Op-ed: After the tax overhaul, America needs a balanced-budget amendment more than ever

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  • Light and Liberty St George, UT
    Jan. 6, 2018 4:16 p.m.

    On the positive side, if we go bankrupt, as surely as we will if politicians and their supporters keep asking for more, all the while railing against all they government isn't doing for them, disguised as 'helping' the poor, etc., is that I won't have to hear anymore whining and complaining about what government is supposed to do for them. There is always a silver lining in the cloud.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Jan. 6, 2018 12:10 p.m.

    Is there room in it for the wall?

  • jackjoh RIVERTON, UT
    Jan. 6, 2018 10:45 a.m.

    Republicans and democrats have had many chances, control of Congress, to balance the budget and have not done it because they were afraid they would not be re-elected. Therefore it is the voters that are to blame because the congress is just fighting for survival. It will take someone like Trump, either party, to force the issue. People do not want to stop receiving so called free services. It is hard to convince people that they are actually paying for free services through their taxes.
    Note that individuals do not get control of their money until they are forced by circumstances like bankruptcy, loosing a house, bad health, etc. etc. etc. I did not change until I joined the Mormon church and married Joan.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    Jan. 5, 2018 8:09 p.m.

    @2bits

    So your family members are completely unbiased?

    As far as google goes that is not exactly a consensus.

    You can’t say not to believe the hype of the left if you are buying the hype on the right.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Jan. 5, 2018 2:46 p.m.

    To "The Educator " until we can get the debt eliminated, yes that would be a good thing.

    SS is already spending more than it brings in, adding to the debt.

    Student loans have only added to the skyrocketing cost of education.

    The EPA doesn't have a stellar record in protecting anything in the past 20 years. (remember dump of toxic materials by the EPA into the Colorado River).

    Why should the poor have more money than I do to spend on food? Did you miss the video recently of the "poor" woman who feeds her dog Lobster? I can't afford that for myself yet the poor can feed it to their dogs.

    Since you are so educated, tell us why we should be spending anything on items not specifically listed in the Constitution?

    To "pragmatistferlife" lets look at the opposite end. You have nearly 50% of the US that pay $0 in income taxes. Can you cut their income tax rate? So, that only leaves the remaining income tax payers. The person getting $900 per paycheck is getting a smaller tax cut than the person who gets $100 per paycheck.

    Why do you covet the wealth of others? If you earned $500,000 wouldn't you want to keep as much as you could?

  • The Educator South Jordan, UT
    Jan. 5, 2018 1:13 p.m.

    @ Redshirt

    So you think a country without environmental protections, Social Security, student aid, and health care for the poor and elderly would be a good thing?

    Wow...

    Just wow.

    Unbelievable ignorance on history.

    Get Educated

  • pragmatistferlife Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 5, 2018 1:02 p.m.

    It's still shocking to see the argument about whether the common man is going to get anything out of this bill.

    Technically of course some will, but best guess right now is that someone making between 75 and 100K will get $1300. That's $50 a pay check.

    Of course $50 is $50 but you think this is something to crow about...really?

    Then look what happens. The family making over 100K will get $100 a pay check, noticeable.
    200K to 500K gets $250 a paycheck, and of course if you make over 500K and less than a thousand you get nearly $900 a paycheck.

    Personally I couldn't care less what an individual makes or has, but I do care that someone who makes 5 times as much as me will get nearly 20 times more in benefits from this tax bill.

    Again you know you're in a plutocracy when laws are specifically designed to protect the wealth of the wealthy.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Jan. 5, 2018 12:27 p.m.

    To "The Real Maverick" cuts are easy. First, look at the Constitution and see what is in there. If a department or spending item isn't specifically mentioned, cut it. That means no EPA, no Obamacare, no Department of Education, no Social Security, no Medicare, no Medicaid, no student loans, no WIC, etc....

    To "Thomas Jefferson " actually cutting taxes does NOT add to the deficit. Deficits can only be created by spending more than is collected in taxes. Tax cuts are NOT a spending category.

