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ECONOMY: Concern should be jobs, not taxes

Letter by John A. Amos, Lacey on Feb. 28, 2011 at 1:49 pm with 24 Comments »
February 28, 2011 2:00 pm

Re: “We must make hard choices now” (letter, 2-27).

Despite decades of conservative propaganda, there is no evidence to show that the tax level has anything to do with the level of general prosperity.

After the Reagan/Bush administration ran the federal debt up by twice over, President Clinton balanced the budget and ran up a net surplus in eight years amid general prosperity and without changing tax levels appreciably.

When George Bush took over in 2000, he lowered taxes on the wealthy and ran up a huge deficit for Obama to inherit. Given that, it is a little peculiar to whine about Obama’s plan for “crippling taxes.”

That is especially true when those advocating making “hard choices” never seem to admit that the Department of Defense soaks up half of the federal budget. Do we really need a dozen supercarriers floating around the world? Or almost 200 permanent bases in foreign countries?

And how about the military retirement program: 25 years in uniform and you have free medical care and half or two-thirds of your pay for the rest of your life? Is that what is meant by “bloated federal retirement benefits”?

So let’s spend what it takes to put the economy back in running order, knowing that we can cut expenses and survive much better if we do so. Americans’ unemployment is the real crippling factor in this issue.

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  1. the3rdpigshouse says:

    John – and here I thought “OH-Bummer” was taking care of the jobs situation with the stimulus monies for “shovel-ready jobs”??!! The only stimulating occurred in State coffers and union bank accounts!!!

  2. John,

    Maybe it was TNTs title and not yours – in any event the title is right on target, but you are mixing a lot of apples and oranges – and a few bananas – in your rambling letter to make that point

    Seems to be a whole lot of anti-military issues you have. Why not federal welfare programs as well – or at least just leave it as government spending in general?

    To only single out those who actually put their lives on the line to protect and defend Americans like you as not deserving of retirement benefits earned, without any condemnation of any pension plan (government or otherwise) is pointedly unfair. To further imply that retired vets should not have free medical (overstatement in itself, as there are enrollment fees and co-payments) – while conveniently overlooking the fact that anyone (including illegal aliens) can simply walk off the street and into an emergency room for free medical – uncovers some sort of disdain you hold for the military.

  3. alindasue says:

    Mr. Amos,

    Aside from your comments about military retirement, I agree with your letter.

    Military spending is out of control. Hundreds of billions are spent each year buying bigger and better war equipment to ship all over the world combatting this year’s “enemies”. Those hundreds of billions would be better spent here supporting the economy and creating new jobs.

    I don’t consider military retirement after 25 years to be unreasonable. My step-dad retired from Boeing only a few years beyond that. Most military retirees I know work another job – not to “double dip” retirements, but to bring enough wages into the house to pay the bills. They have not had free medical since “TriCare” was established back in the late 1980s.

    Those “bloated federal retirement benefits” started deflating decades ago. Military retirement benefits are only as secure as the next act of congress, which makes them not much more secure than a civilian retirement – and in these “balance the budget but don’t tax me to do it” days, perhaps even less secure.

  4. Roncella says:

    John, President Obama spent trillions on his stimulus bill which had to be passed immediately.

    It did absolutely nothing to help creat jobs it ended up being nothing more than a pay back to certain cities and states and Union Bosses for their support for Obama which all helped him get elected.

  5. JudasEscargot says:

    “Seems to be a whole lot of anti-military issues you have”

    Tear police, firefighters and teachers to pieces, but don’t mention the obvious bloat of the military budgets

  6. JudasEscargot says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Recovery_and_Reinvestment_Act_of_2009

    There, Roncella. Now you have no excuse for using the Stimulus program as a right wing talking point.

  7. JudasEscargot says:

    “It did absolutely nothing to help creat jobs it ended up being nothing more than a pay back to certain cities and states and Union Bosses for their support for Obama”

    And then there are the pictures of all of the GOP congressional representatives and governors with their checks and constituents.

