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Welcome to The Seattle Times' online letters to the editor, a sampling of readers' opinions. Join the conversation by commenting on these letters or send your own letter of up to 200 words letters@seattletimes.com.

September 17, 2010 at 4:00 PM

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Federal budget: tax cuts, deficit, military spending

Posted by Letters editor

A closer look at the tax-cut proposal

As a small-business owner — doing tax returns for individuals and businesses — with an MBA in finance, I feel obligated to point out the misinformation in two of the letters in today’s Wednesday’s Political Caucus item in The Times [Opinion, Sept. 15].

First, Debbie Cheek claims that if the tax cut expires for individuals making more than $200,000 or $250,000 for couples, they “will hit every retired person or couple who plan to sell their home ” In fact, only the capital gain above $250,000 for individuals or $500,000 for couples would be taxed, and then at the capital gains rate rather than at the higher income tax rate.

Second, Denny Andrews writes that letting the tax cut expire would “put a brake on the economy” and is “sheer stupidity.” Studies show that tax cuts do not, in fact, boost the economy. Witness the one about to expire, which didn’t help the current economy.

— Charles Upshaw, Steilacoom

A bipartisan tax plan

The solution to the Bush-era tax breaks [“Republicans circle wagons, vow united front on tax cuts,” page one, Sept. 14] is pretty simple. Allow cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent to expire — bring in $700 billion in revenue. Extend tax cuts to the remaining 98 percent; but offset this $1.7 trillion revenue loss with $1.7 trillion in spending cuts. The Federal Budget benefits $2.4 trillion over the next ten 10 years. Wouldn’t you think Sen. Patty Murray, Sen. Maria Cantwell and our nine congressional representatives would support such a bipartisan solution?

— Tom Lindberg, Seattle

An unfunded stimulus plan for rich people

Republicans want to borrow $ 700 billion to give a tax cut to the nation’s wealthiest 2 percent. They say it’s for jobs.

Sounds like another unfunded stimulus plan that would blow a huge hole in the deficit. Before passing another fiscally irresponsible Republican stimulus bill, I’d like to know how many jobs will be created. How many infrastructure projects will be funded?

Do the Republicans have a plan to pay the money back? Is the Republican plan to borrow another $700 billion fiscally conservative?

— Mike Griffin, Ocean Shores

Brooks’ plea comes too late

I enjoyed David Brooks column, “By simply bashing government, GOP ignores a legacy of dynamic federal policy” [Opinion, Sept. 15]. In it, Brooks describes Republican fears of “the road to serfdom” based on an oversimplified version of American history and a dangerously narrow view of limited government.

Brooks warns that “If the current Republican Party regards every new bit of government action as a step on the road to serfdom” and “If Republicans decide that even the smallest tax increases put us on the road to serfdom ” and “If all government action is automatically dismissed as quasi socialist,” then this will result in political, fiscal, social and intellectual tragedy.

But my fear is that Brooks has misread present-day history. It is not a question of “if.” The active, mainstream Republican Party of today is undoubtedly dominated by the very destructive, extreme views of which Brooks warns.

The tragedy is before us.

— Rick Kosterman, Seattle

Gates brave to call for defense cutbacks

It’s about time that someone attempts to rein in defense spending [“Pentagon proposes budget cutbacks,” page one, Aug. 10]. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is one of few who understands that much of our national debt is a result of huge defense spending designed to do just that, waste the taxpayers dollars.

Huge defense contractors and the public officials receiving kickbacks are not only wasting money, but prolonging wars to their financial gain.

Actually bidding out contracts? Laying off workers who most likely did nothing for their fat paychecks? Gates had better watch his back.

— Richard Eirich, Kirkland

Wake up, middle class

I do not understand the “middle class.” We finally get a president who is for the “middle class” and there’s so many of you complaining about him.

Is it because we are not use to having a president who looks out for the “middle class”? Can we not recognize sincerity in a the president’s words?

We have become so impatient; we want everything to happen right now. President Obama is working hard to help us; but it takes time. Let’s give him our support and believe that down the road we will be better off.

Republicans have been bashing him and, unfortunately, some of you are believing them. Have you forgotten how we got into this mess? Have you forgotten that Republicans are for the wealthy. Tax breaks for the wealthy — don’t we want them for the “middle class”?

— Chris Riippa, Seattle

Greed out of control

It’s getting more evident every day that the biggest threats to our country’s security are greed and religious freaks.

Both have reached epidemic proportions, especially in national political circles.

— Gordy Green, Seattle

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