Give and Take on the Deficit

The Opinion page article "Sacrifice: the Key to Deficit Reduction," July 29, is right on target. If real spending (after inflation) were held constant, and real growth were reasonable, the deficit soon would be eliminated. The reason is that if the economy grows, tax receipts grow. Unfortunately, real expenses have not been held constant and so the deficit has grown.

The Republicans maintain, and there is considerable evidence for their position, that increasing income-tax rates slows down the economy and decreasing them quickens it. With constant tax rates, tax receipts will increase or decrease roughly in proportion to the economy. The obvious solution to the deficit problem is to slow or stop the growth of expenditures, and perhaps even reduce tax rates.

Neither of these things is included in the deficit-reduction bill, and the deficit will not be eliminated by it, or even reduced in absolute terms. Richard M. Sills, Niskayuna, N.Y.

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