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Letter to the editor:

It’s time to tighten belts, stop whining

Tue, Apr 10, 2012 (2 a.m.)

Last Tuesday’s “Heard Elsewhere” from The New York Times, “A cruel Republican budget,” promotes a very irresponsible ethic, namely a “give me everything” attitude. The United States cannot continue in that way if we are to remain a successful long-term democracy.

While people in the middle class typically tend to believe in an altruistic, fair-play agenda, citizens are unable to continue living beyond their means indefinitely. I’m sorry, but if a person cannot afford good housing, medical care and enjoyable pastimes, then that person just should not have them.

Unfortunate circumstances dog some folks in every society, but humanity is unable to cope with subsequent potential overloads on our resources — it’s that simple. The U.S. economy has been very wealthy since the end of World War II and our lifestyle has reflected appropriate social and private indulgences as a result. But times have radically changed in this country and the world. If we continue to follow a fiscal course that emulates places such as Greece, Spain and even Great Britain, it is over for us as an affluent and leading nation.

We need to wake up and “bite the bullet” using some self discipline. It is not all sunshine, candy and fun times out there. Let’s be responsible adults when making economic and political choices for our own future’s sake. Paul Ryan’s proposal is a start, even if imperfect, and I do not care what political party he represents.

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Discussion: 55 comments so far…

  1. Great letter. There is no other right choice at the moment. The citizenry must come to terms with reality. The past several years have seen harsh reality visit us and many of our friends. Loss of jobs and housing have been the major problems. Savings and retirement accounts have taken major negative hits. Government has not frequently been helpful, with their policies often misaligned with personal needs. As a nation we must tackle the debt and spending crisis. This is essential to our national survival.

  2. We've been tighting our belts since 1980 and where has it gotten us? WE Need TO END THE SUBSIDIES to THE RICH AND POWERFUL. to paraphrase their spokesperson, they are the "moochers".

  3. Our problem is not solely that spending is too high. Our problem is not solely that taxes are too low. It is both.

    We cannot avoid the pain of solving the problem by postponing its solution. If we do, we only guarantee that the inevitable pain level will be closer to "10" than it is to "1".

    Our problem cannot be solved by 1% or even 50%. It has to be solved by 100% of us. Two ways to start. First, let all the tax cuts expire as scheduled at the end of 2012. Second, put the Bowles-Simpson Deficit Commission's recommendations to an up or down vote in both Houses of Congress this year. If there's any bipartisnship in Congress it seems to be that both parties want to avoid this. Therefore, it's probably good for our country.

  4. Why is it that Bowles Simpson received so much attention and the Agelideis commission received none ?

  5. If he doesn't get the chance - It's banana republic in America.

  6. Mr. Hutzler seems to be making some kind of overall assumption that fits everyone in that every single American is living way beyond their means. This is simply not true at all. I know for a fact that is not the case. I have neighbors who all live the frugal life and live within their means. Perhaps Mr. Hutzler lives in a neighborhood that is fraught with neo-conservatives that all have expensive cars who live in million dollar home and they work at McDonald's as fry cooks, but this a highly unrealistic outlook.

    When you get to the end of Mr. Hutzler's letter is when you are able to see clearly between the lines.

    It's only some kind of attempt to add some kind of validity to Rep. Ryan's (R-WI) budget plan that is more a view of a Tea/Republican Party hell world they want everyone to live in.

    Rep. Ryan is not the all knowing almighty budgetary guru wizard he portrays. He comes off more as a snake oil salesman; only a face that was selected to throw something preposterous out there. They chose a young Tea/Republican to present it. Somehow trying to give an impression that Tea/Republicans are not only elderly Caucasians. It's an attempt to make sure the brain dead young conservative politicians are of the same ilk.

    All that budget does, and it has been presented TWICE so far, resoundingly rejected both times, is a thinly veiled attempt to utterly destroy Medicare and any other entitlement programs that Tea/Republicans absolutely hate. The savings from destroying Medicare will only provide an inferior voucher program that does not take into consideration the rising costs of health care. The reason for this is so that those savings can be given as tax breaks to the filthy rich. Also, this new improved Ryan Budget Plan's main purpose is to extend the Bush Tax Cuts not for another ten years, BUT FOREVER. It seems to want to pound out a totally unfair flat tax system that only favors the rich, but makes everyone else pay for their excesses. It don't solve anything but cause misery. It's only purpose is to try to achieve a neo-conservative agenda.

    Wake up, people. These Tea/Republicans want to destroy all of us hard working people. Only the filthy rich matter to them. No one else.

    I hand Mr. Hutzler's horse puckey back to him with a shovel for disposal. Everyone else should too.

