receiving countries."

Huh?

The best way to balance our budget is to cut something that accounts for like 1 percent of it?

Wow... I'm glad you're not my financial adviser! You should come and work with my company here in SoCal. We have a lot to teach you.

wrz
Phoenix, AZ

@SEY:
"Foreign aid comprises about 1% of the federal budget."

We have to start somewhere. As Sean Hannity puts it... cut 1 penny out of every dollar (penny plan) the government spends and it will get us to a balanced budget.

"No politician is going to commit career suicide by voting against those expenditures."

You got that right.

"We're going to keep spending until the whole system implodes. There's just no other way out."

Unfortunately you're right again.

@Atlas Smashed:
"@ WRZ - Huh? The best way to balance our budget is to cut something that accounts for like 1 percent of it?"

We have to start somewhere. As Sean Hannity puts it... cut 1 penny out of every dollar (penny plan) the government spends and it will get us to a balanced budget.

"Wow... I'm glad you're not my financial adviser! You should come and work with my company here in SoCal. We have a lot to teach you."

My 35 years with the USGAO taught me enough.

ordinaryfolks
seattle, WA

Since Republican?Tea Party people don't believe in government, why should we ask them to come up with a solution to a problem in government?

The Republican/Tea Party doesn't want to solve problems, they only want to ruin a presidency, throw monkey wrenches into all levels of government and assist the billionaires become even richer. This is their stated agenda,

Allisdair
Thornbury, Vic

This year and every $3 Billion in Military spending goes to Israel? How many more Billions are going on Military spending?

marxist
Salt Lake City, UT

The federal debt arises from revenues not matching expenditures. No surprise here. If the wealthy and corporations were paying taxes at rates prevalent in the 1950's the debt would be much, much smaller. So, if we are not willing to reimpose those rates the only solution will be the forced termination of elderly, I guess through elimination of health care for them.

The failure of the political establishment to deal with this dilemma will assure the reappearance of socialist parties - we are ready to help.

Hemlock
Salt Lake City, UT

As Mr. Obama said in his first campaign, Bush's use of the Chinese credit card is unpatriotic and irresponsible. When applied to himself, he couldn't have said it better. Workers paradise Marxist countries such as Cuba, Venezuela and North Korea have no such options because no one will lend them money. Asking socialists for help in a stagnant economy is like asking WC Fields to lead nuclear physics research.

marxist
Salt Lake City, UT

Re: Hemlock "Workers paradise Marxist countries such as Cuba, Venezuela and North Korea have no such options because no one will lend them money. Asking socialists for help in a stagnant economy is like asking WC Fields to lead nuclear physics research."

Well Hemlock you might want to consider China, a country which does not need to borrow, and in fact has gobs of dough to lend to us. Conservatives here demand "tell us one place socialism has worked?" Answer: China - and how! Mao's communist revolution threw off years of foreign domination (China was trashed by the Europeans) and built a superpower - now the world's largest economy. Mao's cultural revolution in ways we don't understand in the west launched the explosive growth of China the last 30 years.

So let's ask China about deficits or the lack thereof.

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