Letters to the Editor

Your views in 200 words or less

GOVERNMENT: Revenue is the real problem

Letter by Robert Brown, Fircrest on Oct. 31, 2011 at 3:45 pm with 63 Comments »
October 31, 2011 3:45 pm

Re: “Government spending is the problem” (letter, 10-30).

The author seems to have a cogent point. Using those numbers, it is easy to conclude that spending is the problem because both spending and revenues are higher after President George W. Bush.

What he left out of the picture were the enormous expenditures caused by the two wars that Bush put us in and any money used to bail out the big banks at the end of the Bush administration. Bush saddled us with enormous debt without a way to pay for it. He disingenuously separated it from the national budget so it wouldn’t look like our budget was hemorrhaging.

It is absolutely false to say we have a spending problem, unless you are against these wars. The rich have not been called upon to sacrifice at all, while medical care, college and insurance costs rise, and both private and public sector jobs are cut. Teachers, police and firefighters suffer from cuts in salaries and layoffs, Republican leaders in various states impose cancellation of the right to bargain terms of employment, and military service personnel, most of all, suffer from the wrenching divide of one or more parents being deployed multiple times.

It is time to raise taxes on the rich to support those of us who need them, or demand that they actually create jobs. Then money will flow once more into the coffers of the Treasury.

Leave a comment Comments → 63
  1. The headline is completely misleading and has little to do with the actual content of the letter.

  2. concernedtacoma7 says:

    ” demand that they actually create jobs” Ha!

    Blame Bush, demand jobs from the rich (while also demanding they pay more taxes, then use the servicemen as rhetoric.

    Total garbage. Way to acknowledge Iraq is complete (ok, basically, and the cost will obviously drop significantly), BHO and a dem congress did the surge in AFG, and claim austerity even though fed and state budgets are higher than ever.

    TARP was approved by a dem congress and will end up costing us nothing. Nice try. Go occupy something other than MSNBC.

  3. old_benjamin says:

    It’s absolutely false to say we have a spending problem unless you are against Medicare and Social Security. Therefore, we don’t need to do anything to address the coming insolvency of either one. I’m glad Robert cleared that up for us.

  4. Are you for real? “The rich have not been called upon to sacrifice at all”. Say what? What do you consider rich? What exactly do you want them to pay? “It’s time to raise taxes on the rich to support those of us that need it”. Tell me again why they owe you anything? Get out and get a freaking job loser. Go to North Dakota, they are hiring like crazy. Then, when you get monied up, you can give some to the other losers that think everyone else “owes” them something.

  5. crusader says:

    “demand that they create jobs” Uh this is America, you can’t demand anyone to create a job.

    “raise taxes to support those of us who need them” You’d be decidedly happier in a more wealth redistributive state. Cuba for example. America is more of a pull yourself up by your boot straps kind of country.

    your welcome.

  6. Pity the poor 1%ers.

    Between 1979 and 2007 the after tax income for the top 1% has gone up 275% due in part to the lowering of the top tax rates.

    Over the same period the after tax income for the middle class has gone up by 40% due mainly of the increase in multi-wage income families.


  7. sandblower says:

    Good try Robert. We do understand.

  8. Dave98373 says:

    You have to first define what “rich” is Robert. Until that is done the debate is over before it even begins.

  9. hansgruber says:

    Robert, really?

    “It is time to raise taxes on the rich to support those of us who need them…”

    To support those OF US who need them?

    You need the the rich to support you?


  10. Maybe he doesn’t need the help? You cannot deny that orphaned and foster children do. People born with mental and physical disabilities do. Battered women escaping an abusive home do. Obviously you believe that you are superior to these people. That doesn’t absolve you of your responsibility to chip in on society as a whole.

  11. Oh, and “how much should the rich pay”?
    They are paying at historically low levels now by any measure and we haven’t seen the trickle-down. So how about they pay at levels of ANY Time Prior to the Bush administration? This is what you are calling class-warfare?

  12. gerry0416 says:

    The problem is on both sides of the equation. We do need to raise taxes on the rich and also on the rest of us. We all contributed to running up the bill and it is time to pay it off. While we are at it, we need to make reasonable cuts to the budget. Social Security and Medicare need to be adjusted for the fact that we now live longer and the Pentagon’s budget has enough fat in it to provide decent medical care for the citizens of the country. When everyone stops trying to protect their own turf we will start to find fair solutions to the problems that plague our nation.

  13. beerBoy says:

    gerry0416 – making reasonable, balanced posts like yours is much appreciated.

  14. jellee, when you said, “Obviously you believe that you are superior to these people…”

    you made a big leap, and probably owe whomever you were addressing an apology.

