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Letters to the Editor

Divisive plan?

April 19, 2011

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To the editor:

In his April 15 Saturday Column, Mr. Simons calls the president divisive.

The president proposes a $4 trillion deficit reduction over 12 years, half of it through spending cuts. Tax reforms and tax increases on the wealthy would provide half of the remainder, with interest savings, etc., providing the other half. No details yet, that’s true.

Paul Ryan proposed $5.8 trillion spending cuts, which would drastically slash Medicaid ($771 billion over a decade) and privatize Medicare, which does need fixing, but not his way. Seventy-plus percent of all the spending reductions would end up as tax cuts for the wealthy and for corporations and NOT targeted for deficit reduction.

Dick Cheney claimed that deficits don’t matter. They surely do now! But those who harp on the tired old “class war” argument (as Simons states Obama is doing) still seem to believe that, irrespective of how gargantuan the deficit is, we can simply “grow out of it” without increased revenues. And growth can only be accomplished by slashing the safety net under the poor and the lower middle class and shift more wealth to the very top. What happened to those jobs allegedly created by the Bush tax cuts? Did the economy not thrive after Clinton raised taxes in the mid-1990s?

Would Simons explain which of the two plans are more divisive?

Comments

rtwngr 3 years, 8 months ago

What the author of the letter fails to mention is the cuts to medicare and medicaid do not take effect until 2022, 11 years from now. This is plenty of time for those affected by the cuts to make other plans for their retirement years and their healthcare. Nothing will happen to our existing seniors.

If you took all of the money from all of the wage earners in the country it still would not be enough to reduce the deficit. That is why the government is taxing people not even in existence yet. That is what this continued borrowing is.

There is no proposal by Obama. The speech he gave was a campaign speech. The truth does not exist in this man. He has done nothing but lead us deeper into debt. Look around you!!! Gasoline, food, and other commodities have skyrocketed in cost. The country is burning and Nero fiddles.

Jimo 3 years, 8 months ago

"Nothing will happen to our existing seniors."

If it's such a great plan, why not allow existing seniors to take advantage of its manifold benefits? Why destroy the system now and then wait 2 decades until paradise? Why would younger voters continue to fund a plan they'll never benefit from -- especially if they must save every penny to prepare for old age penury? (What's next on the GOP agenda: bringing back the plague? Rickets? Slavery?)

"If you took all of the money from all of the wage earners in the country it still would not be enough to reduce the deficit."

$14 trillion dollars per year isn't enough to "reduce the deficit"? That's what I love about Tea Partiers -- loonier than a Charles Manson groupie and about as well-informed. Bubba, take $700B in unaffordable tax cuts, get rid of $700B in unaffordable wars and you'll be surprised how little deficit is left. This isn't a mathematical challenge but rather whether the majority of the people can make the greedy disgorge their gov't welfare.

"Gasoline, food, and other commodities have skyrocketed in cost."

And yet inflation has rarely been lower. Bouncing off historic lows isn't "skyrocketing" nor is approaching Bush price levels. ROFL

"Obama has no plan"

Obama has already passed into law a plan to reduce health care costs (unlike your plan, which doesn't reduce costs whatsoever!!).

mloburgio 3 years, 8 months ago

quote from george w bush " i screwed everything up! But thanks for blaming the black guy." Never forget the gang of four! All four memebers of the United States House of Representatives from kansas Tim Huelskamp, Lynn Jenkins,Kevin Yoder and last but not least Mike [i love the koch brothers] Pompeo voted to cut medicare and medicaid.

scott3460 3 years, 8 months ago

"Would Simons explain which of the two plans are more divisive?"

Don't hold your breath waiting for it.

Richard Heckler 3 years, 8 months ago

Spend tax dollars to create new industry and new jobs that which create new economic growth and tax dollar revenue at the same time.

IMPROVED Medicare Insurance for ALL will reduce the cost of city,state and Federal governments as well as the cost of public education,higher education and the cost of living in general.

