Sen. Mike Lee's budget plan is way off balance

Tuesday, March 8, 2011; 8:42 PM

Regarding Sen. Mike Lee's fanciful Washington Forum commentary on the need for a balanced-budget amendment ["The right balancing act," March 4]:

Mr. Lee's proposal would make tax increases extremely unlikely and place a hard limit on spending. He enumerated the advantages of a balanced budget, but, of course, omitted the fact that a budget balanced on these terms would necessitate about a 35 percent (or more) cut in defense spending, Social Security and Medicare even if already proposed Republican cuts in discretionary nondefense accounts were passed.

Sadly, Mr. Lee (R-Utah) seems to lack the fortitude to point out these facts to his constituents and the American people, but then Republican proposals like this one are always general in nature and consistently avoid making clear that major tax increases, major cuts to the big-money programs, or both, are necessary.

If you want to balance the budget, senator, come clean with people on what it would really entail.

Philip S. Church, Fairfax


In his Washington Forum commentary, Sen. Mike Lee advocated what he calls a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution. Unfortunately, by proposing that a supermajority vote be required to raise taxes, he was really advocating the constitutional equivalent of the "no new taxes" pledge that he and so many of his Republican cohorts have irresponsibly signed.

Mr. Lee wrote, "But history has shown that in real emergencies, it is not difficult for Congress to produce a supermajority." Well, according to Republicans, that emergency exists now in the form of a national debt that they describe as an existential threat to America's way of life.

Practically every economist on the planet has said it will take both spending cuts and tax increases to close a $14 trillion deficit. Yet Republicans will not vote for new taxes.

Chris Wilcox, Severn

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