    To "Esquire" according to the CBO the budget has not been balanced since 1957. Obama cut the deficit after increasing it. His average deficit was still larger than Bush's, showing that he was more irresponsible.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 5, 2018 11:56 a.m.

    @unrepentant- Bozeman, MT
    RE: "Based on what I know, and what has been reported, I know that many of us in high income tax states with reasonably good incomes will be hurt"...
    ---
    Is Montana a "highly taxed State"?

    1 to 6.9 percent is not "Highly Taxed".

    You seem to include yourself in the "many of us in high income tax states".

    And even if Montana was highly taxed... should you be able to pay less to Federal Government because your State taxes you so much?

    What you pay to your State is irrelevant to the Federal Government. They still need you to pay your Federal Income Taxes. Your State is not going to fund the things the Federal Government funds. So why should you deduct what you paid to your State from the Federal Government?

    Explain how it is fair for high taxed States to deduct their high State taxes from the Federal Government.

    The rule allowing you to write-off State Taxes from your Federal Tax bill never made sense. It was written into the tax code to get a previous tax bill passed (so high taxed States would vote for it).

    Why should paying high State taxes mean you owe less in Federal Taxes? It doesn't.

    Glad that silly rule is gone.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 5, 2018 11:30 a.m.

    @2bits
    "Paying less is not detrimental to you Democrats"

    By itself it isn't. If you couple it with cuts to Medicare and Medicaid to pay for it it's a big problem since the cost-benefits would be tilted towards helping the rich and harming the poor and lower middle class.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 5, 2018 11:14 a.m.

    @Shaun 6:42 p.m.
    RE: "Do you not see the irony in telling others not to believe partisan rhetoric of the left but then you buy into the partisan rhetoric of right claiming this tax cut will benefit the middle class"...
    ---
    The problem with your assumption is... my statement that most will pay less in 2018 is not based on political rhetoric. It's based on conversations with my two brothers who are trained CPAs and professional Tax Accountants (not politicians). I asked some neighbors who are tax professionals as well. Also googled it. Washington Post agrees.

    Bad assumption (that it was based on partisan rhetoric).

    ==

    @Frozen Fractals 1:13
    RE: @2bits Of course most people will pay less in taxes in 2018, this bill isn't paid for,"...
    ---
    I didn't say it was paid for. Did I?

    That's my biggest problem with it. It's going to increase the debt.

    My comment was specifically about the claim that, "never in history had a tax change been so detrimental to so many people".

    Paying less is not detrimental to you Democrats. Even if businesses also got a tax cut, and it's permanent.

    Someone else getting even more benefit does not equal harm to you. Most Americans will pay less.

  • pragmatistferlife Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 5, 2018 8:39 a.m.

    2bits, "Ask a CPA, not a partisan person. And most important... don't believe everything you hear said by MSNBC news/talk show host. "

    I like one thing you say here. "And most important..". Nice to see someone get that right for a change.

    However I adamantly disagree with the rest, even though you try and be even handed by mentioning Fox. I watch both and am well aware of confirmation bias, and have studied it thoroughly. Given that MSNBC on average is far more evenhanded than FOX. They are very good at giving voice to the heart of the conservative movement. The leaders of the Freedom Caucus are on with Chuck Todd all the time.

    More important though, is the indisputable fact that this tax bill gives great advantage to the wealthy at the expense of everyone else. Yes you get some, but they get a lot.

    You know you're in a Plutocracy when a vast majority of public policy is specifically designed to protect the wealth of the wealthy. We are there.

    Plutocracies don't guarantee outcomes, every once in a while the people win, but they hold sway enough to destroy the true meaning of democracy.

  • unrepentant progressive Bozeman, MT
    Jan. 5, 2018 5:52 a.m.

    2 bits

    I kinda know how to figure out taxes. I can read and take the known variables into account. Oh, and BTW, I read the WSJ everyday and follow other media outlets than MSNBC, particularly for financial news. Assumptions make an, well you know the rest of the aphorism.

