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April 1, 2015

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Letter to the editor:

Candidates’ debate answers not serious

Another view?

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If you are like me, you have found nothing consequential in the presidential debates. I feel insulted when a question is asked, and the candidates give answers, using material they are prepared to use that has no direct relevance to the original question. How are we supposed to learn more about what these guys are all about? Certainly not from their bashing of each other.

I would like to simplify one of the strategies I am hearing from one of the candidates — to cut expenses and cut taxes, which means income to the Treasury, too.

Suppose you are a 40-year-old man with a family of four and earn $50,000 a year. And suppose you find that you are spending about $10,000 a year more than you earn. Your debt rises every year. Not good. Now, suppose you examine your budget carefully and find a way to reduce annual spending by $5,000. While this is a step in the right direction, further suppose that your employer decides to cut your pay by $10,000 a year. With less money being spent, and less money coming in, where will the reduction of your overall debt come from?

Any serious attempt to lower the debt will result from a combination of increased revenue and decreased spending. A tax cut only makes sense if our slowly improving new jobs creation takes us to a place where these new workers’ income taxes begin to flood the Treasury in a meaningful way.

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  1. The 'flaw' in Romney's plan is Congress. If he wins and is able to cut taxes and take exemptions and loopholes away from the wealthy, tax revenues to the Treasury may well rise as investment picks up. The problem is that Congress not only won't cut spending, it won't even slow the growth of spending. If spending isn't reduced, no matter how much 'new' revenue is generated, Congress will simply spend that amount and more.

    Obama's plan is also 'flawed', for the same reasons. Obama doesn't admit it, but along with a tax increase on the wealthy, will come another large 'stimulus' package. Even if the stimulus results in more employment and more tax revenue, Congress will not reduce spending or even the growth of spending.

    I prefer Romney's plan because I prefer tax rate reduction to government stimulus as a way to increase economic activity. However, unless and until Congress is willing to start 'matching' tax revenue to expenditures, the problems remain and worsen.

    The 'fact' that Congress continues to spend more than it takes in, in good times and bad, IS the elephant in the room. Until that issue is addressed, we continue to hurtle toward financial collapse, whether Romney or Obama is the President.


  2. Letter writer believes reducing the tax rates and broadening the tax base reduces the tax revenue to the US coffers. That's not true. It increases it. How do we know? History. Ronald Reagan. And several studies, including Simpson Bowles say the same.

    Mr. Casler makes an excellent point. The increased tax revenue is meaningless if it is not used to pay down the debt and instead used by Congress to spend more. It's not how much you make and are taxed, it's how much you spend. This is true for individuals, families, households, cities, counties, states, and countries. Look at the European countires and governments. The US is on the same path.


  3. We tried supply side economics during the Reagan administration. Reagan cut Income Taxes and the result was a national debt in 1988 2.5 times what it was in 1980. Reagan presided over a huge increase in the Payroll Tax or it would have been worse.

    Most reputable Economists agree that tax cuts never pay for themselves. Wealthy candidates for public office should quit bashing China. After all, China is lending the money to pay for the tax cuts they're getting now.

  4. Future,

    Romney will have very little better luck than Obama has had in working with Congress, should he become the President. I can assure you that D's will adopt the same strategy R's have with Obama. We should have insisted that Congress compromise with Obama and we will have to 'force' Congress to co-operate with Romney if he is elected.

    Too many Americans are just foolish, and do not understand that the gridlock benefits each party and those in Congress, at our great expense. We would be immeasurably better off with compromise, rather than gridlock.


  5. Antigov,

    Just agreeing with 1/2 of what I said and not addressing the other 1/2 doesn't really cut it.

    Americans, whether R or D, are going to have to insist that Congress compromises to get things done, no matter who is President. I wanted R's to compromise with President Obama so things could get done. Not capitulate; compromise.

    D's are guilty of not compromising as well. I have read your comments here before and I suspect that should Romney win, you'd be right there saying 'don't compromise'. Please correct me if I am wrong.

    I'll say it again...gridlock only benefits Congress and the two parties. It damages the country and the rest of us. Do not capitulate... but do compromise.

    I agree with more of the R philosophy than the D philosophy, but much more than that, I want Congress to work and get things done so my country heals and I can heal financially.


  6. Antigov,

    I give you credit because you understand that Congress is corrupted by money and lobbyists.

