If Congress is intent on passing a tax-reform bill, leaders from both parties should insist that it not pump more steroids into the national debt ["Tax reform for cowards," editorial, Sept. 29]. Publicly held national debt now tops $14 trillion. It's already headed for almost $25 trillion over the next 10 years, pushing the ratio of debt-to-gross domestic product higher than ever, even the peak just after the end of World War II. President Trump's proposal is pouring gasoline on the fire, endangering our capacity to fund a strong national defense and to take care of our aging population.
The best solution would be a creative, bipartisan compromise that gives our dealmaking president the lower rates he seeks without piling on more debt: a fee on carbon emissions to pay for the tax cuts. A $49-per-ton fee on emissions, increasing by 2 percent (plus inflation) a year, would generate $2.2 trillion over 10 years. Rebate half to cover the impact on low- and middle-income households and use $1.1 trillion to cover cutting rates. It would also enable our country to honor its Paris climate pledge. This is an efficient, free-market, nonregulatory idea that deserves bipartisan support.
Walt Minnick, Boise, Idaho
The writer, a Democrat, represented Idaho's 1st Congressional District from 2009 to 2011 and is co-founder of the Partnership for Responsible Growth.