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Letters to the Editor - June 20

June 19, 2012

Unfair, complicated tax code is the real problem

To the editor:

In response to the comments of Ryan Alexander (“We Can’t Afford Energy Subsidies and Tax Breaks”), I get disturbed when advocates use inflammatory misdescriptions of issues. 

I challenge “taxpayers” to itemize the so-called “subsidies.” These are the same tax breaks every homeowner and businessman receives. For the energy industry, they are deductions for exploration expenses and business costs that all businesses receive, like wages and fringe benefits. “Subsidies” that homeowners (and the real estate industry) receive are deductions like mortgage interest, home office expenses, state taxes, tax preparation fees, the “standard deduction” for nonitemizers, etc.   

Remember, every taxpayer or retired person relying on income from stocks, mutual funds, etc. (i.e. pension or 401(k) beneficiaries like retired state employees) should check on how much their incomes benefit from these “subsidies.” Their incomes depend on the pension fund profits from these “energy company” profits. Essentially, “taxpayers” propose that when a company or industry becomes profitable, let’s take away their tax deductions. How does the local small businessman feel about that idea?

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We must not cherrypick deductions (i.e. subsidies.) That is just rearranging the chairs on the Titanic.

Change the tax code to provide for a more equitable and less confusing tax code. The majority of taxpayers would reap a huge financial benefit if the whole tax code were revised. Billions would be saved in tax preparation fees if the tax code were made manageable, probably more than the so-called “subsidies” cost the government annually. It is an indefensible joke from any “common sense” standpoint that the tax code and regulations weigh more than I can bench press.

If “taxpayers” want to take a “common sense” approach to making the tax code fairer for everyone, quit trying to add complications with attacks on tax breaks and focus on the real problem — an unfair and too complicated tax code. 

Murray Deutchman
Sharpsburg


Obama inherited deficit he helped to create

To the editor:

If you wish to support Obama, that’s fine. But let me be perfectly clear about Obama inheriting a huge deficit from Bush.

Budgets do not come from the White House. They come from Congress, and the party that has controlled Congress since January 2007 is the Democratic Party. They controlled the budget process for FY 2008 and 2009, as well as FY 2010 and 2011. In that first year, they had to contend with Bush, which caused them to compromise on spending when Bush, somewhat belatedly, got tough on spending increases.

Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid bypassed Bush entirely, passing continuing resolutions to keep government running until Obama could take office. At that time, they passed a massive omnibus-spending bill to complete the FY 2009 budget. And where was Obama during this time? He was a member of the very Congress that passed all of these massive spending bills.

If the Democrats inherited any deficit, it was the FY 2007 deficit, the last of the Republican budgets. That budget was the lowest in five years, and the fourth straight decline in deficit spending. After that, Democrats in Congress took control of spending. If Obama inherited anything, he inherited it from himself.

In 2005, and again in 2007, Bush requested that Congress put some controls in place, to control Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s prime lending practices. But he was totally ignored. Then came the 2008 economic fiasco produced by the sub-prime lending of money to people who could never afford to pay it back. 

This is one taxpayer who is tired of the “blame Bush” crowd trying to justify the failure of the economy of the past five and a half years under Democratic control. Hopefully, the gridlock in the Senate will end in November and put the country back on the right track.

David M. McGaha
Hagerstown

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