Los Angeles Times

Who should pay to close the debt


Re “Why we can’t put a dent in our $31-trillion debt,” Opinion, March 9

Jackie Calmes makes some good points about the endless avoidance, dishonesty and hypocrisy in all the grandstand­ing about the national debt.

However, what she misses is that since the 1980s, we have adopted a much more regressive tax structure that has enabled vast wealth accumulati­on at the top.

The top federal income tax bracket was 91% under President Eisenhower, but since then nearly every Republican president has rewarded their rich donors with tax cuts. Now, the top bracket is only 37%, but multiple loopholes can bring that down even further — sometimes even wiping out a tax bill completely.

In addition to increased income taxes and closed loopholes, we need higher taxes on stock buybacks, carried interest, automated stock trades and the obscene wealth that the top 1% has so unfairly accumulate­d over the decades.

Can we also finally begin auditing and scaling down our ruinous and absurd military budget, which is now pushing $1 trillion per year?

If we face the gross inequities of our tax and budgetary policies, we can secure and even expand

Medicare and Social Security. William Winburn Rancho Palos Verdes

The Republican­s have been particular­ly hypocritic­al and irresponsi­ble in their actions on the debt. As a fiscal conservati­ve, I saw this underscore­d by the first bill the Republican majority advanced in the new Congress: rescinding an $80billion appropriat­ion for the IRS to hire more agents and modernize the tax collection apparatus.

Taxes need to be collected to fund government operations. And taxes are not being processed quickly enough to offset spending. How much sense does that make?

The Republican­s not only refuse to raise taxes to fund the government; they want to defund the government by making sure our taxes aren’t collected.

Frank Albers

Seal Beach

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