  8. JudasEscargot says:

    From AJC – Rep. Phil Gingrey blasted the federal stimulus program before voting against it in February, predicting its chances of success were “slim and none” and that it would worsen the national debt.

    But that didn’t stop the Republican from presenting an oversized check for $625,000 in federal stimulus funds to Cedartown officials this month for new downtown sidewalks, landscaping and other streetscape improvements. A photo of him holding the check with Cedartown officials appeared on the front page of The Cedartown Standard newspaper Oct. 8. The check was signed “Uncle Sam.”

    Gingrey isn’t the only Republican congressman to oppose the stimulus program and then later associate himself with the spending from it. Georgia Rep. Jack Kingston’s office has been sending out news releases announcing federal funding for his constituents without mentioning the money comes from the stimulus program. And The Associated Press reported in August that the state’s Republican senators, Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson, asked Defense Secretary Robert Gates to steer $50 million in stimulus money to a constituent’s bioenergy project. Gates didn’t do it, the AP reported.

    The Republicans say that while they opposed the stimulus bill, it is now the law and they must look out for their constituents and support worthy projects.

  9. We might as well put Ron in the same category with his Stimulus nonsense that is easily refuted.

  10. bobcat1a says:

    Saying the stimulus didn’t work is like saying I didn’t need the pit bull I had on a leash because nobody tried to mug me. How do you know who thought twice about the mugging because of the pit bull? How do you know what the economy would have been like without the stimulus?

  11. hansgruber says:

    “President Clinton balanced the budget and ran up a net surplus in eight years amid general prosperity and without changing tax levels appreciably”

    Wow, the Clinton urban legend of reducing the national debt raises is untruthful head once more.

    Here are the facts:

    1) Clinton increased the national debt $1.57 Trillion dollars in his presidency. (Would have been over $2 Trillion if the GOP controlled Congress hadn’t stopped him)

    2) The GOP controlled Congress forced Clinton to operate under a balanced annual budget in 1998, 1999 and 2000 showing a 431 Billion surplus. (Thank the GOP Congress please)

    3) Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 (OBRA-93) pushed through Congress (Dem Controlled) by Clinton was the largest tax increase in history. (Which is why Clinton lost both houses of Congress in 1995)

  12. blakeshouse says:

    Just like in public schools the rewrite of history goes on and on in the minds of the socialist/ neo marxists who are still trying to figure out what happened in Nov. .

  13. the3rdpigshouse says:

    hans – add reducing the U.S. military by approximately 50% to Clinton’s supposed surplus!! At the time of Libya’s demise the U.S. didn’t have a carrier in the entire Mediterranean!! Also – lets hope N. Korea doesn’t get frisky or the U.S. will have a real problem in the Pacific.

  14. The federal government’s primary responsibility is defense (military) so it makes sense, that is where the bulk of federal spending goes. The myriad of the other federal spending is (was originally) the individual states responsibility…

  15. The rightwing thought machine lies to these poor exploited souls. Hansgruber you want some facts…
    1. Reagan increased the deficit by 189%
    2. Reagan raised taxes every year but one.
    3. Reagan started the devaluation of labor.. sending our jobs overseas
    4. GW Bush increased spending by 104%
    5. GWBush increased the size of gvt by 42%
    6. Bush didnt have the two wars in the budget. Obama put them in like they should have been.
    7. GW Bush didnt pay for anything.. he left his bills for the next president
    8. Under GW Bush the top 1%’s wealth doubled… did yours?
    9. Walker gave tax cuts to the rich to artificially create a deficit to bust the unions.
    Facts, you rightwingers. facts…What is scary is that research shows us that people who hold false beliefs, pyschologically need to, and no amount of evidence to the contrary they will continue to believe the lies. This is how the gop is taking down America.

  16. The only way to truly lower unemployment is to stimulate the private sector, not spend a bunch of taxpayer money on stimulus spending.

