LETTER: Budget fix requires balanceTo the Telegram: David A. Ridenour, president of the National Center for Public Policy Research, begins his Dec. 15 comments in the Duluth News Tribune by comparing a parental adage with the nation’s budget problems: “If all of their friends jumped off a cliff, would you jump off too?”
To the Telegram:
David A. Ridenour, president of the National Center for Public Policy Research, begins his Dec. 15 comments in the Duluth News Tribune by comparing a parental adage with the nation’s budget problems: “If all of their friends jumped off a cliff, would you jump off too?”
It’s an analogy, but comparing the desire to smoke, drink and rebel with Democrats insistence on a balanced approach to solving the problem is not a valid argument.
I am confused by the claim $400 billion in cuts are a thwarted Republican request, as cited by Ridenour, because Obama has agreed only to consider it. When its mirror image is examined, it reveals Republicans only are considering tax increases in line with Obama’s requests.
Isn’t that the nature of compromise, to consider proposals before acceptance?
Besides, the president’s proposals to cut $1.6 trillion in spending over the next decade are four times larger.
Ridenour also mentions tax rates that were up to 91 percent after World War II, in comparison to our historically steady revenue — as a percentage of the GDP — to claim tax increases would take out revenue, resulting in a slowed economy. The post-WWII economy boomed. So, doesn’t his comparison demonstrate Democrats’ point that increasing tax rates will not damage the economy since 91 percent tax rates did not sabotage growth?
Ridenour fails to tell us how much vigorous economic activity and cost of living increases through inflation play a part. His claim higher taxes only take something out of the economy ignores what growth it may spur.
History does not show budgets balanced only through fiscal restraint. In fact, the vast majority of successful financial recoveries are possible only because they include increased revenue. The health of an economy includes a qualitative factor — what vital programs, which face cuts, are funded.
Europe is in political upheaval over its financial crisis, and even if austerity measures only eventually balance some budgets, we still have to ask ourselves at what cost — by placing unbearable burdens on citizens?
Consequently, most reputable economists absolutely approve of balanced approaches like the one preferred by Democrats.
Unfortunately, too many Americans don’t understand the debt ceiling is all about paying debts incurred, and just like we as individuals, would only do ourselves harm by refusing to pay our debts. Collectively, we risk America’s credit rating with a debt ceiling default.
Republican President Ronald Reagan knew this, and he suggested debt never be used for political purposes.
Maybe today’s GOP should take his advice. And, when discussing the key to Clinton’s success — no matter the partisan battles involved — Ridenour himself made mention of the most important factor, compromise.
Clinton did, so it’s time for House Speaker John Boehner and his colleges to follow suit.
Peter W. Johnson,