The People's Budget accomplishes way more than what Obama or Ryan have presented.

Take a look at the People's Budget recently unveiled:

The Congressional Progressive Caucus People's Budget proposal is gaining some big-time momentum, but we need to up the ante even further if we're going to get this the mainstream attention it deserves.

The fight over the 2012 budget begins tomorrow. If The People's Budget is to advance, we must act now. http://www.pdamerica.org/get-informed/view/critical-vote-on-the-peoples-budget-scheduled-for-9-am-tomorrow/

This is the only budget that does everything this country needs:

* Creates good-paying jobs
* Fully maintains our social safety net
* Invests in education
* Ends our costly wars
* Closes the tax loopholes that have made offshoring jobs profitable
* Ends oil and gas subsidies that pollute our country at taxpayer expense
* Creates a national infrastructure investment bank to help us make intelligent investments for the future

This budget represents the future we believe in as Americans, and the CPC really needs our support to keep it on the front burner. Please call your member of Congress, now. The debate and vote on The People's Budget is scheduled to take place early Friday morning.

This is one of those occasions we all hope we'll live to see: We really can make a difference right now if we speak up loudly with one voice.

The People's Budget represents not just common sense; it represents the will of the American people. Click here to take action.

The People's Budget is getting mainstream attention, but it won't hold that attention unless we speak up about how important our values really are. These aren't just words on a page or numbers in a table—these dollars and cents mean lives helped or hurt, people succeeding or falling by the wayside, and families lifted up or dragged down. This is about America. http://www.pdamerica.org/get-informed/view/critical-vote-on-the-peoples-budget-scheduled-for-9-am-tomorrow/

What the Peoples Budget does very specifically:

http://cpc.grijalva.house.gov/index.cfm?sectionid=70&sectiontree=5,70

http://www.npr.org/2011/04/15/135435883/the-nation-obama-should-fight-for-peoples-budget

http://www.democracynow.org/2011/4/14/while_obama_touts_compromise_with_gop

http://www.thenation.com/blog/159939/fighting-peoples-budget

Richard Heckler 3 years, 8 months ago

Our repub reps figure if they can get in the way long enough they can take take back complete control of government once again. What happens then is further erosion of the economy which this repub party have so aptly demonstrated to the point that is appears to be repub policy.

Perhaps it would be wise to keep a close eye on any political party that feels it is necessary to keep reminding voting taxpayers that it is the party of “less big government”. In fact it may be only political rhetoric.

These actions clearly demonstrate my point.

It's YOUR money! 6 cases in point to be considered and read completely:

  1. The Reagan/Bush Savings and Loan Heist(Cost taxpayers $1.4 trillion) http://rationalrevolution0.tripod.com/war/bush_family_and_the_s.htm

  2. Wall Street Bank Fraud on Consumers http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2009/0709macewan.html

  3. Bush and Henry Paulson blew the $700 billion of bail out money? http://www.democracynow.org/2009/9/10/good_billions_after_bad_one_year

  4. Social Security Insurance AT Risk for no reason( This would cost taxpayers $4 trillion, add $700 billion to the debt each of the next 20 years, place taxpayers insurance money at risk and wreck the economy) http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2005/0505orr.html

  5. Medical Insurance Insurance is COSTING YOU MORE BUT YOU ARE GETTING LESS How much is the sick U.S.A. Medical Insurance industry costing you? http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2008/0508harrison.html

  6. Billions in Over Charges! Why did the medical insurance industry allow their clients to pay what they should have paid? http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/24/AR2009062401636.html

Perhaps it would be wise to keep a close eye on any political party that feels it is necessary to keep reminding voting taxpayers that it is the party of “less big government”. In fact it may be only political rhetoric.

Flap Doodle 3 years, 8 months ago

Woo hoo! Haven't seen this set of links for at least a couple of days. Way to go, merrill.

