Make us your home page
Letters to the Editor

Monday letters: Reject the regressive value-added tax

A tax to battle our debt | Sept. 16, commentary

Reject regressive value-added tax

Former congressman Sam M. Gibbons recommends a value-added tax to overcome our rather large national debt. But like Steve Forbes' flat tax and the phony Fair Tax proposals, he is calling for a regressive tax.

We are in an age in which the top 1 percent has prospered due to our inane trade policies. And all these innovative frauds do is to pass the tax burden on to the struggling middle and lower classes.

As a side effect, a VAT would increase consumer prices without increasing consumer income. Therefore it would have a negative effect on economic recovery. On the other hand, with the top 1 percent of the population taking home 24 percent of the income, a progressive tax is obviously better able to raise more money with less damage to the economy.

A comparison of the top marginal tax rate since 1947 (86.45 percent that year, 35 percent this year) with overall real growth in GDP (constant dollars) does not show a consistent improvement when tax rates for the super rich rise or fall. And these days the super rich are doing fine thank you. They are not in need of tax breaks.

Moreover, it is pretty clear that the shift of most national wealth to the top is not based on merit, but on globalization. Globalization has also done our industrial base more damage than the combined bomber offensive did to Germany's industrial base in World War II.

Since our economic policies have had the effect of concentrating the wealth in the hands of the few, that's where the deficit-reducing taxes belong. Trying to correct the problem with regressive taxes will kill the economy and soon have the appearance of trying to get blood from a turnip.

Patrick A. Condray, Crystal River

A tax to battle our debt | Sept. 16, commentary

What about the spending?

Thank you, Sam Gibbons, for offering your insightful ideas for fixing the enormous national debt that your 34 years of fiscal irresponsibility as a member of Congress has helped create. I understand completely your interest "to stop finger pointing as to who did what to cause these structural deficits." The finger would obviously point to you.

I know, I am just an average ignorant citizen who just doesn't understand how important and necessary it is to continue spending more than is taken in, year, after year, after year … primarily because, well, your constituents wanted stuff. Who cares if we could afford it?

Nowhere in your proposed solution to reduce and eliminate the debt do you suggest that the members of Congress act more responsibly by reining in the systemic deficit spending that has created the mess.

Any suggestion that this value-added tax would be "temporary" and "easy to terminate when we get the job done" ignores the inherent nature of politics. Unless your deficit reduction proposal includes a plan in equal measure to control the spending by the members of Congress, any value-added tax you propose will never go away, nor will the enormous national debt.

Dave Loeffert, Dunedin

A tax to battle our debt | Sept. 16, commentary

Not so simple

With all due respect to Sam Gibbons, I believe he has lost it! He got it right in his recent Times column when he said: "Our structural deficits are completely unsustainable and pose a true national security challenge." But his recommended "simple," "temporary," and "easy to implement" proposal is anything but!

I seriously doubt that anyone, after studying and re-reading his rambling column for hours, could explain it in lucid terms to anyone else.

Let's start by reducing government spending, including defense spending that doesn't make sense, congressional salaries and perks, and government retiree pensions. And let's make some tough decisions in fixing Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, beginning with a real crackdown on fraud.

Also, a properly structured "Fair Tax," to replace an unbelievably flawed income tax, would bring in enough extra money from our currently untaxed "underground" and "criminal" economies to pay off the debt with real fairness!

Frank Yanacek, Sun City Center

The rich don't need the help | Sept. 16, letter

Protect the golden goose

The letter writer apparently believes, as does President Barack Obama, that the purpose of income taxes is to redistribute income rather than to run the government. One would get the impression that lower income wage earners are supporting the high income earners, and this is simply not true. In fact, the top 25 percent of all wage earners pay 83 percent of all federal income taxes with the top 1 percent paying an incredibly high 35 percent. The bottom 50 percent of wage earners pay only 4 percent.

Tax brackets range from 10 percent all the way up to 35 percent. In fact, about 47 percent of citizens paid no federal income taxes at all for 2009 because their incomes were too low, or they qualified for enough credits, deductions and exemptions to eliminate their liability.

There are a number of other issues in the Obama tax proposal that will impact everyone — not just the rich. These issues include raising the taxes on dividends (which are already taxed as corporate profits), on capital gains, and curtailing the deduction for business interest expense, which will hurt small businesses. Plus, as the Republicans and some Democrats are saying, with the current economic crisis this is not the time to raise taxes.

What the writer and other Democrats don't seem to realize is that the high income tax earners already pay more than their share. We must be careful we don't kill the golden goose.

James Pirretti, St. Petersburg

The tea party

Tired of the GOP

All of the Republican leaders who are still having trouble with the tea party victories need to realize there are registered voters who are tired of their rhetoric. As we saw last Tuesday, this is happening nationwide, not just in Florida.

We are tired of the agenda being decided by the eight or 10 leaders of the Republican Party. The campaign promises always point in one direction and then stupid laws come out of Tallahassee that seem to do nothing but help create money for them to spend. This red light camera law and the seat belt law are examples of this. Our traffic law enforcement already seems to be more about generating revenue than it is about safety, and these things just made it worse.

In case you Republican leaders don't get the picture, we are tired of this and you just had 600,000 voters abandon your choice for office. And if things don't change, you are next! The movement is nationwide. It's the message that we voted for, not the messenger. And it's not going away.

Sammy Mizell, Gibsonton

The 2012 election

Frightening prospects

The outlook for 2012 is absolutely scary! Since the Republicans are losing their power to Sarah Palin and the tea party, what's in store for us in 2012 is a monstrosity in politics.

Dare we think the tea party may prevail and we will have Sarah Palin to contend with? The thought is not comforting.

President Barack Obama has to get on the ball and change the voters' thinking before that fateful day in the next presidential go-around or we will be forever lost. We cannot afford to lose faith in the Democratic approach to keeping us on an even keel.

Judith M. Stevens, Clearwater

Monday letters: Reject the regressive value-added tax 09/19/10 [Last modified: Sunday, September 19, 2010 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours