Letters

Tax cuts without spending cuts: a positive equation?

Regarding the Sept. 29 article, "Bush's latest tax cuts seal legacy": You don't cut taxes when military spending is increasing and millions of Americans are poor, homeless, malnourished, or without the basic necessities of life. The best way to stimulate the economy is not from the top down, but from the bottom up, that is, by creating more jobs here at home and paying people a living wage - in short, by increasing the purchasing power of the masses.

Bush and the Republicans seem to have only one solution to our economic woes: cutting taxes for the rich; increasing military spending; and, when the inevitable deficit ensues, balancing the budget on the backs of the poor.
Charles Edelman
Los Angeles

Regarding your Sept. 28 editorial, "Latest Tax Cuts Are Not a Wash": I admire the common-sense forthrightness of your closing comments about the need to "pay" for tax cuts by cutting spending.

Recommended: Could you pass a US citizenship test?

I live in a state where tax shifts are often called tax cuts and budgets have recurring structural deficits. I once suggested to a governor's handler that a true tax cut had to be accompanied by an equal and opposite spending cut. He looked at me as if I were from Pluto, and I was never invited to any political strategy parties.
Tim Haering
Madison, Wis.

While I agree that cutting spending is always good, I fail to see why cutting spending is a prerequisite for letting people keep more of what they earn. Cutting taxes for individuals means they spend more, save more, and invest more. Cutting taxes for business means they expand, buy new equipment, hire more workers, or pay the same workers more.

In the zero-sum world of the deficit hawks, it would appear that cutting taxes equals cutting revenue. In the real world, tax cuts increase economic activity.

Despite media reports that the $422 billion deficit projected by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 is a record, it is not a record either in terms of inflation-adjusted dollars or as a percentage of gross domestic product. Adjusted for inflation, the deficit was significantly higher in 1943, the last time we fought a world war. Today, we are also fighting a world war - the war on terror.
Daniel John Sobieski
Chicago

$87 billion bill includes extras

Regarding the Sept. 30 article, "US bases in Iraq: sticky politics, hard math": I am so grateful for finally seeing in print what concerned me during Senate hearings on the $87 billion military appropriation "for our troops." Of course we all want to support our troops, but for Congress to pass the $87 billion, they had to accept implausible and little-publicized parts of the total budget - for example, the "enduring" bases in Iraq, and airfields in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
Lewis B. Smith
Boise, Idaho

Financial responsibility, step by step

Regarding the Sept. 27 article " 'Ownership society': why the US can't buy in": I think the key to Bush's plans for individual responsibility is the freedom offered to individuals to participate or not to participate. Those who are willing and able should be allowed to manage their own funds; those who do not feel capable and are not willing to learn and take the risk, should be able to continue with the current programs.

The fact that most of us will not or cannot invest responsibly should not penalize those who can. Who knows, the success of those who do invest their own funds may inspire others to become more financially responsible.
Claire Smith
Dallas

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number.

Any letter accepted will appear in print and on www.csmonitor.com .

Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to Letters.

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