Confusion, not solution, reigns in debt, deficit talks
The nasty fight going on in D.C. is about paying down our $14 trillion national debt, right? Wrong.
Our politicians are just arguing about the budget deficit, which is less than a tenth of the national debt and is not yet even part of it. The national debt is the amount of money that our government has borrowed and not yet paid back, but the deficit is the extra money that the government will have to borrow this year, and add to the national debt, to meet this year's budget.
Since many voters don't understand that reducing the deficit means that the national debt will still continue to increase, each side is just trying to confuse voters into thinking that the debt can be reduced by having the other side pay for it. But the middle class and the elderly are not going to stand for cuts in their government benefits just to fund tax cuts for the wealthy, and vice versa.
We need to make it clear to our senators and representatives that we want them to start paying down our national debt and stop playing favorites over who will make the sacrifices to do so. The phony grandstanding has got to stop and real solutions need to be found.
It's time for us to talk back to Congress.
Douglas S. Andersen
I recently wrote to Sen. Rand Paul to suggest two things. First, that he listen more and speak less. He is a young man and has lots to learn. Second, that he recognize the power and necessity of compromise.
He obviously rejects both suggestions. His reply to me ends, "Rest assured that as I represent the Commonwealth of Kentucky in the United States Senate, I will never compromise my principles."
Standing on principle may be appropriate in moral or legal situations, but in social, theoretical or governmental matters, compromise should always be available.
A man who will not compromise begins to sound like an aspiring dictator. Even our Constitution is sprinkled with compromises, impelled by the end of slavery, the recognition of voting rights, etc.
Almost every piece of legislation is a product of compromise (except for a long string of "clean" bills to raise the debt limit). Remember Henry Clay? Sen. Paul, you are no Henry Clay.
GOP creates crisis
The Republicans have created our current economic crisis out of thin air.
This debt ceiling fight has been manufactured in order to keep the economy in a state of turmoil to make the President look bad. Republicans have ruled by minority filibuster for the past two years, and are now trying to rule by taking the economy hostage and playing chicken.
President Barack Obama is more than willing to compromise. He has proposed trillions in spending cuts, but that has not been good enough.
The Republicans have proven that they stand for one thing, protecting the rich. They have no problem cutting Medicare, unemployment, the military, Social Security. They are willing to close the Department of Education and the Environmental Protection Agency.
The rich are not asked to help our economy by one extra penny. Grandma can be left to freeze and starve as long as millionaires don't have to pay taxes on their private jets, windfall profits, capital gains or inherited fortunes.
The Republican party today stands for only one thing, protecting the rich, while sticking it to the poor. I can't understand why anyone who is not rich would ever vote for a Republican.
Make cuts in defense
Why has not one politician stood up to say, "Hey, let's stop the 2½ wars we are pointlessly fighting before we cut funding to feed little babies."
The deficit cannot be addressed without cuts in defense, but no one will even mention it, let alone debate it. It just seems criminal to me.
I am tired of the stupidity of liberals. Economics 101 says that if you spend more you will be deeper in the hole. So vote no on a debt ceiling raise.
There isn't a problem with revenue, it's spending that's a problem. Government revenue has increased 20 percent since President Barack Obama got into office and spending has increased 60 percent. The size of government has also increased.
The left forced banks to give loans to people who couldn't afford them. Remember when Obama bailed out the banks? I know, I was in the realty market near Chicago watching all this happen.
On local radio talk shows recently, Sen. Rand Paul continued to articulate his opposition to raising the debt ceiling, stating he will vote no unless Congress also passes a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. It is part of the "Cut, Cap and Balance" plan of the newly elected Tea Party legislators.
His position may be principled on a personal basis, but it is a stubborn stance of ideological purity. It contributes nothing to any thoughtful discussion and compromise for the good of Kentucky or the United States.
Any amendment to the Constitution requires a two-thirds vote in both houses of Congress followed by ratification by three-fourths of state legislatures. Even if such an amendment was desirable (and nearly every economist says it is not), it would take many years of divisive political combat to enact.
President Ronald Reagan warned of dire consequences if Congress did not raise the debt ceiling during his administration. During his eight years in office he presided over 18 raises of the national debt ceiling and never once submitted a proposed balanced budget to the Congress.
Paul and his Tea Party colleagues should value Reagan's wisdom. They should also heed the following blunt advice of former Republican chairman Haley Barbour in speaking to the GOP National Leadership Conference in June: "In politics, ideological purity is a loser."
Does anyone have a pair of hip boots I can borrow? After listening to House Speaker John Boehner regarding the budget impasse, I need a pair.
He acts as though the budget problems are all caused by Democrats. When President Bill Clinton left office, the budget was balanced and the economy was great. Where was Boehner when George W. Bush and Dick Cheney wrecked the economy with their invasion of Iraq and their tax cuts for big corporations?
Where was he when the government bailed out corrupt Wall Street big shots with our tax dollars?
I suspect the real reason some members of Congress are hell-bent on "reforming" Social Security is to keep from having to come up with the billions upon billions of Social Security funds that have been "appropriated" for their pork projects. It would be much easier to do away with Social Security than to come up with the money.
Social Security is not an entitlement. It has been paid for by all working people and their employers
How much do members of Congress pay into their pension fund? Isn't it time we have a special election so we can vote on the salaries, perks of office and terms of office for all elected officials?
