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September 19, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

Sequester solution is pretty simple

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Regarding the sequester: I wonder at what point members of Congress start thinking about the people they represent. It’s not right to even debate cutting vital government programs.

It is beyond me how we can have trouble choosing between cuts in education and health services versus cutting tax breaks for the rich. Right now, the richest 1 percent get more than $270,000 in tax breaks a year, receiving larger tax breaks than middle-class families when they have a home mortgage, contribute to a 401(k) or pay property taxes.

Dozens of corporations have paid no federal income taxes for the past four years, evading $80 billion in taxes that could have helped support vital social programs.

Closing loopholes and ending tax breaks for the richest 2 percent of Americans and big corporations can raise over $1 trillion in 10 years. I think the solution is simple.

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  1. Let's recap. President Obama and his economic advisor Jack Lew, now Treasury Secretary, pushed for Sequestration in August 2011 since they could not get a "grand bargain." Harry Reid and the Democratic Senate agreed and coerced the republican House to "compromise" and go along. The House did and the President signed Sequestration into law to be effective January 1, 2013. Congress and the President kicked the can down the road to [as part of a fiscal cliff prevention] March 1 and then did nothing. Oh wait. I forgot: President Obama played golf with Tiger Woods and Congress took a President's Day vacation. Now, sequestration is the law. Let er rip!

    CarmineD

  2. The top 20 percent have 85% of the wealth.

    The Upper 20 percent have less than 11% of the wealth.

    The middle 20 percent have 4% of the wealth.

    The bottom 40 percent have less than 0.2% of the wealth.

    The Federal Poverty guideline has a family of 4 with an income of $23,550. With 14.5 to 15 percent of U.S. households--nearly 49 million Americans, including 16.2 million in poverty. The poverty rate, unchanged from 1993, the highest since 1983.

    Meaning, the wealthy can afford to pay higher taxes. Higher taxes to the middle 20 percent could force some of those families into poverty. The assumption, most--if not all, of the bottom 40 percent are in poverty.

    The unbalance is due to the unbalance in wealth. Not all Americans will be wealthy. However, there is a higher among of taxes being paid by the wealthy per the percentages. The disparaging amounts in wealth justify the higher amounts in taxes paid by the top 20 percent.

  3. Some would have you believe that income taxes are the only tax worthy of any discussion. To me, a tax is any contribution I make to government revenues that I don't have to spend on other things.

    Some have whined repeatedly about the $60 Billion income tax increase for those making over $400,000 and more a year. But, lower and middle income workers saw their payroll taxes increase by $ 95 Billion this year. Apparently, that doesn't count because it's not an income tax.

    Much is made about the Corporate income tax rate being 35% supposedly. Corporate profits are at record highs,the stock market is at record highs and major corporations have more that $2 Trillion in cash on their books. Because of loopholes and tax breaks corporations' income taxes amount to 7% of Federal revenue; less revenue than we pay for excise taxes on things such as booze and cigarettes.

    Anybody see anything wrong here?

  4. The drum beat of the left goes on & on: You pay; I benefit. Greedy & self-centered, the left has no qualms about stealing from future generations so they can have "theirs" now. They have built a house of cards and it is on the verge of collapse. Will they take any responsibilty for the chaos that ensues? You bet your sweet bippy they won't. Pointing fingers and telling lies, they will go about their envious ways even as we are all engulfed by the calamity they caused.

  5. Rosalyn and others say the wealthy should pay more taxes. OK, but the numbers say that even if that were done, we'd be nowhere close to covering what we spend now. Add to that the fact that when our government has more revenue, it tends not to reduce spending and pay down debt, but to spend the extra revenue on more government.

    Logic dictates that although more revenue is probably necessary, less spending is where we need to go if we really want to lessen deficit spending and start to pay down the debt.

    Michael

  6. Maybe next time Mayor Bloomberg could run for president and either outlaw two income wage families or require the second income family member to devote 75% of his or her income to pay federal tax revenue. This would keep the liberal left happy for 1 or 2 years.....or maybe not.

  7. Sorry BChap your facts are flawed. President Obama has added ONE TRILLION in debt every year of his term. It's $16.5 T now and growing. CBO says it will be $985 Billion in 2013. Wow, a decline of $15B. Progress, in large part due to the Sequester. It's estimated that when President Obama leaves office the USA will have a debt of $20 T. It was $6 T in 1985. Now, Obama is not completely to blame EXCEPT for his terms.

    CarmineD

  8. ELIMINATE public K-12. Broken beyond repair. Even money can't fix it. "Teachers" at $100K a year to daycare....

  9. BChap: Check the latest McClatchy-Marist poll. Americans give Congressional Republicans a higher rating than the President to deal with deficits: 44 to 42 percent.

