published Thursday, May 5th, 2011

Higher taxes? Bigger debt?

We don’t hear many people in the federal government these days frankly proposing to raise taxes on everyone.

The reason is that raising taxes across the board is politically unpopular. So the target of tax hikes is usually the rich or those falsely labeled “the rich” — often just job-producing small-business owners.

We also don’t hear many in Washington calling for balanced budgets — and backing that up with sound proposals to achieve that goal. Cutting federal spending is painful — while irresponsible spending is popular with many individuals and special interests.

So we currently are having to borrow around 40 cents of every dollar the federal government spends. How long do you think we can go on that way without disastrous consequences? Our national debt is already $14.3 trillion! And it’s rising — at more than $1.5 trillion a year!

Well, since the president and Congress are responsible for federal finances, are they proposing reasonable solutions?

Not really, because their plans do not cut spending fast enough.

Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin has proposed reducing the debt by about $6 trillion — over the next decade. His spending-cut plan passed in the House of Representatives on April 15 by a vote of 235-193 — with not a single Democrat voting for it. But even if his “good start” becomes law, overall debt is likely to continue to rise.

Well, what do Democrats in the Senate offer as an alternative? Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad of North Dakota would cut the debt by an entirely inadequate $4 trillion — over 10 years. The debt would rise even more under his plan — and under a similar plan proposed by the president — and part of its “reduction” would come in the form of $1 trillion in tax increases. That’s no solution.

Vice President Joe Biden is hosting a meeting of House and Senate leaders today in an effort to reach an agreement on what to do. But there is not much optimism.

Our federal government continues spending too much for too many things, some of them unconstitutional. Why should Congress subsidize wealthy farmers, for instance, and passenger trains? But many in Congress and many of the rest of us are unwilling to see real spending cuts. So annual deficits and the total national debt rise, taxes remain too high, and the economy is weak.

We have not gotten into our financial problems suddenly, and we won’t alleviate them suddenly. But they will get more serious the longer that we, our president and a majority of our senators and representatives wait.

Financial pain awaits us all, but it is past time to take our medicine.

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
nucanuck said...

The clear and easy to understand rationale behind taxing the rich is best explained by the immortal words of Willy Sutton, "because that's where the money is".

May 5, 2011 at 1:46 a.m.
Livn4life said...

Yeah right Nu and that's where taxes are already coming from. What un-excites me is seeing the words, "over the next decade" in the mix. That needs some unpacking. What it means is they will say NOW they are planning to reduce spending but as that decade unfolds and "emergencies" translated,"ways to keep me in office", show up they have to raise it again and the cycle goes on and on and on. This happens no matter which party is in charge. We have ourselves a mess. When did our leaders stop doing the right thing for the country?

May 5, 2011 at 10:22 a.m.
nucanuck said...


Thirty years of trickle-down theory failure and yet you still believe it. Have you been paying attention? Are you old enough to remember when America had a healthy middle class AND higher tax rates? The US was the world leader thirty years of lower taxes have us where?

You say we should have cut spending? Well, we didn't, and now we are in deep decline with you hollering for more of what got us here. Maybe you should stir a little reality into that libertarian tea.

May 5, 2011 at 10:32 a.m.
nucanuck said...

Sorry, meant to say L4F.

May 5, 2011 at 11:20 a.m.

The more I read about politicians running our country, the sicker I get. Excuse me while I go throw up.

May 5, 2011 at 11:38 a.m.
charivara said...

Interesting, L4F. You are obviously not paying attention, probably because you are too busy imagining nonexistent communists and socialists lurking everywhere. While you were looking under the bed and shaking the bushes for them, three rounds of Bush tax cuts and the deregulation of the banking industry were enacted to spur the economy, create jobs, reduce the deficit and make everyone better off. The only thing that those cuts accomplished was to make the already rich even richer, the rest of us (and that probably includes you) got poorer. The deregulation of the banking industry led to the near collapse of the economy and all Americans had to pay to save the banks. The bankers got to keep their lightly taxed billions in “performance” bonuses, however. If that isn’t trickle down failure than you really need to seek professional counseling and learn what reality is all about.

What you are supporting reminds me of corporations using the term “free enterprise” for “stealing”. The real communism is American style capitalism, communism for the rich and powerful: they keep the profits, the rest of us pay for the losses. Libertarians enable this system while deluded into thinking they are anticommunist guardians of freedom. A freedom that is all in pursuit of my, my, my. Selfish, antisocial, unChristian. Libertarian philosophy appears to be morally bankrupt and practically impossible.

May 5, 2011 at 10:20 p.m.
rick1 said...

Clinton signed into law the last major banking regulation change in 1999. This was approved in the Senate by Schumer, Kerry, Dodd and Biden with a vote of 90-8. In fact, Bush repeatedly called for more oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, only to be told none was needed by Dodd, Schumer and Frank. So please show me where Bush deregulated the banking industry.

May 5, 2011 at 11:25 p.m.
charivara said...

