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Letters to the Editor - Dec. 29

December 29, 2012

Redefining our terms would be less taxing

To the editor:

I have an idea that may help resolve the current economic impasse. The major sticking point that has prevented Republicans and Democrats from coming together is the word “tax.” Democrats see increased taxes as indispensible. Republicans see the increased taxes as the boogie man to be avoided and opposed at all costs. They both are looking at taxes from a political rather than an economic standpoint. Cleary, tax hikes themselves will not get us out of this deficit crisis. The amounts proposed to be raised by tax hikes is miniscule compared to the deficits. It’s the principal of the thing that is causing the stalemate.  One way to bridge the gap is to quit talking about taxes in the traditional terms. It causes too much of a kneejerk response.

Let’s change the discussion to economic terms that the wealthy can understand — loan and repayment. The government borrows billions each year from foreigners at a very favorable interest rate. That not only gives the world an image of the U.S as a poor, needy country, but it jeopardizes our security. Any country that holds so much of our debt has tremendous leverage and influence on our security and foreign policy.

I propose that the government speak to the wealthy in terms that they understand. Make the tax hikes a loan from the wealthy to our government. We need funds to finance the expenses of our government. The wealthy have the money. Tell them that any tax hike that is enacted will be a loan from  them to the U.S. to be repaid with future tax cuts when certain benchmarks are reached (i.e. 4 percent unemployment, deficits reduced by 25 percent, etc.). We have to borrow from someone. It could be presented as a “patriotic” program. Why not borrow from our own people rather than China? The wealthy would understand the loan language rather than rebel at the tax word and they would receive a sense that they are helping their country.

The payback could be in the form of tax reductions in later years or greater deductions down the road for those who have paid more now. It should include interest at the same rate that we pay China. The interest could be tax free since we don’t collect taxes on the interest we pay China. The “debt” or taxes paid could be an obligation that could be transferred tax free in their estate.

The wealthy will have an incentive to hire people, since more employment improves the economy, creates more spending by the public and increases tax revenue and thus increases the chance of them being repaid. If we want the support of the wealthy they cannot be seen as the only solution to the problem or a scapegoat. If they have a stake in solving the problem and it’s seen as economically and patriotically advantageous, they will be more inclined to cooperate in the solution. Something new is needed. If nothing new is tried, we will continue to have the same divisions in our society and the same stalemate in reaching a solution.

Murray Deutchman

Items at the grocery store seem to be shrinking in size

To the editor:

Wise shoppers I am sure have taken notice of this, however for those who have not, do some checking.

Bread slices seem smaller and have very little body. Coffee, butter, canned goods, ice cream, etc., all seem smaller than the normal weights we were used to seeing. Along with that, the prices have not been reduced; they have increased.

I wish I could offer some retaliatory measures, but stores know we need their products. If anyone has an answer about how to react to this, please inform me.

Maybe we should celebrate a “no grocery shopping day.”

Tom Wilhelm

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