    Based on what I know, and what has been reported (though we really don't know all of the consequences of the many penciled in loopholes inserted into the Hatch/trump tax bill), the vast majority of the dollar benefits go to the already vastly wealthy. Indisputable.

    Based on what I know, and what has been reported, I know that many of us in high income tax states with reasonably good incomes will be hurt. Undebatable.

    Based on what I know and what has been reported, most people will receive little financial benefits from the Hatch/trump bill. That what little benefits do accrue average people will expire in less than 10 years, but that the benefits to the rich/powerful remain in force. Fact.

    I don't know any other way to sum it up but than to say: rarely has a bill been passed that gave away so much to so few to the detriment of so many.

    Get educated, as another poster might say.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 5, 2018 1:13 a.m.

    @2bits
    Of course most people will pay less in taxes in 2018, this bill isn't paid for, it's a 1.5 trillion handout thrown onto the deficit, a deficit that Ryan will argue requires cuts to Medicare and Medicaid to deal with and if he succeeds in that, then a tax cut that primarily benefits the rich will be paid for with cuts to programs that primarily benefit the poor and elderly. And if that happens... well then are the people at the bottom and in the middle really benefiting overall?

    Of course, Republicans won't get Medicaid cuts through the Senate, there's enough of them (very few... but there only has to be 2) sane enough that they know going down the Ryan route is an electoral disaster. So I guess the question is... for the people in the middle class getting a small tax cut... is 1.5 trillion on the deficit worth it for a temporary (the business cuts are permanent but the individual ones disappear) tax cut? Certainly a good deal for the wealthy.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Jan. 4, 2018 6:42 p.m.

    2bits wrote: "Turn off MSNBC and consult a Tax Expert (A non-partisan CPA). The CPAs I've talked to said most middle-class Americans will pay less."

    So I did. I asked my neighbor, who is a CPA. His reply?

    Laughter and a comment that cannot be quoted in DN.

    Make America Sane (and Safe) Again

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    Jan. 4, 2018 6:42 p.m.

    @2bits

    Do you not see the irony in telling others not to believe partisan rhetoric of the left but then you buy into the partisan rhetoric of right claiming this tax cut will benefit the middle class?

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Jan. 4, 2018 5:53 p.m.

    "Never happen. How would the party of free stuff buy votes if they couldn't steal from our children's children?"

    Surely that refers to the GOP because Democrats are not afraid to increase taxes if necessary. We clearly saw the real Republican attitude toward deficit spending in the so-called Tax Reform they just shoved through.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 4, 2018 4:56 p.m.

    @unrepentant progressive
    RE: "Rarely has a bill been passed that gave away so much to so few to the detriment of so many "...
    ---
    Excellent partisan malarkey. But not tax reality.

    Turn off MSNBC and consult a Tax Expert (A non-partisan CPA). The CPAs I've talked to said most middle-class Americans will pay less. (depending on your deductions last year).

    But it's not like they portray it on MSNBC, That's partisan malarkey. Not tax reality.

    Turn off MSNBC and Google "Will your taxes go up or down in 2018 under the new tax bill"...

    -"Most Americans are expected to see an immediate tax cut in 2018" (Washington Post)

    Some will pay more, depending on their deductions in 2017 and filing status, but Most Americans will pay less in 2018.

    Ask a CPA, not a partisan person. And most important... don't believe everything you hear said by MSNBC news/talk show host. Same goes for FOXNews talk show hosts. Don't believe them. Check it first. Most of it's partisan malarkey.

    Better yet... give it a year and see if you pay more... or less!

    How much can it hurt to wait a year and see for sure?

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Jan. 4, 2018 3:22 p.m.

    We do need to balance the budget. But a balanced budget amendment is unlikely. The last time we had a few balanced budgets it was because both Democrats and Republicans worked together to make it happen. Both took hits for their pet programs. Without that mindset, balanced budgets are not possible (sleight of hand is always available to make things look one way and be another).

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Jan. 4, 2018 2:56 p.m.

