Five views on fiscal cliff


Obama’s power grab

The three branches of U.S. government—legislative, judicial, and executive—carry out governmental power and functions.

Legislative Branch

Article I of the Constitution establishes the legislative or law making branch of government. It has a two-branch Congress—the Senate and the House of Representatives—and agencies that support Congress.

Judicial Branch

Courts decide arguments about the meaning of laws and how they are applied. They also decide if laws violate the Constitution—this is known as judicial review, and it is how federal courts provide checks and balances on the legislative and executive branches.

Executive Branch

The executive branch of the government is responsible for enforcing the laws of the land. The president, vice president, department heads (cabinet members), and heads of independent agencies carry out this mission.

The above is exactly how the founding fathers and framers laid out our constitution. Now we have Obama who claims to be a Constitution professor wants to violate the powers of the three branches in his first “Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi-like” attempt to make himself a dictator. In a move that can be called nothing less than blackmail, Obama demonstrated on Wednesday Dec. 5, 2012, just how partisan and how much of a power grabber he is. He indicated that if he were not given unlimited powers to raise the debt ceiling, apart from Congressional approval, that he might just veto his own tax hike proposal should it come to his desk.

Obama’s own proposal could not pass either the House or the Senate, but apparently he wants to be kingpin of debt and demand the power, given to Congress in Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, and go from $16 trillion to “infinity and beyond!”

If Congress allows current laws signed by President Barack Obama to stand and follows the fiscal path they have set for the next decade, federal tax revenues will rise to a record level as a percentage GDP, according to the Congressional Budget Office, but annual federal spending will also increase by 55 percent and continuous deficits will require Congress to lift the federal debt limit by another $4.25 trillion even as the government rakes in unprecedented tax revenue.

Under the so-called “fiscal cliff” scenario, in which all of the Bush tax cuts are allowed to expire and “sequestration” of some anticipated federal spending takes place, the federal government still will not balance its budget.

Congress must stand up to him and keep him in check or it will most certainly spell the end for the U.S. economy and possibly the United States of America as well. During this lame duck session, he is showing the citizens of this country what we are in store for after he is inaugurated in January 2013.

Bob Cowan, Miami

Raise the tax rate

Since the general election all we hear coming out of the nation’s capital is the “fiscal cliff.” The Republicans and Democrats are blaming each other for this fiscal disaster. But who is really the blame? It’s the electorate. We have been electing members of Congress who have been promising us cake and then allowing us to eat it, too.

President Clinton left office with the nation in good fiscal shape. When George W. Bush became president, the dot-com bubble burst. Instead of increasing spending to stimulate the nation’s economy, President Bush proposed reducing income rates. The Congress went along. Then there was 9/11. The nation went into recession. President Bush proposed more reductions to the income tax rates and Congress went along. Next were the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq paid with borrowed money.

One would think that with all this personal stimulus given to the American people, businesses will be hiring and wages would be going up, but that did not happen. Businesses were finding other ways to further lower costs but shipping manufacturing to China and buying their retail goods from China.

Then more disaster to the nation’s economy happened. The housing bubble burst, the nation’s financial system collapsed due to too many bad mortgages, and Wall Street scammed America. Over 5 million jobs were lost. During the last days of the George W. Bush administration and the beginning of President Obama’s administration, the nation’s financial system was spared further meltdown. The American people threw up the cake they ate.

I believe income tax rates need to go back to rates under President Clinton. President Obama and Congress must find ways to stimulate economy by rebuilding infrastructure and to invest in research and development for new technology. President Obama and Congress must reduce military spending and find ways to make government more efficient.

President Obama and Congress need to solve the immigration and undocumented persons problems. The United States needs all the workers it could get to ensure the social safety net for all.

One last item that must be understood, the United States is not only a service provider nation, it is, also, a manufacturing nation. And don’t forget that.

Irving Gerson, Miami

Cut politicians’ perks

There is much talk about the “fiscal cliff” that is looming for the taxpayers. The people, in Congress, The Senate, all the way down to the President, say they are concerned, and are trying g to fix it, to come to an agreement.

These people are supposed to be leaders, looking out for, and setting examples for the people. Lead by example, is honorably, this would be a new concept to those people in Washington.

Want to fix the budget, the fiscal cliff, and maintain it? Tell those elected officials — city, county, state, federal — the first to get cuts are themselves. You could start with the perks, the pensions, the expense accounts, the trips, the salaries, etc. The budget, the fiscal cliff, the economy, taxes, would be fixed, in about a hour, with a surplus. But when you do not have to worry about your paycheck, your pension, your perks, etc., why worry, and that is exactly what happens time after time. It was once written, a government for the people, by the people, can anyone remember when it was rewritten? Is it not time that we return the country to the people, and hold all accountable? May God bless America again?

Anthony F. Garcia Sr., Miami

A CPA’s suggestion

I have been reading recent editorials by the Herald. This is my suggestion:

Republicans lost the presidential election, consequently they must agree to some increased revenues, but with these conditions:

1. Timing of revenue increases and expenditure decreases must be symmetrical, i.e. at the same time.

2. Ratio of $1 of revenue increases to $5 of expenditures decreases from day one. If we increase revenues $1 trillion, then expenditures must be decreased $5 trillion at the same time over the 10 year period suggested. No back loading of expenditure decreases.

3. Timing must be the same for revenues and expenditures. To give time to make the deal work, we should start on July 1, 2013, for the increase in taxes and the reductions of expenditures. This will accomplish the timing issue requirement and give business and people time to adjust to minimize the effects.

4. Assign all of the revenue increases specifically to pay down the federal debt.

5. These suggestions are reasonable. There are others more stringent such as the Cato Institute which has a proposal to reduce expenditures by $1.2 trillion per year including eliminating completely several government depts., programs and agencies.

Alberto Vega, CPA, Miami

Washington paralysis

The fiscal cliff could and should be a non-issue but for the DC paralysis. Since those people can’t agree, I thought I’d offer some suggestions.

1. Eliminate the lid on the amount of money taxed for Social Security. If someone is working and fortunate enough to be above the current cap, there’s no reason why they can’t continue paying. When they retire they’ll reap a larger benefit too.

2. Have the federal government stop borrowing from the Social Security Trust Fund, or, if it must gradually stop that addiction, let it pay interest on the money borrowed. Social Security was never intended to be part of the federal budget nor Uncle Sam’s piggy bank.

3. Stop raising the age to collect Social Security. The unspoken assumption here is that there will be work for people in the additional year(s). We can see today that there’s a scarcity of jobs and the elderly are particularly affected and that Social Security is the only thing between them and being out in the cold.

4. Take money that’s now being used for war and let it be used as income to offset the expenses that trouble some in Congress so much.

5. Look for efficiencies in government. I bet there’s hardly an American alive that hasn’t experienced government inefficiency.

6. Get rid of tax loopholes. We’ve had a history of corporate welfare that, for some indefensible reason, has been put forward as entrepreneurship. The 47 percent of Americans that Mitt Romney identified are being miscast as “takers.” It’s an untrue and unfair characterization that blames the victim. Enough already!

There are lots more possibilities, but you get the picture. Sometimes the best way to solve a problem is to redefine it. Let’s stop looking at each other through a zero-sum lens and, instead, develop policies that will be fair, equitable and financial responsible. Unless we begin to focus on solution rather than casting blame, we’re likely to be in this mess for a long time.

Robert F. Tropp, Plantation

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