I'm for placing a cap on their salaries ($75,000 per year, no perks, no health insurance, no special privileges whatsoever). It's time they come down to earth and live like the rest of us.
Charlene R. Johnson
Gonna get bit
President Barack Obama trying to compromise or reason with these radical Republicans is about as futile as him leaning over a rattlesnake's nest yelling "here snakey, snakey, snakey!"
Angela M. Arnett
Just gets bigger
If they cut $1.2 trillion of spending from the budget and increase the borrowing limit, by $1 trillion, in 2011, as well as cutting $1.8 trillion from the 2012 budget, why do they need to increase the borrowing limit again, by $1.6 trillion in 2012?
What this tells me is that the budget for 2012 is much larger than the 2011 budget. Maybe I am just simple, but in my household we don't plan a budget on our dreams, we plan our budget on what funds we have available.
This is the reason this country is so far in debt. This legislature, as well as the president, do not consider this money as theirs. They feel no responsibility whatsoever for the debt that their budgets create. They will not be paying it off. Their main financial worries are their own raises and helping their financial backers.
I guess that is why they need to make a second increase to the borrowing limit.
J. D. Miniard
Crossed the line
I am a senior citizen. I paid into Social Security for over 50 years. I presently pay into Medicare part B, plus my annual deductible. With my pension, this is my livelihood in my golden years.
When I see on the news that certain individuals in Congress want to cut both Social Security and Medicare, while at the same time allowing large corporations to continue to avoid paying taxes, they have crossed the line. It is absolutely clear who they are working for.
My feelings are that the entire Congress is incompetent, but when I step into the voting booth next year, I will remember who does not give two hoots about me. I only hope every other senior citizen feels the same way.
Live within our means
Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, the American people should take a stand concerning the actions of the elected officials. We should expect them to meet the same standards that we live by.
They should have to pay into Social Security (it may not go broke if they did) and have the same health insurance problems we face, not have a plan just for them. They should not be able to vote their own pay raises. The general public is not allowed to do so.
My household expenses depend on my income. The Congress should do the same. We need a congressman or congresswoman Robin Hood who would fight to take from the rich and give to the poor.
Secret is out
The president said on a newscast that if the debt ceiling is not raised, there may not be any Social Security checks sent out. Oops, he told the truth. There is no money in the Social Security trust fund. If there was he could pay out of the several trillion dollars in the fund that politicians say is there.
Sadly, all that money has been spent by the government already, as the president noted.
Answers at the polls
The writer of a July 10 letter urging people not to vote in next year's presidential election must be an undercover Republican or very shortsighted.
Reasonable people wanting positive change would not win anything by refusing to vote. On the contrary, that would leave the right-wing radicals to come out in force and elect whomever they choose. That's what happened in 2010 — people were fed up with politicians, so they didn't vote. Never mind that the reason Congress wasn't accomplishing anything was because Republicans were filibustering every bill Democrats introduced, we still got Rand Paul for our senator.
Republicans in Congress have proven that they care nothing for ordinary people and that their only allegiance is to their corporate and wealthy masters.
The Tea Partiers have chosen to believe that not raising the debt ceiling won't "really" plunge the country into economic chaos. They attached so many pork-barrel riders to the three jobs bills Democrats introduced in the House that the bills became impossible to vote for.
Somehow, they expect to get re-elected. And if reasonable people don't bother to vote, they will be.
I will be disappointed in President Barack Obama if he allows the Republicans to get away with their blackmail over raising the debt ceiling, just as I was disappointed last year when he let them get away with holding the middle class tax breaks hostage unless they got their tax breaks for the wealthy.
But a Republican as president?
Please vote next year.
Barbara J. Becker
Think it through
Like all Americans, I am tired of the never-ending political posturing and finger pointing coming out of Washington. I'm not concerned about the debt ceiling or even the next election. My concern is that the federal government is facing a $61.9 trillion financial hole because of current and future spending,
This debt is growing by $2 to $3 trillion every year. That amounts to a burden on every American citizen of more than $200,000.
I discovered this unnerving fact in a booklet titled "The State of the Union's Finances," published by the non-partisan Peter G. Peterson Foundation. Every member of Congress received a copy. However, none of the budget proposals is currently addressing entitlement spending reform, which is the proverbial elephant in the room.
If Congress is serious about addressing the debt crisis it needs to answer the following questions:
■ Do you support balancing the budget and, if so, do you support measures necessary to achieve it?
■ If you propose new or extended tax cuts, who will pay for them and how?
■ How do you propose to address the long-term growth in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and create more flexibility in the budget?
■ How do you propose to reform our tax system?
■ How do you propose to reform how the government does business?
I have totally lost all faith in our government and our leaders. They are like bickering kindergartners and they are disgusting. Were it possible to check our forefathers graves, it would probably be noticed the earth is disturbed where they turned over.
I am a Democrat but did not vote in the last election because President Barack Obama makes a pretty speech and throws a nice party but he has not the tools to run this country. There was no one to vote for sadly.
How dare Washington use scare tactics on our most vulnerable citizens. Is this not reducing our leaders to terrorist methods?
I am appalled when I think of the sacrifices made in the past, present and future for this country when we have temper tantrum throwing babies in Washington.