December 5, 2012

Letters to the Editor: Fiscal cliff: Never the twain shall meet

The “fiscal cliff” is a Democratic strategy to make Republicans violate their principles. Bush’s pledge “read my lips – no new taxes” and then his reversal are being repeated. Violation of tax pledges will be disaster for Republicans in 2014. That is why Obama is “campaigning” for it.

Congress doesn’t have sufficient time for complex agreements before Jan. 1. Let the IRS issue 2013 income tax withholding tables so employers can accurately issue paychecks in January.

Obama must recommend a balanced approach – spending cuts, entitlement reforms and “revenue increases.”

Raising rates will send the economy into a recession and Republicans cannot agree to it. Democratic support for cutting expenses and reforming entitlements is not there, so Clinton tax rates should return on Jan. 1 with automatic expense reductions.

When Obama can present a plan that Democrats support, Republicans will be happy to work with him to implement a plan for getting spending and debt under control through expense cuts, entitlement reforms and revenue increases.

Until he can present a balanced long-term plan, Republicans should not agree to any revenue changes.

Republicans are going to lose in the media no matter what, so they should at least keep their principles intact. As the song says, “You’ve got stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything.”

They should not agree to any income tax rate increases and should not agree to revenue increases without expense cuts and entitlement reforms.

Going over the cliff will result in some expense cuts and will also let Americans know that Bush tax cuts were for everybody – not just the rich.

Let’s go over the cliff and try to get a deal that is “balanced” and consistent with key beliefs of the Republican Party – let’s stand for something!

James Solley

Falmouth

So here we are again, another manufactured crisis by the Republicans in Congress holding the rest of America hostage over a 4 percent rise in taxes on the wealthy.

Sixty percent of Americans polled believe the rich can pay a little more to help their country, which has been so good to them.

Well, I am asserting that the 1 percent owe the rest of America’s taxpayers for borrowing the money to prop up the 1 percent’s too-big-to-fail banks.

Where is the patriotism, Wall Street? Wall Street was happy to take our money when the house of cards it created by playing fast and loose with other people’s money came crashing down.

Bankers came to Washington from near and far, hats in hand, begging to be saved from themselves. And we, the 99 percent, obliged.

Just four short years later, the 1 percent who have enjoyed a 77 percent increase in corporate profits over the last four years seem to have forgotten our charity. Well, brothers and sisters, they just can’t spare another dime!

So now we have a debt left over from money borrowed for the Iraq war and the first six years of the Afghanistan war so the Bush administration could make sure the 1 percent got their tax cuts. So which flag do Republicans in Congress salute: red, white and blue, or green?

The 99 percent is presenting the 1 percent with a bill for services rendered in their time of need. We need to stand behind the president so he can make sure those who benefit most from America pay their fair share.

I want to live in a country governed by the 100 percent, not the 1 percent.

George Harlan

Old Orchard Beach

Pro-Palestine but fed up with just about everybody


I’m fed up with Americans (champions of democracy and the rights of the oppressed in the world) espousing unwavering support for Israel, remaining quiet about the construction of an apartheid wall, spending hundreds of millions of dollars to support the Israeli military machine and somehow thinking we can also be peace-makers in the region.

I’m fed up with Israelis continuing to annex Palestinian land and branding Palestinians as terrorists when they lash out because they can no longer stand the bullying, and with Palestinians for exclaiming, “Death to Israel,” and firing ever more deadly rockets indiscriminately into Israeli neighborhoods.

Same with the fiscal cliff here at home.

I’m fed up with Republicans, who got us into two wars, asked for no American sacrifice and insisted on tax cuts at the same time. (What were they thinking would happen? And then along came a recession!)

And with Democrats who, in the midst of a recession, drive through a laudable health care reform program (yet with little immediate cost containment), then doggedly continue to support benefit programs at levels that are unaffordable in post-recession America.

I’m a Democrat. But above all, I expect America’s elected leaders to very soon bring forth a compromise in the form of a dramatically new program of revenue generation and expenditures for the years ahead. Otherwise, the new world we find ourselves in will roll over us.

I’m also pro-Palestine (not anti-Israel). But above all, I expect Palestinians to give up guerrilla tactics and agree to Israel’s existence, and I expect Israel to abandon its decades-long program of land expansion and Palestinian persecution. Otherwise, the new world they find themselves in will roll over them.

Nate Bowditch

Westport Island

Sen. Collins continues to practice partisanship

My hope that Sen. Susan Collins would put the people of Maine before party politics was dashed again when she appeared with Sen. Bob Corker to cast her own stone at U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice.

Even Joe Lieberman was unable to bring himself to join with his Republican friends in this open display of partisan politics.

It is striking that Sen. Collins had no such problem with the nomination of Condoleezza Rice for the same position after she helped lead us into the Iraq war by spreading intentional misinformation about Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction.

Olympia Snowe may be leaving because she can no longer tolerate the lack of partisanship, but Sen. Collins appears to have no such problem.

Tom Mikulka

Cape Elizabeth

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