    Just because folks were put off by the letter-writer’s presumption that the rich should take care of HIM does not mean they feel superior to abused women and children.

    The objection many people have to the notion of boosting taxes on the rich is that it signals a “redistribution of wealth” philosophy that moves us ever closer to a more Eurofied, socialistic state. This does not mean help for the truly needy should be ignored, nor does it mean that those trying to protect our constitution and our way of life think they are superior to the disabled and disenfranchised.

  15. blakeshouse says:

    To the letter writer……….. Better to keep your mouth shut and let people assume you an idiot than it is to open that mouth and remove ANY doubt.
    If you want other people to support you I will be happy to help you pack and supply a one way ticket to Cuba, Raul Castro will welcome you with open arms!!!

  16. nwcolorist says:

    Mr. Brown is mired deeply in the class warfare mentality.

    Just keep in mind – these “rich” people pay multiple times more in taxes every year than the average taxpayer EARNS. Without them the whole system would collapse.

    A little gratitude goes a long ways.

  17. Voltaire says:

    “Get out and get a freaking job loser. Go to North Dakota, they are hiring like crazy.”

    Right after you sell your house for less than you owe on it to collect up the gas money.

  18. Voltaire says:

    gratitude doesn’t pay down the debt that was created to create dividends for the rich

  19. Addressed to the headline writer: PS Government does not create REVENUE It extracts money from businesses and people who actually pay taxes (53% of those working and earning a wage). The net personal value of congress exceeds $6 billion. Maybe they should pay to write laws . . .

  20. “You need the rich to support you?

    I will not apologize for pointing this persons superiority complex.
    Or complete regard for those he considers less than he.
    Is there a difference?
    Apology? pfft

  21. aislander says:

    jellee: Tax revenues are down as a percentage of GDP because of the down economy. Revenues were within a normal range for the first seven years the Bush tax rates were in effect. The TRUTH is that we have the MOST progressive tax rates of any major industrialized nation.

    What gives you the right to DEMAND what belongs to others? Damned cheek…

  22. beerBoy says:

    to the letter writer – if blakeshouse declares you an idiot you should consider it a compliment upon your intelligence.

  23. Looktheresanother1 says:

    taxes provide services

    the idea of “demand” is nothing by hyperbole

  24. Looktheresanother1 says:

    53% of those working? did unemployment skyrocket or are we complaining about those that don’t make enough money to pay federal income tax?

  25. old_benjamin says:

    Several plans have been floated that would replace the existing byzantine U.S. tax law. I have little doubt that getting rid of all the existing tax breaks for the rich and poor, for business and private citizens would be a good start. At least we would hear no more about corporate welfare via tax policy, and General Electric would have to pay a few bucks. Given that, and a serious attempt to get rid of government waste, fraud, abuse, and redundancy, I would favor an income tax of 15 percent for all wage earners. That should cover the essentials. What we can’t pay for we don’t buy. Oh, and a constitutional balanced-budget amendment is essential to keep the politicians from breaking the piggy bank.

  26. aislander says:

    The reason that many “don’t make enough money” to pay income tax is due to the much-maligned Bush tax rates, most of which went to the “99 percent…”

  27. Nanook – 47% of Americans pay NO INCOME TAX because their adjusted incomes are to low. They do however pay other local, state, and federal taxes.

    Aislander – the truth is
    The US does not have the most progressive tax rates of any major industrialized nation.
    Most of the Bush tax cuts favored the top 1% far more that they did the 99%.

    Both of you should try letting your fingers do some walking before you post such nonsense.

  28. Looktheresanother1 says:

    “favor an income tax of 15 percent for all wage earners”

    A significant decrease for the wealthy and an increase for the working poor. A quick trip directly for the bottom.

  29. old_benjamin says:

    Not necessarily. Once all the loop holes and tax dodges are eliminated, the “rich” may not get a decrease. Certainly GE, which paid no income tax for 2010, will get a large increase, both percentage wise and absolutely.

  30. aislander says:

    The lowest tax rate was reduced by 50%, xring; the highest by about 8…

  31. As you wish jellee, but don’t be surprised that you can’t have reasoned dialogue with folks if you are going to leap to ill-found conclusions.

  32. Aslinder,

    Between 1979 and 2007 the after tax incomes rose;
    390% for the top 0.1% of wage earners,
    224% for the top 1.0% of wage earners, and
    5% for the bottom 90%.

    In 2000 the income tax on
    $100,000 = $22,372 or about 22%
    $1,000,000 = $382,334 or about 38% (assuming all taxed as income)

    In 2011
    $100,000 = $22,035 or about 22%
    $1,000,000 = $334,936 or about 33.5% (assuming all taxed as income)

    $100,000 = declined by $337.
    $1,000,000 declined by $47,398

    Conclusion = you statement has been disproven.

