Hate austerity? Don't go so deeply in debt

May 11, 2012

Your recent editorial on European elections states that "the real lesson to be drawn from the rise ofFrance's Francois Hollande and others is that many in Europe are fed up with austerity measures" ("Rejecting austerity," May 9).

Contrary to that assertion, the real lesson to be drawn from the European debt crisis is that a country cannot afford to be so deeply in debt that its prospective creditors are in a position to demand onerous loan covenants that are politically untenable. It remains to be seen which side (the creditor nations, e.g. Germany, or the debtor nations, e.g. Greece, Italy or Spain) blinks first. Americans may, indeed, be "perfectly capable of mustering a substantial anti-austerity reaction," but if the Chinese and Saudis demand austerity to continue to finance our ever-expanding debt, will the United States be in a position to say, "We don't need your stinkin' money"?

That same editorial refers to the impending "expiration of the Bush tax cuts." While I realize that Bush bashing is one of the few things that The Sun does well, I feel compelled to inform you that the "Bush tax cuts" expired some time ago. If you wish to describe our current income tax regime as the "Obama tax cuts" or even the "Obama extension of the Bush tax cuts," accuracy would be served, but I suppose that such descriptions would not serve the Sun's political agenda.

Bob Price, Lutherville

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