Ron Bancroft described a series of debt reduction proposals in his Nov. 23 column (“Cutting deficit will mean hard decisions that can’t be put off”), and suggested that we all needed to stop whining and find a solution.

Here’s a suggestion that’s much simpler, and in the end cheaper for all of us, than implementing all of those difficult changes and cuts: Raise everybody’s taxes.

Raise taxes of the working poor by the tiniest amount, raise taxes on the richest people by a very large amount, and raise taxes on the rest of us according to our real income (including money that the richest now hide in capital gains).

There. No rewriting of tax laws, figuring out what to do with the bodies of those who die because their benefits were cut, figuring out how to keep manual laborers working until they’re 80, though their bodies are well worn at 50, agonizing over whether the global debt market will collapse.

And the beauty of it is, we independent, self-reliant Americans will then be paying for our own best-in-the-world lifestyle, rather than borrowing from the Chinese to pay for it.

Patricia Garrett

Portland

 

The high national debt has been riling most Republican congressmen for the past year. They have been saying, “We cannot afford it,” whatever “it” is that the people need, for example. an extension of unemployment benefits.

The irony is that now they have an opportunity to reduce the debt significantly by cutting most of the expenditures we really do not need, such as NASA, most of the Navy, many of the large planes of the Air Force, the large Pentagon and high-ranking military officers.

The far flung military bases have served their purpose and are no longer needed, for they are sorely resented by their neighbors.

The current military activities in Iraq and Afghanistan must be supported until 2014 when all troops are supposed to be home, the wars are over and only terrorists remain to be hunted by the cyber network.

Philip Thompson

Portland

 

Voodoo economics are back. Former President George H.W. Bush coined that phrase 30 years ago to describe Ronald Reagan’s massive tax cuts.

Giving all that money to the rich was supposed to trigger new investments, jobs and prosperity. It was called the trickle-down theory.

Today Republican and tea party leaders are still insisting that big tax cuts for the very rich will jump-start the economy. Republicans say granting them will improve our economy and lower the deficit.

If this were true, why haven’t we seen more jobs and a stronger economy already? The rich have been getting the very same tax cuts for the last 10 years.

Our deficit is a big problem. President Obama has added to it, but it was George W. Bush who created most of our recent debt.

The unfunded war in Iraq contributed the most to our deficit; but these tax cuts for the rich have added $700 billion in debt since they were instituted.

Obama and the Democrats also say that we need tax cuts, but only for people making less than $250,000 a year. Republicans have refused to vote for a plan that doesn’t include the very rich.

At the other end of the spectrum, Democrats want to extend unemployment benefits for jobless families.

But, even as the holidays draw near, Republicans continue to vote against additional unemployment benefits because, they say, to do so will raise the deficit.

According to Rep. John Boehner and Sen. Mitch McConnell, it’s OK to increase the deficit if it’s for the rich, but it’s not OK to increase the deficit for out-of-work families?

In the spirit of the season, let’s ask ourselves: What would Jesus do? Probably not “give more to the rich and nothing to those in need.”

Dave Garrity

Portland

 

Decidedly non-conservative billionaires like Ted Turner, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and Ben Cohen (of Ben & Jerry’s) are in the news, either pledging to give away huge chunks of their wealth to nonprofits, or telling President Obama they are not paying enough taxes.

Have we heard from any of the conservative aristocracy saying the same thing?

Where are flag-waving conservatives when it comes to showing patriotism by paying more taxes during these recession-beaten, war-weary years?

All we hear from the GOP is “Cut taxes! More for me!” Is that how you sacrifice during wartime?

Is the rallying cry about tax cuts merely for lack of other ideas? Is it peer pressure (more than half our people in Congress are millionaires)? Is it sheer selfishness?

We need to get back to at least the tax levels of the Clinton administration (an administration with the greatest record of job growth, by the way). I don’t recall much complaining then, and the highest marginal tax rate during those years was nearly 5 percent higher than it is now.

I’ll close with a public thank-you to Jim Wellehan, owner of Lamey-Wellehan Shoes and member of the Maine Small Business Coalition, for publicly stating his opposition to continuing the Bush tax cuts for America’s wealthiest.

Mr. Wellehan said the break would (mostly) benefit wealthy owners of hedge funds and law firms. I am not aware of Mr. Wellehan’s political leanings, and once upon a time, it would have not mattered a bit, nor said anything about the man.

In these times, however, I will say that if Mr. Wellehan is a registered Republican, I stand guilty of stereotyping, and will make my donation to this year’s Bruce Roberts Toy Fund in his name.

Lorry Fleming

Bath

 

Why aren’t GOP senators supporting arms treaty?

 

One of the few issues upon which most responsible politicians agree is the need to continue to work with the Russians to reduce our nuclear arsenals.

Last week Sen. Richard Lugar stood alone to scold his fellow Republican senators on their unwillingness to support the ratification of the latest nuclear disarmament treaty negotiated by the Obama administration, the one called New START.

On such an issue of national security, the silence from our two senators is deafening.

Thomas Mikulka

Cape Elizabeth