  33. BlaineCGarver says:

    About 50% of the working don’t pay any income tax….You got some ‘splaining ta do, Lucy……Go get a couple jobs..that what I did, and pretty soon one job will stick and you will make it IF you have a work ethic. If you sit on your arse and wish in one hand and spit in the other, guess which hand fills up first.

  34. Looktheresanother1 says:

    for all the concern about households with income above $1,000,000 – the average in Washington State in 2009 was a smidge over $58,000.

    why not worry about the majority as opposed to the minority? Probably because the majority don’t have lobbyists working the system on their behalf.

  35. Looktheresanother1 says:

    “get a couple of jobs”.

    Did anyone get the memo about unemployment?

  36. BlaineCGarver says:

    BTW, as noted above…those working people not paying income tax usually get a check back from the Gubment as an offset to being under paid….those on the break even line actually get less than the ones getting the check and end up paying for those having more than them.

  37. BlaineCGarver says:

    Back in the fifties and sixties, My single Mom never took a cent of welfair, and worked a full time job and had a couple part time Steno jobs to make it. I hate lazy people.

  38. Back in the 50’s a single income was sufficient to support a family.

    Now days it takes a least two incomes to survive.

    Individual wages in the “lower 47″ have actually gone down, while the numbers of mulitiincome homes has gone way up.

  39. Looktheresanother1 says:

    unemployment up. Classified ads down

    ask any media source

  40. aislander says:

    xring: I’m talking about rates; you’re discussing incomes. Unless your goal is income redistribution, your post means nothing…

  41. Looktheresanother1 says:

    goal posts just moved

  42. concernedtacoma7 says:

    No Look, rates are what us relevant, not absolute dollars. In absolute terms, the rich pay way more than any other bracket.

    Back in the 50’s a tv, car, or higher Ed were luxuries. Go to any govt supported housing area and you will see new cars, kids on iPhones, 50inch flat screens, on top of the free medical care they all get.

  43. aislander says:

    Goal posts are on roller skates. What else is the assertion that “taxes” are at their lowest point in generations when those making that assertion are referring to revenues as a percentage of GDP? Honest people know that rates were lower during the Reagan administration, and revenues are down due to the poor economy, NOT nefarious Republican tax policy…

  44. Pacman33 says:

    Goal posts are on roller skates going down an icy hill.

    My first thought after seeing those figure was the critical yet often dismissed aspect of mobility.

    As a rule the bottom 20% has always struggled with this factor. Throw in the unprecedented housing crisis and the recession on top of that, there a large chunk if not most of your separation right there.

  45. sandblower says:

    concerned is back to stereotyping I see.

  46. sandblower says:

    “….revenues are down due to the poor economy……”
    And the poor economy is due to what exactly?

  47. aislander says:

    The sustained poor economy is due to over-regulation and Keynesian nostrums…

  48. old_benjamin says:

    In the U.S., we don’t have a permanent bottom whatever percent. Folks who were there in the 70’s aren’t necessarily there today. So to say that the income of the top 10 percent has increased at a higher rate than that of those on the bottom isn’t to say anything about specific people. The issue is whether identifiable people are moving up to the big time. There is no doubt about it. People who were on the bottom have moved to the top. I personally know of such people, e.g., an emigrant who was thrown out of his country, Uganda, by Edi Amin. He arrived in the U.S. in the early 70’s with $30 and the clothes on his back speaking little English. Today he is a multi-millionaire living in a swanky community, driving a Lexus, and taking luxurious vacations all over the world. The American dream isn’t dead for those who still dare to dream.

  49. Aislander ,
    Name calling? Not on this thread.

    ‘Us guys’ are not the ones caterwauling about the 47% who pay no income tax.

    After 12+ years of Bush Taxes we now have a 9+ percent unemployment, while corporations are reported record or near record profits. Which shows that those tax cuts to the rich have not been used to stimulate the US economy.

    My experience with the Christian Science Monitor is that it is more fair and balanced than conservative.

    ‘Honest People know that rates were lower during Reagan”
    Obama rates (proposed) 10%, 15%, 25%, 36%, 39.6%
    Bush II tax rates (2008): 10%, 15%, 25%, 33%, 35%
    Clinton tax rates (2000): 15%, 28%, 31%, 36%, 39.6%
    Bush I tax rates (1992): 15%, 28%, 31%,
    Reagan tax rates (1988): 15%, 28%, 33%, 28.0%,
    Reagan tax rates (1987): 11%, 15%, 28%, 33%, 38.5%,

    Well will you look at that! Except for his last year in office, Rates were higher under Reagan than there are now.