  7. Craig, how do we get people to consider that it's not what we can't afford but only what we have to afford? Some would like to do away with foreign aid while others want to cut social programs. We HAVE TO cut everything. Our governments need to provide only essential government services, not desired social services, not desired world-wide policing for every other nation that doesn't want to or cannot pay for their own defense. If you're living in a remote feudal village, U.S. intervention is not going to help your people skip generations of "evolution" to become a gentle democracy in 10 years or less. It is blatantly unconstitutional to tax and spend for unconstitutional "services."

  8. The overriding problem is that the Federal govt spends significantly more than it takes in. This deliberate corrupt policy is the fault of the collective body of politicians of both parties in DC. At the same time, the kids in the military die for policies that a sound independent government would not think to engage in.

    Meanwhile:

    The impotent and ignorant partisan lap dogs bark passionately, about non-issues, giving their political masters cover to ensure the Republic fails. So when you blame the other party for things your party is also doing just remember you are the equivalent of a toy poodle on Paris Hilton's lap. Yap yap yap

  9. Paul Ryan's budget leaves too many tax cuts and exemptions in place and is too harsh where SS and medicare are concerned.

    President Obama's budget raises taxes but continues to spend wildly and does nothing to address SS and Medicare problems.

    It amazes me that people on the left and the right sit and argue over whose vision is 'correct'. The real answer is 'neither'.

    Medicare and SS cannot be left as they are for future participants! DUH! The Bush tax cuts must be allowed to expire! DUH! The tax code must be simplified to rid ourselves of all the ways people avoid paying taxes! DUH! Everyone with an income of any type must pay income taxes! DUH! Spending must be cut and Taxes must be raised on all Americans to a point where we can pay for what we currently spend without borrowing or printing money. DUH!

    Show me the Party, the member of Congress, the President, the man or woman running for President that would agreee that all of the above must be done? You can't.... and therein lies our problem.

  10. The author suggests we tighten our belts and bite the bullet. Does he suggest the same for "too big to fail?" Why should common American citizens be held accountable for the wealth stripped out of the economy by greedy bastages gambling away on Wall St.? The same people who knowingly sold horrible deals to clients claiming they were great. Coporate welfare has a hold on our politicians and some of you seem fine with it, until we need to bail out the banks again. And it will happen because laws that protected us were stripped away.

    When there is a system of parity then the author might make that claim, tighten your belt, but as long as "too big to fail" exists, it will never happen.

  11. Re Freeman,

    Some taxes could be raised now, especially by simplifying the tax code and removing ways to avoid paying taxes. We'd have to be careful and monitor the effects on the economy but it could be done. Unless Conservatives and R's are willing to raise taxes, D's and Liberals will NEVER compromise their position. We cannot afford more stalemate.

    Michael

  12. Food for thought:

    When Bush and Cheney ran the show many had negative thoughts about the emergence of Neo Cons and their right wing agenda. Since Bush, over the last eight years, the GOP has moved so far right that Bush and Reagan now look like a moderates. What next?

  13. Look, I know facts are not popular with conservative, including the letter writer but here is what the Ryan plan would do:
    http://www.factcheck.org/2011/05/ryans-b...

    "Ryan says his plan would not increase the debt. In fact, under his plan the public debt would increase from $10 trillion in 2011 to $16 trillion in 2021, by his own figures. That's a slower increase than under President Barack Obama's budget, but the debt would still rise substantially.
    He says his plan would "bring deficits below $1 trillion immediately, ending the era of trillion-dollar deficits." True -- but just barely. The 2012 deficit in his plan would be $995 billion, just shy of $1 trillion. It would drop to about $700 billion by 2013 -- but that's what the president's budget projects, too.
    A GOP document defending Ryan's plan wrongly claims that the budget "does not cut Medicaid" and that it "spends more on Medicaid each year than it does the previous year." That's false. Ryan's own projections call for slashing Medicaid below this year's spending level for years to come.
    That GOP document says Democrats in Congress and Obama increased the deficit 259 percent since 2008, when it was $458 billion. That ignores the fact that President George Bush was in office in 2008. Obama inherited a $1.2 trillion deficit largely caused by declining revenues and Bush's response to the economic crisis..."
    And the fact check continues on from there. The Ryan budget is an abomination to any thinking, civilized person.

  14. Ryan's budget does not include any reductions in "defense" or war budgets. He wants to continue spending money for an Army that can handle two wars simultaneously. No belt tightening there.

    Mitt Romney wants to 'rebuild' the military. He tells us God wants America to lead the world, and Mitt knows that he will get a place in Heaven for his actions, because God's bills must be paid.

    Ryan's budget does NOT cut back on BORROWING so the coming deficit spending for the increases in defense spending will be paid for by education, medicare and social security. Iran, here come da'Crusaders.

    Whilst crushing the infidels, Crusaders will bankrupt their own country, allow their own people to die for lack of medical care and put them out in the street. The wealthy in turn, will get a tax reduction. No belt tightening there.