Getaroom 3 years, 8 months ago

And you never offer anything constructive - ever! You remain ever hateful.

ignati5 3 years, 8 months ago

I have a problem with Merrill's constantly telling us "It's your money" as if those of us who oppose the GOP's fiscal policy were all Tea-Baggers of the Left. Whatever wealth or subsistence we may have is a function of our government's stability and our economy's strength. "Money" would belong to us only if we engaged in counterfeiting. We need a fiscal policy that will distribute the wealth equitably. Real capitalism can do this, plutocracy cannot. BG

jayhawklawrence 3 years, 8 months ago

We have been hearing a lot about how cash heavy the large US corporations are and people are wondering when or where they are going to start investing.

Here is a recent clip from the Wall Street Journal...

"U.S. multinational corporations, the big brand-name companies that employ a fifth of all American workers, have been hiring abroad while cutting back at home, sharpening the debate over globalization's effect on the U.S. economy.

The companies cut their work forces in the U.S. by 2.9 million during the 2000s while increasing employment overseas by 2.4 million, new data from the U.S. Commerce Department show. That's a big switch from the 1990s, when they added jobs everywhere: 4.4 million in the U.S. and 2.7 million abroad."

Can we really trust our Congress to do what is necessary to help the US become more competitive in the global market when all they can think about is cutting taxes AGAIN.

Sure, we need to help small and medium businesses and the Republican rhetoric is appealing to this segment. That is the fault of the Democrats.

jayhawklawrence 3 years, 8 months ago

Americans don't really sympathize with unions and they don't sympathize with illegal aliens.

So why is all the Democratic political energy focused on these issues?

Americans don't trust "Cap and Trade" and outside of the major crime areas, they don't trust gun control legislation.

So why do the Democrats focus on these issues?

We need an alternative to the tax cut zealots in the Republican Party who seem to be ideologically and politically chained to the wealthy elite.

Another area where the Democrats seem to be losing their way is launching any national campaign which requires spending a lot of money.

Americans are in a cut spending mood right now.

Kirk Larson 3 years, 8 months ago

Even Alan Greenspan called for letting the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy expire. They were the first steps on the road to ruining the economy. Let 'em go!

verity 3 years, 8 months ago

The stock market seems to be doing pretty well. Let the middle class and poor rot. Who needs them anyway?

(Before I get trashed, that's sarcasm.)

libra101 3 years, 8 months ago

No one does apparently. I've seen some research that says 15-20 percent of the population are completely unnecessary to economic growth, they are essentially unhirable and don't buy enough junk. The MNCs are more interested in making inroads in China and India than they are in selling their goods and services in America anyway. They don't give a hoot that our incomes are stagnant, they literally don't need us anymore.

CountyResident 3 years, 8 months ago

Gasoline, food and other commodies have skyrocketed because of Wall Street speculators, which Republicans don't want to regulate.

I am really getting tired of everyones new found interest in our national debt. It is as if President Obama created it all. Look at the increase in debt under Reagan & Bush. Even Donald Trump, a Tea Party favorite, has talked about the 1.4 trillion dollars Bush spent on the Iraq war. All borrowed money.

Jimo 3 years, 8 months ago

80% of registered voters say "no thanks" to cuts in Medicare/Medicaid. 73% of registered Republicans say no. 70% of self-identified Tea Partiers (Republicans) say no.

And I'd guess most of these people haven't heard anything about these cuts other than the proponents description: a critical plan to control costs and deliver more choice to future retirees - every - single - word - a - lie.

jafs 3 years, 8 months ago

Those are fascinating numbers, if correct.

I wonder how Tea Party members can justify such large bureaucratic government programs, given their general preference for smaller government.

Jimo 3 years, 8 months ago

Why would you assume that Tea Party members oppose all large bureaucratic government programs?

A. "Keep your government hands off my Medicare." B. Tea Partiers oppose spending they see as benefiting others. C. The vast majority of Americans of all stripes have no clue how many gov't programs they depend on--roads, schools, mortgage deductions, unemployment insurance, veterans benefits, and on and on and on.