Please show me where I said that Bush deregulated the banking industry. Don’t be in such a rush to defend the indefensible. All I said was that it was deregulated. But your post does omit some inconvenient truths. The repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act was initiated by Phil Gram (R) in the Senate and Jim Leach (R) in the House. It was passed by a Republican majority in the Senate voting along party lines and a bipartisan majority in the House. A conference committee reconciled the differences between the two bills and that compromise was passed by the Senate 90-8. Unfortunately, Republicans don't hold a monopoly on kowtowing to the rich and powerful although one can argue that they do it better and more often than Democrats.

May 6, 2011 at 9:39 a.m.
rick1 said...

"While you were looking under the bed and shaking the bushes for them, three rounds of Bush tax cuts and the deregulation of the banking industry were enacted to spur the economy, create jobs, reduce the deficit and make everyone better off."

I'm sorry if I misread your post as meaning Bush deregulated the banking industry. I noticed mentioned Bush name but failed to mention Clinton as the persident who signed the deregulation into law. Yes the Republicans involed in the legislation but Clinton had the pwoer to veto this. You also mention Bush and his tax cuts, but failed to mention that Obama, Reid and Pelosi failed to address these cuts when they had control of the House and Senate for two years and how Obama extended them for another two years. So the tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 were bad but Obama extending them for two more years is now going to be good?

May 6, 2011 at 7:25 p.m.
charivara said...

Having a majority does not mean having control. Republicans insisted that 60 votes, not a majority of 51 are required to move legislation through the Senate. If President Obama hadn’t agreed to the tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% the Republicans wouldn’t have allowed continued tax cuts for the other 98% of Americans or unemployment benefits to be extended to those who can’t find work, largely as a result of previous Republican economic policies.

When Mitch McConnell, leader of the Republican caucus in the Senate, says that their number one priority is to see that President Obama doesn’t get re-elected, he tells you all you need to know. The number one Republican priority is not the problem of unemployment, the deficit, the economy, or anything other problem facing all Americans, it is electing a Republican president in 2012.

I said that Republicans don’t have a monopoly on kowtowing to the rich and powerful. Unfortunately under the present system we are stuck with having to choose between two evils. What have Republicans done for you lately?

May 7, 2011 at 10:27 a.m.
rick1 said...

"Unfortunately under the present system we are stuck with having to choose between two evils. What have Republicans done for you lately?"

Sad to say not much. There are only two things a politician cares about. Getting elected and getting re-elected.

May 7, 2011 at 2:45 p.m.
charivara said...

Have they done more for you than the Democrats have? I think the reason we get the politicians we do is because to get elected takes money and and those who bankroll elections expect a return on their investment. If everyone paid for elections, ie public financing--no other money allowed, not even your own--then perhaps we’ll get law makers who will pass legislation which promotes the general welfare.

May 7, 2011 at 7:29 p.m.
rick1 said...

Government is corrupted whenever it is diverted from its purpose and directed toward other goals that conflict with its purpose, such as the trillions of dollars being promised in Social Security pensions and Medicare payments, and there is not enough money. Current members of Congress win votes by promising these programs, and they kick the can down the road for future members of Congress to figure out how to pay for these promises, which would require huge tax increases which no politician wants to do because they want to get re elected.

Politicians know re-election takes big bucks to run their campaign and what most of them do is sell the power of government they control.

I believe we need to look at a term limit not limits because if there is more than one term, they will concentrate on getting re elected to a second term instead of serving the public interest, which is what they were elected to do. Also there needs to be a provision where after ther one term in office they would have to wait several years before they could run again so making a political career would be impossible.

Your thoughts

May 7, 2011 at 8:28 p.m.
charivara said...

From what I read, the imminent demise of Social Security is a myth perpetrated by those who would make a financial killing if a privately run retirement system were substituted. You might want to read for an explanation of why Social Security is not the drain on the Treasury some would have you believe.

We already have term limits for members of the House and Senate, 2 and 6 years, respectively, although effectively, once in office re-election is relatively easy. I don’t believe that the number of terms a person serves is the problem and there is something to be said for experience. The issue is what he or she has to do to keep getting elected. What you are suggesting would require a constitutional amendment which is difficult to achieve and it would not solve the underlying election financing problem. That’s why I believe that publicly financed elections may be a solution to getting a government that promotes the general welfare.

May 8, 2011 at 6:23 p.m.
rick1 said...

Thanks for providing the link in your post I will read the article.

When you talk about there is something to be said for experience, remember the people who were not career politicians created the government and the Constitution of our great country.

In regards to publicly financed elections, I agree that a person running for office should only receive campagin funds for the state they are representing. I do have a concern there are career politicians who are supporting this because they would not be interested if it wasn't going to secure their polticial position.

May 8, 2011 at 7:31 p.m.
please login to post a comment

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »


Find a Business

400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
General Information (423) 756-6900
Copyright, Permissions, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Ethics policy - Copyright ©2014, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.