Letter: Preach this, not doom
Our house, while not in order, is not a house of cards (Andrew Maggard, "An economic house of cards," Oct. 11 Readers Write). A lot of wind is wasted on regulation, yet specifically what regulation does he suggest we eliminate and how much will it save by doing so? What will it cost?
Regulations are put in place to control and protect. Business and industry proved they could not regulate themselves, so someone had to. Drugs, food, senior care, financial institutions, even toys have killed or maimed. When profit is weighed against human suffering, profit often wins. Penn State’s $80 million in football profits versus the young boys comes to mind. Some regulations may be outdated or excessive and need visiting, but without details rather than page counts, is just wind.
Unfunded liabilities … $120 trillion, really? Numbers I find are under a hundred but O.K., still too big a number to wrap the average mind around. So please let me rephrase it. Social Security, Medicare, military pensions and benefits, Civil Service pensions and benefits, Department of Defense retiree health care fund are just to name a few of the biggest that cost more than we are bringing in. Say our debt is 50 percent of GDP. While the highest in decades, it still pales to 120 percent of GDP, which is where we were after WWII. In the next half century or more, we had the greatest growth in history.
The point is debt can be paid and is not a certain indicator of doom. While people may feel they are paying more taxes than ever, our effective rate (what you really pay) is lower. That said, cuts are a necessity if we want to reduce debt. Cutting taxes has created revenue and jobs in the past, not just in this century. Remember the jobless recovery of 2003? Tax savings were invested in the market, not the country. To a high degree, that is where profits are going now also. Moderate tax increases, matched with cuts to all (on and off) budget items, is necessary. Congress and the White House should volunteer pay and benefits cuts if for no other reason than if you create a mess, you should contribute to the cleanup. People who are insulated from a problem cannot, no matter what they say, relate to it. This is what can save our country. Preach this, not doom.