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BUDGET: Conservatives ignore half of budget deficit

Letter by Christopher M Thompson, Tacoma on Sep. 25, 2012 at 3:16 pm with 5 Comments »
September 26, 2012 10:29 am

Robert J. Samuelson’s column (TNT, 9-20) purports to offer a moral high ground statement on the issues laid bare in Mitt Romney’s now infamous “47 percent” remark. But Samuelson commits the same ideologically driven bias of countless conservative analyses.

While railing against the welfare state and government benefits, he ignores the majority of the sources of the federal budget deficit. With ire focused on Social Security, Medicare and lesser-known federal programs, we read very little about the government benefits received by “the 53 percent” and not a single word about the multitude of tax breaks and tax expenditures enjoyed by individuals and corporations.

Preferential tax rates inflate the federal deficit in exactly the same way that social program spending does. A dollar is a dollar, whether it goes into the bank account of a disabled citizen receiving Social Security or a multinational corporation in the form of a lower tax bill.

Samuelson speaks of “balance,” but where is the balance in his analysis of the deficit or his tough-love prescription for the path back to balanced budgets? Apparently he envisions only one half of our society making all the sacrifices necessary to balance the budget. That comes from looking at only half the issue and systematicallly ignoring the other half.

It’s as if the coach of a losing team focuses all efforts on improving the defense while ignoring how anemic the offense is. A winning team, and a balanced budget, cannot come from ignoring half (or more) of the game.

Leave a comment Comments → 5
  1. Frankenchrist says:

    Bain Capital bought ailing companies then sought and received government-funded bailout money for the pensions of the people Bain fired. Romney is a economic parasite of the worst kind: a plutocrat who begs for corporate welfare.

  2. Chris, one half is making all the sacrifices today.

    The 53% is contributing to those benefits, paying for our general services (defense) and paying interest on our current debt.

  3. Sonofwashington says:

    CT8 – The 47% that you and Mr. Romney seem to think are unworthy of your concerns also pay a lot of taxes, to include payroll taxes if employed as well as state and local taxes. Many do not pay income taxes because they receive very little pay or are retired or disabled, to include many veterans.

    As pointed out in other threads, the corporations and rich have successfully lobbied congress for huge taxpayer-funded subsidies and extremely generous tax loopholes that allow some of the most profitable companies in history to not pay any taxes (e.g., Exxon and Westinghouse). And of course, there are those handy little tax sanctuaries like the Cayman Islands, Bahamas, etc that Mr. Romney and his 1% elitist friends take advantage to keep their millions save from that overburdensome 9-14% effective tax rate they suffer from.

    Bottom line – you and I are picking up the tab that these very special people don’t feel obliged to pay. But then (according to Ayn Rand) that is their due and they are to be revered as titans of industry.

  4. SandHills says:

    I like the “dollar is a dollar” point. In a truly fair system, a dollar made as a laborer – which is taxed immediately out of their paycheck – should be taxed the same as a dollar made on an investment.

    Capitol gains is taxed on a more advantageous than wages and earnings.

    That doesn’t even take into the fact with anyone as rich as Romney, even what we see on his tax return is only the tip of the iceberg of his wealth hidden off-shore, or tax haven schemes.

    I sit and do my own taxes – as commonsense tells me that H&R block might be able to shave off enough to pay their fee. But the wealthy have Ivy League accountants and lawyers making big bucks to insure that a dressage horse can get a $70k deduction – so it is a direct insult to the middle class that Romney-Ryan-GOP can propose cutting the home mortgage deduction.

  5. CT8 – the half making the all the sacrifices are the middle and working classes who make less then $100,000 per year.

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