Why would you assume that Tea Party members have a general preference for smaller government? A. An obsession with abortion policy as the first item of business (and still waiting for a jobs bill!!) B. An obsession with demonizing unions even while freely admitting no budgetary consequence for their proposals. C. An obsession with voter fraud (despite its apparent non-existence). D. A policy of dissolving local elected governments. E. A policy of overriding public voter initiatives.
F. A policy of mandatory drug testing for those unemployed through no fault of their own, for those with children abandoned through no fault of their own, etc. G. Support for the suppression of civil rights in the name of security. H. Pro gun mayhem by restricting the rights of bar owners, businesses, churches, schools, etc. to ban weapons from their establishments. I. Taxpayer dollars for non-public schools. J. Spending cuts--not to reduce the deficit--but to pay for more millionaire welfare. K. Impediments to voter registration. L. Supporting impediments to same-sex couples and their children. M. Spending on corporations via the tax code (a/k/a, subsidies). N. Spending on farmers via the Ag budget (a/k/a, subsidies). O. Subsidizing the billboard industry. P. Subsidizing cable tv operators. Q. Subsidizing oil and gas, coal, gold mining (gold is given away free!) R. Half a million to defend an unconstitutional anti-gay statute in the courts. S. Subsidizing the outsourcing of American jobs overseas. T. Overriding voter-implemented medical marijuana laws. U. Mandating word for word lies that doctors must speak to women seeking abortions. V. Requiring landlords verify the immigration status of renters. W. Unaccountable, untransparent selling off of gov't assets X. Implementing gov't policies that steer state business to connected (even politician's own family) businesses. Y. Appointing unqualified relatives and proteges of campaign donors to key gov't positions. Z. Half the "freshmen" members of Congress hiring lobbyists to run their offices and write legislation.

jafs 3 years, 8 months ago

Wow.

I don't have any idea if those things are all supported by Tea Party folks or not.

And, my impression was that the basic ideas that appealed to them across the board were the ideas of fiscal responsibility and smaller government.

zenmon 3 years, 8 months ago

1) Cut the military budget by 80%, that means get out of the three wars we're in, close almost all bases outside of the US, close a lot of the bases in the US, cut back on our carrier battle groups, our standing army, etc. Eisenhower saw this coming and we didn't listen to him. 800 BILLION /yr? COME ON! 2) Raise the Social Security age to 70 for those under 55 now, not in ten years. 3) Get rid of all tax deductions and decrease tax rates based on that. 4) Everyone should pay taxes even if it's a dollar per year, we shouldn't have half the country paying taxes and the other half paying zero or in some cases getting money back. 5) Federal micromanagement of the states needs to stop and the federal government needs to be cut big time. Insert your pet program here and cut it. 6) Term limits. Career politicians are the ones making the tax code, spending money on pet projects, and becoming rich on a salary of ~$150,000 /yr. It just doesn't add up. 7) We're going to have to soak the rich to get out of this mess. A start would be raising the rate on the top earners back to those of Clinton and the Republican congress, adjusting based on #3. This shouldn't be about hating those that are successful, Taxation shouldn't be about punishment nor should it be about redistribution. If they are stealing, then that is where the punishment should come from. 8) Charitable organizations should be what helps the needy not the government. People should think twice or three times before asking for help. They should really need it not because it's available but because they are in trouble or their family is. Giving to those less fortunate is what makes America great not the taking by force of money to pay for those that are simply too lazy or repeat mistake offenders.

We expect our charities to use 90 percent of donations for the cause and 10 percent or less for bureaucracy, shouldn't we expect something close to that of our government?

Jimo 3 years, 8 months ago

This has to be one of the more bizarre lists of pet peeves in quite a while.