    The only belt tightening in the GOP budget will be those who pay the 25% income rates while those who 15% will get further tax write-offs.

  15. Mark,

    You make the point I raise quite nicely. The Ryan plan isn't very good. President Obama's plan isn't very good.

    We must demand better than this.

    Michael

  16. Conservatives make the mistake of thinking (but only when a Democrat is in the White House!) that deficits are bad. This is because they are functionally illiterate when it comes to economics.

  17. Perhaps Marky Traeger could learn how to read for context and watch videos that have been selectively edited critically? And pigs can fly...

  18. Re Freeman,

    I understand that we cannot raise taxes enough to reach a balanced budget in this economic environment. I am saying that a plan should emerge that contains modest tax hikes on everyone, a simplified tax code with fewer brackets that really does eliminate many of the ways businesses and individuals escape taxes and must also include spending cuts.

    If Americans are not shown that 'everyone' is going to have to pay for the government spending we do, by both higher taxes and reduced spending in the future, we will remain on the treadmill favored by our leaders. If we don't want to be Greece, we cannot continue to do that.

    Michael

  19. Paul Ryan = Zombie-eyed Granny starver

    "Shut up and eat your catfood Gramma!"

  20. Civilization only exists because there is government Reffy. Winners and losers are better picked by government than by the ignorant marketplace you obviously worship. That marketplace is merely the decisions of millions of narrow minded and short sighted fools who will buy overpriced gold or some equivalent nonsense. Reffy, what is your verifiable educational background?

  21. collin wrote >>Wake up, people. These Tea/Republicans want to destroy all of us hard working people. Only the filthy rich matter to them. No one else.<<

    You do know the filthy rich need all these people to work for them to stay filthy rich, so why would they want to destroy them? Sort of like shooting the horse you ride. I would rather see a filthy rich person spend 8 million on a yacht then send it in taxes to the government. That money he spent will employ many people where as the money sent to the government will be sent to many people who do not work. Which is more productive for the people and the economy? I will never be filthy rich, or even rich, but I am not jealous of those who are, I thank them for all the things they spend money on! And all the money they donate to charity. Honestly the government is the worst place they should spend money on.
    We are talking about baseball, football, basketball players, actors and directors, movie producers, musicians and pop stars right? the filthy rich.? they make like 22k to 50k a day..those filthy rich?

  22. RefNV - "I'm from the government and I'll make decisions for you because I'm much smarter than you"

    "I'm from Wall St. and here to steal your money without consequences."

  23. "We're going to close the unproductive tax loopholes that allow some of the truly wealthy to avoid paying their fair share. In theory, some of those loopholes were understandable, but in practice they sometimes made it possible for millionaires to pay nothing, while a bus driver was paying ten percent of his salary, and that's crazy. [...] Do you think the millionaire ought to pay more in taxes than the bus driver or less?"

    RONALD REAGAN.
    http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2011/10...

    From the same speech (& article)...

    When Reagan asked the crowd whether millionaires should be paying more or less in taxes than a bus driver, the crowd resoundingly responded "more!" Reagan also told an Illinois crowd about a letter he had received from a man who said that tax loopholes allowed him to pay a lower tax rate than his secretary. "He wrote me the letter to tell me he'd like to come to Washington and testify before Congress as to how that's possible for him to do and why it is wrong," Reagan said.

    http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2011/10...

  24. A word from our President:

    "Of course, there's been a real debate about where to invest and where to cut, and I'm ... committed to working with members of both parties to cut our deficits and debt. But we can't simply cut our way to prosperity. We need to do what's necessary to grow our economy; create good, middle-class jobs; and make it possible for all Americans to pursue their dreams."

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2...

    More from the speech:

    "That means giving our kids the best education in the world so they have the knowledge and skills to succeed in this economy. It means rebuilding our crumbling roads, railways and runways. And it means investing in the cutting-edge research and technologies that will spur growth in the years ahead --- from clean energy to advanced manufacturing."

    Thank God we have someone in charge with their head screwed on straight and understands the will of the American electorate.

    Here again, words of wisdom from The Man in charge:

    http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/201...

    Meanwhile, the Ryan budget plan is being met with ridicule, for good Reason...even TeaNuts don't like it.
    http://reason.com/blog/2012/03/21/why-th...

    Why is Mittens getting his a$$ kicked by President Obama in the polls?
    DUH!!!
    http://politics.salon.com/2012/04/06/rep...

  25. MShaffer,

    If there was any doubt about your position, the following comment by you erased it:

    Winners and losers are better picked by government than by the ignorant marketplace you obviously worship. That marketplace is merely the decisions of millions of narrow minded and short sighted fools who will buy overpriced gold or some equivalent nonsense.

