Letter: Tax breaks have succeeded in accelerating federal deficits


November 01, 2012

I am not a Democrat nor Republican. I'm what my voter registration calls "unaffiliated."

I like to think that it allows me to accept and consider anything political, from all sides. In addition, I have a very pragmatic outlook on all things.

Plus, my wife considers me a "rigger," one who has the attitude that any problem at home can be solved with whatever works.

With this I am able, in my mind, to digest problems without any agenda, by looking at what works and what doesn't.

One of the problems facing our nation today is the high unemployment and trillions of dollars of deficit. With just a little research, I found a report by the Congressional Budget Office that the federal budget in 2000, after the Clinton administration, had a $236 billion surplus and predicted a $5.6 trillion surplus in 10 years.

It continued, "assuming the current tax and spending are maintained, the CBO projects that mounting federal revenues will outstrip spending and produce growing surpluses for the next 10 years." They estimated $5.6 trillion by 2011. The report also offered that, "surpluses would be sufficient by 2006 to pay off all publicly held debt."

But a funny thing happened on the way to fiscal paradise. Someone decided that the economy would be better served if the surplus was given to the citizens with a tax cut. They could use the extra income to start businesses, invest in new projects and, with government out of the way, create millions of jobs and unemployment would surely drop below 6 percent.

More than 10 years later, unemployment is almost 8 percent. In 2000, 31 million Americans were considered in poverty. Today, the number is 46 million.

The tax cut gave the rich a substantial amount of return, but in my opinion many in the bottom bracket of income got little or nothing. This aggravated the already huge imbalance of income that had the top 1 percent see their incomes, since 1979, rise 275 percent, while the bottom 20 percent grew only 18 percent.

Instead of financial security, our nation is trillions of dollars in debt. Most of this can be explained by the acute loss of income by the federal government.

Today, it's at 14.8 percent of the gross domestic production, while spending is at 24 percent. This is the greatest gap since World War II. It is apparent to this pragmatic rigger that the tax cut was a failure. It fueled our deficit, failed to create jobs and created a huge imbalance of income for citizens.

Yet, with all this history to learn from, Republicans are promoting continuing the tax cuts, getting the government "out of the way" with less regulations and, incredibly, no new revenue. This, it is assumed, will produce 5 million new jobs. The details of this plan are scarce, but I suppose the trick that will make it work this time is secret "fairy dust" to sprinkle over it.

What makes this significantly different is that today, Republicans pledge to never vote for a tax increase or they will be, and have been, replaced.

In my opinion, that's a formula that will bring down our government faster than any terrorist plot. The assignment to promote the general welfare, our government and our American Way is under attack. The poor will suffer even more while numbers in the middle class status become even lower.

Congress must come to its pragmatic senses and "rig" something that works. If not, we can only expect darker results, which could be the stuff of which revolutions are made.

Vince DePalmer


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