    A BB amendment would be utterly meaningless. In a state of war, the whole budget would change to a war footing, and since we are now on a permanent war footing, no balanced budget!

    Ergo, George Will's bowtie is on too tight, as usual.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 4, 2018 2:26 p.m.

    I like the idea of a bal. budget amendment too.

    Imagine a world where the Government could live within it's means (meaning they are required by law to not spend more money than they can take from the people).

    I know it sounds great. But it will never happen.

    As soon as a politician says, "We're going to have to cut your favorite entitlement program if we can't borrow more money"... people panic, and tell their representatives to fight AGAINST a balanced-budget.

    It's sad, but it's reality.

    We will never have a balanced budget.

  • Cactus Pete Centerville, UT
    Jan. 4, 2018 2:21 p.m.

    The US combined total gross national debt in November 0f 2016 was $19.8 trillion dollars. No doubt about it ...... President Trump is responsible for our national debt that he inherited when he took office.

    I've never yet seen a liberal that will take responsibility for anything they've had their hands in.

  • unrepentant progressive Bozeman, MT
    Jan. 4, 2018 1:41 p.m.

    After the trump/Hatch billionaire welfare bill, the country needs a bath not a balanced budget.

    Rarely has a bill been passed that gave away so much to so few to the detriment of so many. And all to give trump a developer's tax break, corporations more wiggle room for tax evasion and gifts to the Gates family, the Walton heirs and all the other assorted billionaires out there.

    Oh, we do need to rein in some expenses, but we also need to pay for what we have already committed. And that means that we don't have the money to give away to the already well-off.

    But trump and Hatch don't really care about any of that do they?

  • patrioticAMERICAN South Jordan, UT
    Jan. 4, 2018 1:01 p.m.

    I like the idea of a bal. budget amend.—though not sure how practical it is, as natural disasters are likely to become more numerous & severe w/ escalating global warming and we're likely to be spending more & more of budget in ensuing years on clean-up/financial aid. But it might be doable if the pres. has to pay for his own vacations—just like everyone else—and limit the excesses (chartered flights, excess S.S. detail, unjustifiable salaries, etc.) of his cabinet. I'm also not averse to examining entitlement prog. to see if they can be made more efficient w/o cutting needed services, or can do more to help people become self-sufficient (“Give a man a fish, feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime”). But some people need the help w/o being required to work (recently saw heartbreaking PBS story of older woman struggling to care for/support her 2 autistic adult sons who need constant supervision.)

    I also like idea of term limits for Congress, or making them ineligible for reelection w/o bal. budget, to keep career politicians from doing so much damage, & make them a little more humble. But that's unlikely to happen, since they are the ones who make the laws.

  • Tyler D Prescott, AZ
    Jan. 4, 2018 12:01 p.m.

    @Copybook Headings – “Never happen. How would the party of free stuff buy votes if they couldn't steal from our children's children?”

    I agree… never happen.

    How would the party of tax cuts for the donor class secure their campaign contributions if they couldn’t steal from our children’s children.

  • airnaut Everett, WA
    Jan. 4, 2018 10:52 a.m.

    Orrin Hatch pushed for this "Balanced Budget Amendment" for nearly all of his 42 years in the Senate.

    He leaves having passed the GOP taxscam for the wealthy,
    and INCREASING the debt another $1.5 Trillion -- and all this during in GOOD - WallStreet breaking all-time record - high times!!!...

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    Jan. 4, 2018 9:32 a.m.

    Somewhere online is a nifty website where you can play around with the budget and see the effects of various changes. I was able to balance the budget and even run a surplus without causing any great suffering. It wasn't even that difficult. Yes, the wealthy would have paid a bit more, but far less than I supposed, and yes, they would still be filthy rich. I also applied some means testing to Social Security and Medicare. What this exercise goes to show is that we run a perpetual deficit for two reasons: first, the wealthy are undertaxed and, second, lobbyists own Congress. If you look at the numbers without being beholden to some special interest, it's fairly easy to force the country to live within its means. I should add that I didn't make any changes that would adversely affect the poor or the disabled.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Jan. 4, 2018 9:24 a.m.

