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I listened to the very interesting discussion with Pete Domenici and Alice Rivlin and enjoyed the civility of it all. Perhaps I missed it but do not recall hearing anything on the following:
The current debt problems are the result of the Bush tax cuts, two wars and the Medicare Rx legislation, all on borrowed money. Yet to bring the budget into balance they, like the conservatives, point to "entitlement" reductions. Let me remind everyone, since they didn't do it, Social Security and Medicare are funded separately through payroll deductions not the income tax. And in the case of Social Security there is over $2 trillion in the trust fund. Both might need reform in the future but the money going into the programs is a completely separate revenue stream and should not be used for any general budget items.
Nor did I hear any talk of raising revenue to pay for a war. My view is that war should be declared in an act of Congress and that a special tax imposed to pay for it. An excise tax should be imposed on all suppliers of war material to control profiteering.
Furthermore it has been known for a long time that anti-government forces are more than happy to have huge deficits and debt because they can then cast blame onto social safety net programs, Social Security and Medicare while they continue to push for excessive spending on the military. How do the Senator and Ms Rivlin hope to compromise with the likes of Grover Norquist and the so-called Tea Party people who populate Congress? I wish them well but fear that an Obama victory will continue the behavior of congress in blocking all of his efforts, and a Romney victory will further erode the wellbeing of hard working citizens. Thank you.