    CarmineD

  10. Corporations do NOT PAY ANY TAXES because businesses pass-on any and all taxes to their customers--so eliminate the paperwork and STOP TAXING corporations. Find out what government is really costing us.

  11. The only VITAL federal program is national defense so let's get around to it: SECURE THE BORDER. Deport and expel illegals.

  12. Does anyone honestly see stopping the White House tours as a legitimate act in response to the sequester?

  13. You are absolutely correct about the debt, CarmineD (Carmine DiFazio), in stating that "It's $16.5 T now and growing." The Federal Debt is currently $16,703,943,129,416.14 the last time I checked: http://www.treasurydirect.gov/NP/BPDLogi... (perhaps 10 minutes ago.)

    BUT that same site says that more then 25% of that debt figure is "Intragovernmental Holdings." Just recently, regarding the need to repay Congressional raids on the Social Security Trust Fund, you maintained that the Government can't owe itself. So that 25+% shouldn't be included in the debt, should it? So that leaves a publicly held debt of only $11,855,880,363,426.63.

  14. People, most recently Future 3:26 a.m, today, claim that the sequester is WORKING! Today is day 10 of the sequester. It's in effect until at least September 30. Federal employment regulations require at least 30 days advance notice before changing any employee's regularly scheduled work hours or pay rate - so no time or pay cuts can take effect until March 31 at the earliest, And that's a cut that can be made fairly rapidly. Imagine the Pentagon trying to cut 10% off the F-35 Lightning II program, aka the Joint Strike Fighter aircraft, that has been in development for 16 1/2 years to date, has only flown some 2,500 hours, and is currently estimated at $100 million each! And the Pentagon wants to buy more than 2,300 of these!

    How is it possible to ALREADY claim that the sequester is working, when it's not yet begun to take effect?

  15. "Congressional raids on the Social Security Trust Fund, you maintained that the Government can't owe itself."

    Robert: I was being facetious [you didn't get it]. Do you know what that means? Hint: I used the term hunky dory. The only thing that the Federal government does that is "honky dory" is spend spend spend other people's money.

    CarmineD

  16. "Federal employment regulations require at least 30 days advance notice before changing any employee's regularly scheduled work hours or pay rate"

    Robert:

    Actually warn letters are suppose to go out 90 days ahead but our illustrious President reduced the period to 60.

    CarmineD

  17. "How is it possible to ALREADY claim that the sequester is working, when it's not yet begun to take effect?"

    Robert: Apparently President Obama didn't get the memo. He cancelled White House Tours effective March 9.

    CarmineD

  18. "A smart government would have put the letters out 90 day before the start day of the sequester March 1st.

    But Obama failed that simple task" FUTURE

    Since the Sequester was to be effective January 1, the letters should have gone out right before the election [60 days the new normal]. Guess who put the kabash on that happening. Hint: He said in the Oct 2012 presidential debates that sequestration would not happen. He lied. Or he was wrong. Or both. Take your choice.

    CarmineD

  19. "Sequestering will likely prove nearly as valuable as Edsels and Corvairs"

    Two of the most successful failures of the auto industry. Endangered but not extinct.

    CarmineD

  20. Carmine, Future. Please reread my original post. I said that letters changing work hours/pay must go out AT LEAST 30 days in advance of the action. The actual timing varies based on what is being cut (work days, work hours, pay rate, etc), why its being cut, what the union contract (if any) specifies, who is affected, and other factors. It takes a really egregious action to allow shortening that time. The practical work-around is to issue a letter as prescribed and immediately place an individual on paid administrative leave.

    Carmine - your use of facetiousness comes across just as well as my use of irony or occasional sarcasm. All are easy to spot in the oral language but are quite problematic in writing.

  21. Robert:

    Did you know in 2007 President Obama was actually criticizing the WARN Law on the Floor of the Senate saying that US employees deserved 90 days or more notice. Now you and he claim 30 days will suffice. I believe there is a word in the English langauage, oral and written, for this sudden change in thinking by a person. I'm pretty sure it starts with "h." Where the President stands depends on where he sits. Not just on WARN letters but a host of other issues.

    CarmineD

  22. I know just a little about WARN, Carmine. Among the things I know are: 1) It applies to plant closings and mass lay-offs. Haven't heard anyone suggesting either as a response to the sequester. 2) If people WERE talking about plant closings or mass layoffs as a response to the sequester, WARN excludes regular federal, state, and local government entities that provide public services. It would take YEARS for the courts to define what "provides public services" means. At one end people would argue that only those employees with routine face to face public contact are covered. At the other end people would argue that the ONLY purpose of governments having ANY employees is so they can provide one form or another of "public service."

  23. Robert:

    WARN letters apply to government contractors. This is by all accounts the single most likely sector of the economy to be most negatively impacted by Sequestration.

    CarmineD