    The US economy is down because American Jobs have gone overseas. And the era of greatest flow was under Bush II. (Hint – one does not expect to find over-regulation when the GOP controls all three houses)

  50. aislander says:

    Nice cherry picking, xring. Top rates were as low as 28% under Reagan. THAT means top rates were lower during that admin…

    I didn’t say anything about name calling in this thread…

    xring writes: “The US does not have the most progressive tax rates of any major industrialized nation.” The UN would disagree. Check the OECD report on the subject…

  51. aislander says:

    old_benjamin writes: “The American dream isn’t dead for those who still dare to dream.”

    According to some prominent lefties on this forum, the American dream is not about becoming successful and self-sufficient; rather it’s about cashing a government check (either as a client or as an employee of government) every month….

  52. B-G-C – the check the 47% get back is their income tax withholds. That is IT’S THERE MONEY.

    Compare the US tax range to those of other nations at:


    Tax revenues depend on tax rates, number of taxpayers, and income levels. For example:

    Some people claim that if the Bush tax rates are eliminated, there would be $70 billion per year in increased revenues generated economic conditions allowing) from those making $250K or more, but $400 billion from those making less.

    The only way this could be true is that there are many more people earning less than $250K than earn over $250K.

    Talk about cherry picking – one rate is lower and you want to say all taxes were lower.

    Reagan may have cut income taxes (especially for the rich) but he also signed “ Two bills passed in 1982 and 1984 that together constituted the biggest tax increase ever enacted during peacetime”

    The results were
    1. Tax Revenue (as % GDP) under Reagan was in line with the 40-year average (Reagan 18.2% vs 18.1%)

    2. Federal Spending (as % GDP) under Reagan was above the 40-year average (Reagan 22.4% vs 20.7%)


    How Dare You Redefine the American Dream! Take a look at:

  53. beerBoy says:

    The sustained poor economy is due to over-regulation and Keynesian nostrums…

    As though Keynesian approaches have actually been applied thoroughly….

    Tell me again how over-regulation led to the derivative market. Or to banks not maintaining reserves anywhere close to appropriate to their level of debt.

  54. beerBoy says:

    Or to the consolidation (buying up) of banks so they concentrated the debt into larger and larger (near) monopolies….

  55. aislander says:

    You might want to hear what Mayor Bloomberg has to say re the housing collapse, beer…

  56. concernedtacoma7 says:

    “That is IT’S THERE MONEY.” Does that not apply to other 53%?

    And BB- if you really want to follow Keynes, then we would not be attempting structural or regulatory changes until we pulled through this down turn. Look up his letter to FDR.

  57. Concerned – it’s what we 53 percneters owe the Government in income taxes. That makes it the governments money, unless you can prove otherwise.

  58. beerBoy says:

    if you really want to follow Keynes, then we would not be attempting structural or regulatory changes until we pulled through this down turn.

    Thanks for supporting my statement responding to aislander’s claim that Keynesian nostrums have been applied (he used it twice in one day and yet claims that he doesn’t have a word of the day calendar). The supporters of a Keynesian approach have been consistently critical of the TARP/Stimulus efforts as not being big enough to work.

  59. aislander says:

    “Nostrum” is such a rara avis to you that you would need to encounter it on a word-of-the-day calendar, beerBoy? I give you more credit than you seem to allow yourself…

    …not big enough to work… Yeah, let’s do a LOT more of what hasn’t worked. Definition of “insane…”

  60. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Trillions over the years, $800bil in one year alone (and it is not like our federal expenditures dropped a year later). Where is the line?

    And if you are mature enough to bypass the obvious rhetoric and look at the data, here is an interesting set of stats


  61. beerBoy says:

    Yeah, let’s do a LOT more of what hasn’t worked. Definition of “insane…”

    Yep….supply side speculation got us into this mess……let’s let the banks do it even more!

  62. aislander says:

    The free market needs a carrot and a stick to work properly, beerBoy. Those lefties who complain about “privatizing gains and socializing losses” are not wrong (on THAT point!); we free marketers agree.

    There MUST be a penalty for failure, but Federal nostrums (that was for you, beer) have succeeded in eliminating that penalty in many cases…

    Do you think we may be working toward some common ground here?

  63. beerBoy says:

    Do you think we may be working toward some common ground here?

    On certain points – absolutely.

We welcome comments. Please keep them civil, short and to the point. ALL CAPS, spam, obscene, profane, abusive and off topic comments will be deleted. Repeat offenders will be blocked. Thanks for taking part and abiding by these simple rules.

JavaScript is required to post comments.

Follow the comments on this post with RSS 2.0