    The fix isn't an easy one but we could do it. First, we take private money out of Congressional campaigns. We publicly finance them with a set amount of money that can be spent.

    We put in place lobbying reform where once you run for office and are elected, you cannot lobby or work for a lobbying firm for 10 years.

    We institute terms limits for serving in Congress so it can't be a career, like the President has.

    These steps would not fix everything, but they'd be a large step in the right direction.

    The last and more important change is us. We need to hold Congress accountable at the polls. Doesn't it just drive you nuts to see so many old geezers in Congress (both parties) that have been re-elected many times, despite the fact that Congress does a horrible job, year after year? We should all be ashamed of ourselves for keeping these people in office.


  7. Antogov,

    Eliminating or reducing the pensions of Congress members could be added to my list. However, as long as they have a way to enrich themselves while in office, we are going to have a problem. Being a member of Congress is no longer service to ones country. It is instead a great government 'career' for which you can be unqualified but voted in anyway; you have little competition for your job regardless of performance; great salary, great benefits, great retirement, etc, etc.

    It's too good a gig, with too many benefits with no end date. We have to change that to get people who really do want to 'serve' instead of saying they want to 'serve', but are more interested in 'serving their own interests'.


  8. Using statistics of cuts and increased revenues, without analyzing the economic shifts in wealth, recessions, recoveries, increased tax avoidance schemes, wars and various other influences is doing only half a job.

    When it comes to revenues and spending I can't help but put it on very human terms of the family budget.

    We have a certain income, a set of obligations, including debt, and we have to sparse out the income to cover the obligations and debt, and hope we can afford to buy something that we can use for some purpose at home, plus add to savings.

    What galls me most is the idea of privatizing social security and Medicare, gutting Medicaid, and lowering taxes, while increasing the outsourcing of jobs and use of tax havens.

    I consider the safety net programs as a contract that was established long ago as a "safety net". If there is a problem with funds being insufficient, lift the income caps, stop sending excess revenue into the general fund, and raise the payroll deduction as needed based on projections.

    Next, is debt. Debt has to have it's own paydown budget, and it has to be such that debt decreases.

    Spending, beyond commitments, it has to be controlled so it doesn't add more debt.

    Cutting programs and public employees has to be based on effectiveness.

    Those related to public safety are cannot be eliminated, nor can those related to education.

    We cannot add more to the military budget until the past wars are paid for!

    In all instances, we need to regulate institutions that have proven to cause grave damage to the US economy.

    I am sure I can think of more, but I need a nap.

  9. Romney will have trouble implementing the trade agreement with South Korea, Columbia, and Panama on Day One in his Believe in America snow job, IF elected President.

    You see, it was will have already been implemented on October 31, 2012.

    Congress, after dragging it's feet for 4 years, finally passed the agreement October 12, 2011, and was signed by President Obama the same day.

    A stalemate was with Republicans who held up the legislation over the issue of aid for American workers who lose their jobs to foreign competition, .

    After Obama signed the legislation, implementation was delayed because Panama needed to amend its tariff schedule and overhaul intellectual property regulations before the pact could take effect.

    Like many things that Romney includes in his 160 pages of text and charts in a stylistic presentation, there is another side to the story, more facts that are revealed in details conveniently left out or the booklet.

    There are alot of words with little details, or many distortions and misinformation, to fit Romney's purposes of gaining power to help his wealthy friends and businesses, at the expense of the middle class taxpayers.

    There are so many problems with the information in that booklet, just as in his campaign speeches, and the debates.

    Believe what you want, but I cannot based on what I have read.

  10. I know it is late now for people to do the research. Believing in any propaganda publication put out by any candidates, or their stump speeches, or debates necessitates more in depth research for facts. It is generally educational as well.

    It is a practice that should be done in advance of any election at any time.

    Campaigns are not all forthcoming with the facts, and refrain from including important facts that are needed to make knowledgeable choices.

  11. ""Tax cuts for the rich will create millions of new jobs.""

    A group of 90 American CEO's just signed a letter to Congress and the President saying as much. CEO's of the largest American companies. Think they are all wrong?


  12. "Without proposals that provide actual dollar amounts or percentages of ALL proposed changes, we have only more random words with zero actual meaning."

    And without options and alternatives to the failed policies of the past 4 years, we have the same old same old.