Letter to the Editor

Hold the high-fives on the debt deal

The Jan. 1 editorial “Small ball” was right on target.

The non-solution offered for the “fiscal cliff” problem is a disgrace to all involved. None of the fundamental issues, from the desperate need to come to grips with entitlement costs to the staggering tax evasion associated with “carried interest” to the non-taxability of health-care benefits, is being addressed.

In short, the efforts of Republicans and Democrats alike — President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) included — can best be described as Lilliputian. Particular shame belongs to Mr. Obama, the captain of the “small ball” team.

Louis H. Knapp, Rockville

The “Small ball” editorial used the word “unable” in regard to the “fiscal cliff” negotiations, as in the nation’s leaders were “unable to do what they all understood needed to be done.” That is plain incorrect. These people were not “unable” to do their jobs. They were “unwilling” to fulfill their oaths to protect the Constitution and serve all of the American people above the interests of their own constituencies.

Ted Mann, Arlington

Throughout 2012, politicians steadfastly avoided setting our country on a fiscally sustainable course. The New Year’s Eve accord again kicked the fiscal can, guaranteeing growth-stunting uncertainty for businesses and crimped employment prospects for individuals (other than lobbyists). So it’s time to correct Chris Cillizza’s premature congrats (or something) to the tea party [Outlook, Dec. 30]: All Americans, except those politicians (let’s stop calling them “leaders”), had the worst year in Washington.

Tim Andrews, Fairfax

Regarding the Jan. 1 front-page article “Obama, GOP reach fiscal deal”:

We can only pray that we will be spared of any self-congratulatory “attaboys” and high-fives for what should be remembered as a monument to dysfunctional governing.

Rick Barry, Arlington

On Dec. 31, President Obama said, “[W]e’re going to have to do more to reduce our debt and our deficit.” A few minutes later, he stated, “And if we’re serious about deficit reduction and debt reduction, then it’s going to have to be a matter of shared sacrifice.”

According to the Congressional Budget Office, if the United States had gone over the “fiscal cliff” and stayed there by following the provisions of the Budget Control Act of 2011, the nation would have racked up another $2.3 trillion in deficits between 2013 and the end of 2022. If instead the United States had passed legislation that continued to follow the same fiscal policies that brought us here, the nation would have incurred another $10 trillion in deficits over the next decade.

The law passed Tuesday avoids the fiscal cliff but increases the deficit by nearly $4 trillion over the next decade. The phrase “increases the deficit” is critical because it means the extra deficit spending comes in addition to the $2.3 trillion we would have racked up anyway and means our nation will now run about $6 trillion in total deficits over the coming decade.

If President Obama and Congress are as committed to “deficit reduction and debt reduction” as they claim to be, they must now make tough choices on how to best reduce discretionary spending, reform our entitlement programs and generate additional revenue.

Thomas Gore, Alexandria

 
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