Printed letters, October 2, 2012

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Bill Marvel’s Tuesday letter – “National debt will eventually be too heavy for the economy” – fatuously accuses columnist Jim Spehar of accurately chronicling Mesa County’s extensive dependence on public sector jobs while “mysteriously ignoring the $16 trillion national debt government has run up in part to pay for them”.

Marvel is off-base for two reasons.  First, while almost half of the jobs created by the top 25 employers in Mesa County are public sector jobs, only 12.5% of those are attributable to the federal government (which has accrued the $16 trillion debt).  The rest are state, county, and local government-created jobs – paid for by local taxpayers. 

Second, little of our $16 trillion federal debt was “run up to pay for” public sector jobs.  President’s Reagan and Bush I doubled the national debt by cutting taxes for the already wealthiest while exorbitantly increasing military spending.  President George Bush inherited a “surplus”, then increased the debt another 50% by again cutting taxes for the already wealthy, waging two unfunded wars, and failing to pay for Medicare Part D.

Thus, while equalizing expenditures with revenue should indeed “be the norm” (as it was under Democratic President Bill Clinton), Republican “FCINOs” (Fiscal Conservatives In Name Only) created virtually all of our current $16 trillion debt (with annual interest payments approaching $400 billion) – either directly (as under Reagan and the Bushes) or indirectly (leaving the mess resulting from of two wars, gratuitous tax cuts, and failed economic policies for President Obama to clean-up).

Thus, since 1980, Republican FCINOs have routinely spent far more than they took in – expecting the fantasy of “VooDoo Economics” and “trickle-down” economic growth to make-up the difference (which is exactly what Romney-Ryan would also do.)

Readers interested in better understanding these complex issues should try the “Federal Budget Challenge” exercise at http://federal.budgetchallenge.org/respondents/summary#.

                Bill Hugenberg

Tuesday’s mail—which included a colorful item from Americans for Tax Reform (“ATR”), Grover Norquist’s extremist anti-tax group that sponsors the Taxpayers Protection Pledge and advocates for regressive “flat taxes”, Paul Didier’s letter in Thursday’s Sentinel – “Signing Taxpayer Protection Pledge verges on sedition”, and R.M. Sherman’s simplistic Tuesday response—“Why is it easy to produce IDs for food stamps, but not to vote”, all aptly focus attention what’s wrong with Republicans.
By signing the “pledge”, Tea Party Republicans (including Paul Ryan and Scott Tipton) subordinated their constitutional oath of office to fiscal irresponsibility.  It was Norquist who equated “closing tax loopholes” to “tax increases”, thereby scuttling the Simpson-Bowles Commission—the last bipartisan effort to responsibly address the national debt.

Having deliberately prolonged the debt crisis for partisan gain, ATR (and, apparently, Sherman) falsely blames President Obama for tneir own handiwork.

Republicans (Ronald Reagan and both Bushes) “served their constituents” by preaching “fiscal conservatism”, but “neglected the common sense elements of” fiscal responsibility and handed President Obama a $10+ trillion national debt plus “structural deficits” (two wars, two tax cuts, TARP, Medicare Part D, and an urgent need for a “stimulus” to preclude total economic collapse) that have increased it to $16 trillion.

Sherman’s dubious “common sense” is also revealed in his distortion of the “voter ID” issue.  Voting is a constitutional right guaranteed to all citizens – and the Constitution makes no reference to “identification”.  While the Constitution does empower states to “prescribe” the time, place, and manner of elections, they are also expressly subject to regulation by Congress – which has prohibited discriminatory barriers to voting.

Thus, even if it is a “no brainer” for most of us to produce the required identification, the right to vote is guaranteed to all citizens equally – including those who can’t.

                Bill Hugenberg



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