1, We certainly need to restrict military spending to defending the U.S. rather than funding a global military empire. But that would cut spending by maybe 25%. 2. Not everyone can work until 70. Have you considered tightening up early retirement rules? Besides, ceasing to exempt the wealthy from paying SS tax provides all the necessary revenue to fund the program. (Not every problem is difficult to solve.) 3. Why decrease tax rates? If your goal is to balance the budget, you'd only be dumping deductions (and getting rid of tax spending via credits). 4. Pay tax on what? Short of infants and the comatose, who doesn't pay income, property, payroll, sales, and other taxes? Heck, even the Unabomber in the woods paid some taxes. 5. Micromanagement? Like clean air rules? Food safety? Do you mean attaching conditions in return for financial assistance? 6. Half the incoming "freshmen" Congressmen are millionaires already. We don't need less career politicians, we need money out of political competitions.
7. We don't need to soak the rich on taxes. A fair rate--maybe Reagan's tax levels--would bring in something like $3 trillion extra in a decade. We will need the upper middle class to pay more though too, something similar to what the middle class paid back during the Golden Postwar Years. (Shhh! No one is brave enough to say this.) 8. Sure. The trillions of dollars currently spent on helping the needy--and usually falling short--can be made up by another dollar or two given to charities! Because the $75k/yr it takes to educate and wipe the ass of a paraplegic kid in a nursing home, multiplied by the thousands of such kids, multiplied by the millions of other needy people is just a mission that charities can't wait to take on. What did such people do before gov't programs?? They died, bonehead. Feel free to pat yourself on the back for your generosity but if you think that takes you off the moral hook, there's a little place with sulfur and flames waiting for you.

zenmon 3 years, 8 months ago

1) 25% is a good start. 2) So? Not everyone can work until 65 currently, what do you do now. For most people 70 would not be a stretch. 3) Decrease taxes to match the loop holes closed, like the mortgage interest deduction for lower/middle class. Obviously not a 1 - 1 match, just something to let people adjust their habits and budgets to deal with the change. 4) Almost 50% of adults/families pay ZERO federal income tax. I think something is wrong with that. 5) Take the Department of Education, we send dollars to the fed to have it them sent right back with a large chunk pissed away on the bureaucracy. I do think having some central standards are fine I just don't understand how so much can be siphoned off for something as simple as a standards body. That is what the Fed should be about not an army of paid staffers to pass notes back and forth. 6) No, we do not need career politiians. Politicians much like the wealthy are a class of their own and treat themselves that way. 7) Fair is something that really has to be defined. It can range from 10% to 90% depending on the side of the political spectrum you are on. A percentage is concrete and not a sliding scale. 8) Trillions per year are not spent on helping the needy. Exactly, what did people do before big government? They didn't die and I wasn't referring to the 1/100th of 1 percent of the most difficult cases. I was referring to the bulk of the aid the government dishes out now which isn't the example you provide. The bonehead comment was not called for and is exactly why our country finds ourselves in this mess. People would rather spit, curse, degrade and scorn the person commenting on something rather than saying there might be a better way.

scott3460 3 years, 8 months ago

"6) Term limits. Career politicians are the ones making the tax code, spending money on pet projects, and becoming rich on a salary of ~$150,000 /yr. It just doesn't add up."

Disagree. Lobbyists write tax laws for the benefit of their clients. Politicians simply resist or rubber stamp. Term limits ends the ability of the few who can resist to do so and does nothing to address the lobbyist influence (which will be greater on new legislators.)

"7) We're going to have to soak the rich to get out of this mess. A start would be raising the rate on the top earners back to those of Clinton and the Republican congress, adjusting based on #3."

Returning to Clinton and Reagan era tax rates hardly constitutes "soaking the rich." Only in the twisted Randian fantasies of the far right do such rates constitute a soaking.

"We expect our charities to use 90 percent of donations for the cause and 10 percent or less for bureaucracy, shouldn't we expect something close to that of our government?"

Do you have figures or proof of the claim that private charaties are more efficient than govenrment?

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