Now that the elections are over, it is time to address the most critical issue facing our government: the national debt.
Although it is natural to disagree on how our taxes are spent, there should be no disagreement that our government is spending too much.
In approximate numbers, over the past year, the U.S. government spent about $1.2 trillion more than the $2.4 trillion it received in taxes. In other words, the government borrowed almost 40 cents for every dollar it spent. Added to the previous debt, we now are about $16 trillion in debt.
The debt harms us in many ways, but the most immediate is the interest that must be paid.
In 2012, we will pay about $220 billion in interest. Only defense spending, Medicare and Medicaid are larger budget items.
By 2020, the interest payment will rise above $1 trillion per year, according to Erskine Bowles, of the president’s deficit-reduction commission.
Increasing tax revenue should be part of a deficit reduction plan, but relying on increased tax rates on high earners is more of a symbolic act than a solution. Even completely adopting President Obama’s tax proposal for reducing the deficit would have little effect.
His plan is to increase the tax rates to pre-2001 levels for those making more than $250,000 a year.
This tax would generate only about $80 billion per year, while an amount 15 times larger is needed to close the $1.2 trillion deficit.
In reality, no amount of tax rate increase on high earners will close the deficit; even a 100 percent tax rate would not cover it.
The true answer to the debt crisis has to start with a real and substantial reduction in spending.
Although a tax reform plan like the Fair Tax would increase tax revenue by growing the economy and expanding the tax base, our focus should first be on reducing spending.
It makes no sense to increase taxes while our leadership has not agreed on a plan to cut spending. The Mack Penny Plan is one plan that has been proposed, which would balance the budget in eight years.
The plan calls for a 1 percent reduction in spending every year for six years and then caps spending at 18 percent of GDP (the historic average) starting in the seventh year.
It would support President Obama’s stated goal to cut the deficit in half in four years, but extends it to a balanced budget in eight years.
I ask that readers urge their elected representatives to support both the Mack Penny Plan and the Fair Tax reform bill.
Jobs going up in smoke
As a conservative young adult, I believe that, even though it is up to the states, recreational marijuana use should be outlawed in Washington state and Colorado.
If the whole country begins to use marijuana, productivity and performance in the work force will decrease to a level that is unacceptable for a nation.
I am hoping that the U.S. Supreme Court would overrule the legalization of marijuana so that this country keeps some sense of morality and preserves its productivity.
Right to work, right to starve
This is in response to the Dec. 11 article, “Solid evidence elusive in right-to-work debate.” No, it is not. Solid evidence exists that everyone can understand.
As an employee, you will make, on average, over $6,000 less in right-to-work states.
This is backed by decades of proven data. Try looking at average wages by state, as this data is available via the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Among the top five states for earners, four are union states. Among the top 10 states for earners, seven are union states.
Now the bottom. Of the 10 states where you will earn the least wages as a worker, nine are right-to-work states. This is pretty hard evidence to dispute.
Now perhaps corporations do great in right-to-work states, paying lower wages, fewer benefits and making larger profits.
So, right to work is really great, for, say, 0.05 percent of the population. The rest will make less in wages, and substantially so.
Remember this when people tout how good right-to-work initiatives are. But good for whom? And the $6,000 loss does not take into account working conditions or benefits, which will be also lower.
It’s easy to draw the correlation that union states not only raise wages, but also the conditions and benefits of nonunion workers.
Without paying members, any group or union will die. See how long the National Rifle Association would last if you demanded to be a member without paying dues, or the Elks, Moose or YMCA. Starve out a union, as right-to-work laws do, and wages quickly follow.
The GOP tried an attack on labor in Ohio, but it was stopped by a referendum. Michigan has a referendum process, but it will be difficult to apply because the right-to-work law was passed as an appropriations measure. The state has a super majority of the GOP in all branches.
The only process Michigan will now get is a significant drop in wages and working conditions, and perhaps a recall.
We need to prevent this sort of destruction of the wage earners. If you don’t like an organization or union, go work somewhere else, take the lower wages, and don’t expect a free ride on union members.
Richard J. Kunkel
In response to the Dec. 12 article “Bowler spared death returns to active life,” I would like to say that there need to be more people in the world like Francis Shannon and his family.
Instead of getting down on themselves and asking why, they stayed positive and praised God. We could all learn a thing or two from them.
My 88-year-old mother did not vote in the presidential election. She says there was only one reason: “Because I was harassed too much on the telephone.”
It was probably the first time in her adult life she did not vote. She was disgusted. Angry.
Lots of Ohioans shared those feelings after the barrage of calls that interrupted daily life.
Don’t forget to vote for Mitt Romney. You can vote early for Barack Obama. Why don’t you vote today?
My mother is on the Do Not Call list, so she gets almost no phone calls from people trying to sell her things. But it’s OK to annoy an elderly woman to sell a political candidate.
Politicians and their “marketing consultants” are so smart, aren’t they?
“They called one right after another,” my mother said. “Sometimes four of them a day.”
You could hear the frustration in her voice.
It’s not much different than the time the door-to-door guy tried to scam her by paving the driveway. And the politicos wonder why people are alienated. They make me sick.
Obama’s policies pile up debt
I read with interest the Dec. 7 editorial “No ceiling fan.” It is the paper’s opinion that President Obama should be given the authority to raise the debt ceiling at his discretion, without any checks or balances from Congress.
I happen to be part of the 50 percent of the people who pay federal income taxes, and I find your opinion on this and most other matters to be completely in line with a progressive, socialistic mentality.
I believe in the Constitution and capitalism. The Beacon Journal leaves little doubt about its total agreement with everything the Democratic Party and President Obama do, and now it thinks he should be given a green light to continue to bankrupt this country.
Since he has been president, our national debt has increased by approximately $5.3 trillion, and now stands at well over $16 trillion.
When Obama was running for president in 2008, he said on many occasions that it was unpatriotic that President Bush was increasing our debt so much.
He also said President Bush was mortgaging our children’s future. President Obama has increased our debt by twice as much in four years as President Bush did in eight years.
With all this reckless spending, our country is in a mess, and it’s getting worse as we borrow $4 billion every day, with no end in sight.
As I digest everything I’ve ever read about President Obama in the Beacon Journal, it becomes clear that a King Obama would be quite acceptable, in your opinion.
Michael J. Sanders
It’s rather odd the way we react to nurse Jacintha Saldanha’s apparent suicide (“Australian radio hoax stirs anger, outrage,” Dec. 9).
Rather than examining the mental health of the working population, we instead project the blame to comedy outlets, which perhaps go too far.