  17. hansgruber says:

    @sue1234-

    1) is correct. Don’t forget Carter decimated our millitary in the cold war
    2) a shameful little secret about Reagan — he raised taxes. Payroll taxes and energy taxes, to be precise. And Reagan’s payroll tax increase was enacted to save Social Security, which he also expanded to cover new federal workers.

    So as we sit back and enjoy the right’s heartfelt paeans to Ronald Reagan, a tax-cutting conservative champion for the ages, don’t forget that Reagan raised taxes to preserve and strengthen the keystone program of New Deal liberalism. Facts like that are apt to be overlooked in times like these.

    3) The devaulation actually started with Nixon in 1973

    4) Bush increased spending by 42%
    5) Bush increased spend by 42%, no the size of employees

    6) “Obama put two wars in his first budget, Bush didn’t in ANY of his budgets.” This is a opinion comment by Brent Willcom http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Brent_Willcom/austan-goolsbee-debt-ceiling_n_803307_72538484.html

  18. menopaws says:

    The writer is correct. The Republicans are once again lying to the naive……..They will NEVER cut defense spending because the defense contractors dangle jobs to their districts…..and if it bloats the federal budget, but keeps the jobs in THEIR states—so be it……..In the meantime, let’s cut health care to the poor, Head Start and other education programs……..One of the last Republicans with a real vision, General Eisenhower, warned this country about the “military industrial complex” assuming power over this country. It was a famous speech—widely ignored because the process had already begun. Two wars fought without raising taxes—another Republican President. Yet now, they are deficit hawks………Liars and hypocrites—but Richard Shelby and Alabama have lots of non-union defense jobs……TWO WARS—-who did we think would pay for that?

  19. All Mr Obama did was to add the cost of Bush’s two unnecessay, unjust wars to the budget. Bush kept them of his budgets and used special secreate apporopations to fund them so he could look like he was holding the line against increasd spending. A ploy that seems to work very will against the weak minded.

  20. The federal government’s primary responsibility is defense

    Our budget would be much smaller if it were for defense rather than offense…….

  21. … and it would be even smaller yet if the federal government stayed within the boundries set by our founders.

  22. escargot,

    As usual, you tend to make a meaningless quip about something that wasn’t even part of the article or my comments.

    I was merely addressing the article’s pointedly direct aim at military vets – and in defending them I certainly in no way, by any stretch of even a normal imagination, was taking anything away from other public servants (firefighters, police, school teachers).

    Our federal budget is out of control as well as our state and local ones – it’s just that the Federal Government can just print up more IOUs for future generations to pay off. Most of my comments on this forum has tended to point out that our state/county/city/school district budgets don’t have that luxury. Cuts will be necessary because tax revenues will continue to drop and so far any attempt raise taxes by the ballot has failed.

    Oh and guess what “King of Quips” – the ONLY good news that Wa State has received during this recession is that Boeing is getting a huge contract that will employ thousands….from a military contract.

  23. Roncella says:

    xring, Bushes “two unnessary and unjust wars”. I guess destroying the nest of Muslim Terrorists in Afg, and removing the World of a terrible despot in Iraq along with muslim Terrorists was not necessary in your opinion.

    Maybe President Bush should have went all over the World Appologizing after 9-11 happened, would that have made the dems. liberals happy ???

  24. The Bungled War in Afghanistan against al-Queda and the Taliban was all but won by the Special Operations troops before Bush decided to occupy and rebuild it into a western democracy, which allowed him to divert BILLIONS of our tax dollars to his friends and supporters.

    The More Bungled War in Iraq was fought so more of Bush Buddies could take over Iraq’s Oil, and Bush could divert even more Billions of our tax dollars to his friends and supporters.

    The other reason for both wars was so Bush could dance around and sing that he was a wartime president and thus was even more except from checks and balances than he already claimed to be.

    Do not waste my time with the standard excuses of WMD’s, Terrorists, and 9-11, all of which were and have now been proven to be false, and know to be false by Bush and his advisors.

    And before the tolls start, the above is IMO based on my readings and other research.

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