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We’ve already gone over the ‘fiscal cliff’

Updated: December 13, 2012 10:19AM

We’ve already gone over the ‘fiscal cliff’ — and hurtling downward in a hurry

I am sure that by now that everyone has heard the term ”fiscal cliff.” It means that come Jan. 1, 2012, the Bush tax cuts will expire, the capital gains tax will go from 15 to 20 percent, the dividend tax will go from 15 percent to ordinary wage rates, the marriage penalty fix will be eliminated, and the earned income credit eliminated. Hence the term going over the “fiscal cliff.”

The truth is that we went over the fiscal cliff in 2001 and 2003, when Congress passed the Bush tax cuts while failing to cut spending and the country at war. In December 2010, President Obama compromised with Republicans and extended the tax cuts for two additional years. It was the first time in our long history that Congress had cut taxes with the country in two wars. The reason is obvious: Wars are expensive, and more — not less — revenues are required to pay for high cost of war.

When the first of the Bush tax cuts went into effect, the debt was about $6 trillion — today it is $16.3 trillion, and the deficit for 2012 is over $1 trillion. So with tax cuts and extensions designed to boost the economy and create jobs, the debt has risen by $10 trillion, and it is costing the U.S. $250 billion a year in interest on the debt. How can this be?

One of the reasons is that Congress continues to cut taxes but refuses to cut spending, military, Social Security/Medicare, welfare and interest on the debt account for more than 85 percent of all government spending. Republicans for the most part refuse to cut the bloated military, budget and Democrats resist reform of Social Security/Medicare and welfare.

So until Congress agrees to cut the military budget and reform Social Security/Medicare and sections of welfare, the debt will continue to soar and deficits will remain near or above $1 trillion every year. Tax cuts without spending cuts is a sure-fire recipe for fiscal disaster.

We are not nearing the edge of the fiscal cliff. We went over the cliff a long time ago and are about to crash, unless the dunderheads in Washington stop the insane practice of cutting taxes but not spending with the country at war.

Victor Darst

West Dundee

Oberweis can accomplish something, by reaching across aisle to Dems

Thank goodness Republican Jim Oberweis finally won an election. If had lost he might have been labeled as the new Lar “America First” Daly — a dubious distinction.

Still, in a printed interview on Nov. 8, Oberweis said his victory was bittersweet, and he was quoted as saying “it will be very difficult to accomplish anything in Springfield.” Oberweis’ party is in the minority in the Illinois Senate.

Maybe Oberweis doesn’t know he can reach across the proverbial aisle and seek to work with his opposition to develop programs to benefit not only his constituency, but all Illinois residents. Only time will tell.

Bernard Biernacki


Dennis Hastert doesn’t like Affordable Care Act, but his health care is at our expense

Dennis Hastert, former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and a lifelong Republican, wrote (Viewpoint, Oct. 31) after an absence of many moons about protecting Medicare.

There are many subjects that the former speaker could inform us of, such as his expressway land deal and his lobby work for faraway Turkey — I have a strong family tie to that Fata Morgana at the Bosphorus. But I am pleased that he has taken a timely interest in our health system.

I know a little about Medicare, and I have recently reduced my participation in it through use of the Affordable Care Act. I’ll spare you the details of my personal health planning, but more attention should be paid to this already profitable ACA. Anyone who wants to save money should read up on it. Disregard the controversy; “Obamacare” is here now and helping people!

Hastert’s article comes from a political party of sworn enemies of public health. It should be noted that the former speaker enjoys a fine medical plan at our expense — a single-payer plan.

John Heinz


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