    Mark.... Why are you living here? The ideals that this country was founded on are eaxctly opposite of what you believe. My goodness, go live in a socialist country. They live by the ideals you believe in.

    Michael

  26. I'd like to know how many of you on the left side of the political spectrum think the following comment by Mark Schaffer is one you agree with:

    'Winners and losers are better picked by government than by the ignorant marketplace you obviously worship. That marketplace is merely the decisions of millions of narrow minded and short sighted fools who will buy overpriced gold or some equivalent nonsense.'

    I can understand those that want more and not less of government involvement in our lives, but Mark seems to believe that we are all total idiots, incapable of making a good decision that isn't totally self centered and narrow minded. If that is truly the case, I have to ask how we became the greatest nation on earth and have remained so since the 1700's.

    Michael

  27. Santorum is out. Gingrich is out. Mittens is the GOP candidate by default. Now, to the point. What is Mitten's plan for the US economy? Now that the right wing rhetoric is no longer necessary, does Mittens have a real plan to address the economic woes of this nation? Well, no he doesn't. He will bash the current administration, and will be bashed in return. If elected, Mittens will be just another bystander in the white house; impotent and dismayed. The deadlocked Congress will remain, and we all sink into apathy and despair and the nation sinks to third world economic status with nuclear weapons.

  28. I'm sure he does have a plan on his website. Since he hasn't got the nomination yet, IT IS JUST RHETORIC. I'll reserve judgment until Mittens and Obama go head to head. Even then it will all be RHETORIC ON BOTH SIDES.

  29. Is outsourcing American jobs included in Romney's plan as he did when at Bain Capital?

  30. Left and right are wrong.

    We can't tax and spend our way out of a spending problem. A 100% tax on EVERYTHING in America will NOT fix the problem. No amount of insane partisan rhetoric can make it happen. Trying to tax and borrow our way to prosperity is a sure way to let our elderly die on the streets in poverty.

    It WILL happen as surely as the partisans will blame everyone but themselves for this suicidal policy. Read the posts above to see how they are in complete denial.

  31. I see Mikey, Reffy, and Marky are busy spouting uninformed assertions as usual. Don't waste much time on them as they aren't able to break out of Dunning Kruger Syndrome they will always be stuck in. I am open to intelligent discussion any time but that will never happen with conservatives who are unable to go beyond simplistic labeling exercises.

  32. Attention Unemployed Americans: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08qq3087O...

  33. Zero intelligent adult Americans will again vote for anyone who supports illegal and uncontrolled immigration of people to drain our social services, schools, jobs, law enforcement..... How many "middle class" Americans want to forfeit a reasonable retirement (SS and Medicare) and forfeit their children and grandchildren so we can continue to support illegals and "nation building" of every rat hole feudal village of violent predators? Suggestion for GOP: bring our troops home. Suggestion for DNC: clear your brains.

  34. Jeff: And why can't we EXPEL THE ILLEGALS unless they can show they entered the country legally--then they can have deportation procedures. Although, I would prefer EXPULSION for those over-staying visas. I'm very much in favor of going after the employers, hard, but I would not restrict authorities from removing illegals they locate by other means. The "safe community" activities are showing minimal results because the administration waits until an illegal is caught committing a violent act or felony, and then they remove just the actor, not the entire family. We must also expel the illegal anchor babies--if Mama wasn't here legally, the kids are citizens of her home country, not citizens of the U.S. 14th Amendment authorizes the government to REGULATE immigration, not to fail to act. Failure to authorize or act suggesting illegally born here does not flow to legal citizenship. But oh I agree, deprive them of jobs so Americans can find work. Deprive them of jobs and stop sending groceries home from school with their kids, stop giving them housing, medical care, education, food stamps and they will go home on their own steam. AND, they'll stop sending for extended family to join them here.

  35. Jeff: are you just looking for argument? I agreed with you and you ramble about politics.

  36. Jeff: Illegals are not necessarily dirty or awful. I can understand why they come here but I do not understand why we let them. Our economy has told us, loudly told us, that we cannot support the entire globe. Illegals need to go home and support their own economies.

  37. We do NOT need a guest worker program. 14 million Americans are unemployed. Catch the news on abuse of B-1 visas and such for hi techie foreign workers fraudulently brought here year after year? We don't even need the highly skilled workers to be brought in. We have them here. Your state agencies are paying HB-1 and B-1 foreigners in excess of $100K a year while American programmers are unemployed???? We do not need more immigrants for years and years. Assuming we remove all 10-12 million illegals and their anchor babies that we keep paying for, we might at some time in the future want more immigrants AFTER OUR ECONOMY HAS A CHANCE TO RECOVER. You'd forgo retirement, ability to financially assist your children and grandchildren so you can pay for illegals to produce numerous kids--their K-12, health care, housing, food, TANF?