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Author: kaigun Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 308791  
Subject: Re: Slate article on National Debt Date: 12/8/2000 7:58 PM
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dzerkle,

Although this is not a political board (there are plenty of those at TMF) I couldn't let some of your statements go by without comment.

Your stereotyping of our two major political parties is what the press would have us believe. A 'better' stereotype (if there is such a thing as a good one) would be that urban voters (both rich and poor) tend to support Democrats while those living in more rural areas (the division of Gore/Bush voting geographically points this out) tend to support Republicans. Urbanites tend to want and/or need more govt services, while the others tend to be more self-reliant, and want less govt.

Tax reform benefits those who actually PAY taxes. Most of the 'poor' and near-poor do not pay taxes. I do pay taxes, am not rich (or old, I hope) and support Republicans who want to give some of my money back to me. Unlike many in the federal govt, I feel that tax surpluses belong to the taxpayers, not the govt. Do I think that every penny should come back to my pocket? No. There should be a cushion for emergencies, and paying down the debt is a good idea. But let's cut down the over-taxation that is going on right now.

"Of course, the exception is old people. Old people vote very reliably. That's why both major presidential candidates fell all over each other trying to promise goodies to old people in the form of Social Security and Medicare. Listening to the nonsense is almost enough to make you think that Social Security is a retirement and investment plan."

You are right on here! Unfortunately too many Americans think that Social Security IS a retirement plan. The press and most politicians feed that erroneous idea by their rhetoric and editorials. There is much about Social Security that has gone wrong. (Congressional testimony at the time of instituting SSN's revolved around the promise that SSN's would NEVER be used as a form of identification.)

If there are two things certain in life (death and taxes) there is a third that almost qualifies. A government program, once started, will never go away, and will continue to increase in size, and the original rationale for the program will be lost in the process. The national income tax was a "temporary" measure to pay for WWI. Social Security was a stopgap to tide Americans over in time of need.

And regarding the elderly...bull's eye! No politician could dare point out the facts that there is no real prescription drug crisis in this country. The majority of older Americans are covered by health plans. Many of those who are not covered, chose not to be. I don't recall the exact number, but a study was recently done (not having any affiliation with political parties, it was medical-related research) which showed that a relatively small number (6.5%) of elderly Americans face the kind of problems described in the campaign rhetoric. This number can be addressed by targeted govt actions, not by the VERY expensive remedies you heard about in the campaigns. But that would have been political suicide.

"Meanwhile, expect both parties to spend as much tax money as they possibly can, in order to please their constituents. I'm betting that all of the projected surplus will be gone by the time Congress is done"

Finally, I do believe that there IS a difference in how the surplus will be handled between the two parties. While not every Democrat is a tax and spendaholic, and not every Republican believes in less govt spending, I believe that the surplus is in better hands with the Republicans making the decisions. For example, with California haveing hige budget surpluses, did the Democratic-controlled state government lower our income tax rates? No. They lowered the State sales tax rate. Of course, lowering state income taxes would have had a more dramatic effect on Sacramento's purse. Lowering sales taxes puts much of the adverse effect on budgets down at the local level. Clever, huh?

Anyway, when my taxes are lowered, I plan to use that "surplus" to lower my personal debt as quickly as I can, before the politicians change their mind.

Kaigun Chusa
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