    @ Copybook Headings, the party of free stuff is the GOP, right? You've seen the tax bill, right?

    @ Cactus Pete , you may be right about the interest we pay (which a lot of goes right back to the taxpayers), but I assume you would agree that a huge tax cut is the wrong way to go. If I'm in debt, the last thing I want to do is deliberately cut my income.

    @ FT, medicare, medicaid, food stamps and social security are some of the things that keep the US from becoming a third world country.

    @ pragmatistferlife , add campaign finance reform. Take the money out of elections, influencing Congress, etc. No gifts, no meals, no trips, no donations, nothing. Period. No exceptions. No maximum limits beyond zero.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Jan. 4, 2018 9:18 a.m.

    The surest path to a balanced budget, which will take a while to achieve, is Democratic control of the White House. Clinton and Obama either balanced or lowered the annual deficit, only to have it undone by Republican administrations. And it is the only time, yes the only time, when Republicans care one whit about the deficit. Otherwise, the Republicans are gleeful in raising deficit spending.

  • pragmatistferlife Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 4, 2018 9:08 a.m.

    So I need to hear a proposal from somebody as to how we determine what is critical spending and what is not. There will always be differences in opinion but reasonable discussion is needed.

    I think Warren Buffet is correct, we need to eliminate the necessity for pandering to the plutocrats, and allow Congress to actually think of what is best for the country.

    "How would the party of free stuff buy votes ". Uninformed attitudes like this don't help. First of all the problem is ascribed to one party and secondly critical social services are seen as free stuff.

    Term limits is where this starts. We need to re-align the interests of the Congress with the interests of the people.

    The key to an Oligarchy is the political system is focused on defending the wealth of the oligarchs. You need look no further than the recent tax bill. Yup the average Joe got a few hundred here and a few thousand there but the 1% got millions.

    Why does Congress pass such legislation when the public disapproves so soundly..because that's not who they are listening to.

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    Jan. 4, 2018 9:00 a.m.

    The GOP's tax cut bill was intended to starve the beast and for it to not contribute significantly to our debt they'll need to slay it. Do they really think they can maintain power if they cut medicare, medicaid, food stamps and limit the growth of social security? Isn't going to happen because the majority of Americans don't want our country to look like Mexico or the streets of India.

  • Thomas Jefferson Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 4, 2018 8:37 a.m.

    Right after the huge giveaway to billionaires which will add more than a trillion to the debt. The GOP does not have the country's best interest in mind. Never did.

  • The Real Maverick Spanish Fork, UT
    Jan. 4, 2018 8:13 a.m.

    So what are we gonna cut?

    Health care for old people? Young kids?

    How's that going to make America great again?

  • Zabilde Riverdale, UT
    Jan. 4, 2018 8:06 a.m.

    You make a good point Marxist, that's why any such amendment should allow for short term emergency debts. The cost of allowing the financial industry to collapse in 2008 would have lead to a great Depression and far greater pain so the ability to incur temporary debts for such events and other national emergencies needs to exist. But we need to wean the federal government off of debt before it really starts hurting the economy.

  • Prometheus Platypus Orem, UT
    Jan. 4, 2018 7:49 a.m.

    Laughable, the GOP only believes in such things when they have no power, when in charge deficits, budgets, fiscal responsibility suddenly become a foreign language.

  • Cactus Pete Centerville, UT
    Jan. 4, 2018 6:27 a.m.

    marxist - Salt Lake City, UT

    “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it ... he who doesn't ... pays it.” ― Albert Einstein

    The United States now pays $266 billion a year in interest on our debt. Think of all the things we could do with that money if we weren't so deep in debt.

  • Copybook Headings Draper, UT
    Jan. 4, 2018 5:36 a.m.

    Never happen. How would the party of free stuff buy votes if they couldn't steal from our children's children?

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 3, 2018 6:38 p.m.

    Had we not been able to run federal deficits during the opening years of the 2008 collapse that collapse would have resulted in another great depression.