The Edmond Sun

Opinion

October 26, 2012

Los Angeles Times: CEOs to D.C.: Get serious

LOS ANGELES — Chief executives of more than 85 major U.S. corporations jumped into the debate over the federal budget mess Thursday, calling on Washington to put its fiscal house in order by raising tax revenue, cutting spending, controlling the growing cost of healthcare entitlements and assuring the sustainability of Social Security. They endorsed a set of principles, not specific policy proposals, and they tiptoed around the question of how to take the steps they’ve recommended without damaging the fragile economy. But the path they charted is the same one that a growing number of bipartisan groups have been advocating for more than two years. Although the details won’t be easy to agree on, the framework of a grand compromise should by now be obvious to lawmakers.

In fact, it should have been obvious long ago. Seemingly every group not wedded to a particular ideology that has looked at the federal government’s long-term deficit and debt problems has come to the same set of conclusions.

First, the government’s current trajectory is unsustainable. Second, the most significant threat over the long term is rising healthcare costs in Medicare and Medicaid. And third, Washington’s budget gap is too wide to be closed just by slashing spending. Congress also needs to increase revenue, preferably by curbing the profusion of exemptions, preferences, credits and deductions in the tax code.

Nevertheless, top lawmakers worked in vain for months last year on proposals to bring the deficit and debt under control, unable to agree even on the outlines of a deal. Too many Republicans were anchored to a pledge never to raises taxes — a promise based less on economics than on the politics of winning a GOP primary.

And now their party’s standard-bearer in the presidential race, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, says he too would oppose any increase in revenue. His arithmetically challenged formula for deficit reduction involves lowering tax rates without reducing revenue, while increasing the defense budget and slashing domestic programs. Good luck with that.

Not that President Obama and his Democratic allies have been blameless. They’ve been so determined to end the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy, they’ve paid little attention to the need for a tax overhaul.

Meanwhile, the economy remains stuck in first gear, keeping unemployment high and tax revenue low. Without faster economic growth, Washington will never be able to solve its fiscal problems.

Yet instead of encouraging growth, the federal government may slam the brakes on the economy in January, when a series of huge tax hikes and across-the-board spending cuts are scheduled to take effect. This looming “fiscal cliff” is the ugly result of Congress repeatedly putting off tough budget decisions.

The powerful incentives provided by the fiscal cliff should persuade lawmakers to accept the principles laid out most recently by the chief executives in the nonpartisan Campaign to Fix the Debt. That’s just the starting point, of course; other obvious points of contention are how deeply to cut spending and what to cut. So too is how to shift from stimulus to deficit reduction without stunting the economy.

Still, simply having a plan that lays out future changes in taxes and spending would help dispel the uncertainty over federal policy that is hampering economic growth. The sooner lawmakers accept the path laid out by groups like Fix the Debt, the better.

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Opinion
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    April 22, 2014

  • Can Hillary Clinton rock the cradle and the world?

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  • Chicago Tribune: If Walgreen Co. moves its HQ to Europe, blame Washington’s tax failure

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    Next stop? Could be Bern, Switzerland.
    A group of shareholders reportedly is pressuring the giant retail chain for a move to the land of cuckoo clocks. The reason: lower taxes. Much lower taxes.
    If Walgreen changes its legal domicile to Switzerland, where it recently acquired a stake in European drugstore chain Alliance Boots, the company could save big bucks on its corporate income-tax bill. The effective U.S. income-tax rate for Walgreen, according to analysts at Swiss Bank UBS: 37 percent. For Alliance Boots: about 20 percent.

    April 21, 2014

  • Sulphur a future major tourist destination?

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    It was critically well received and it inspired more recent films such as “Gosford Park” and television shows such as “Downton Abbey” in that it detailed the relationship between powerful and wealthy people and those who served them. The film opened amidst much fanfare and it received the Oscar for best picture in the year of its release.

    April 21, 2014

  • St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Why poverty across the world matters to Americans

    A child starving in South Sudan should matter to Americans. That was the message delivered last week by Nancy Lindborg, whose job at the U.S. Agency for International Development is to lead a federal bureau spreading democracy and humanitarian assistance across the world.
    That world has reached a critical danger zone, with three high-level crises combining military conflict with humanitarian catastrophes affecting millions of innocents in Syria, the South Sudan and the Central African Republic.
    But back to that child.

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  • My best days are ones normal people take for granted

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    “I started the first wall,” she says. “I love that gray.” Erin never bugs me about sleeping late. For a few months after I was injured in the Boston Marathon bombings, I often slept 15 hours a day. The doctors said my body needed to heal. It must still be healing because I hardly ever see 8 a.m. anymore.

    April 18, 2014

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    The trailer says, “From DisneyNature comes a story that all parents share. About the love, the joy, the struggle and the strength it takes to raise a family.”
    Talk about your misguided “Hollywood values.” I previously have acknowledged a morbid, unreasonable fear of grizzly bears, stemming from a youth misspent reading grisly grizzly-attack articles in Readers Digest. This fear is only morbid and unreasonable because I live about 1,500 miles from the nearest wild grizzly bear. Still. ...

    April 16, 2014

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    April 15, 2014

Poll

Do you agree with a state budget proposal that takes some funds away from road and bridge projects to ramp up education funding by $29.85 million per year until schools are receiving $600 million more a year than they are now? In years in which 1 percent revenue growth does not occur in the general fund, the transfer would not take place.

Agree
Disagree
Undecided
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