The Real Problem With Nukes
The problem with the recent nuclear summit is that nothing is binding ["Reaching Critical Mass," April 16]. Our nuclear allies and nuclear foes can read this president like a book. It was all just smoke and mirrors, not hope and change.
LOUIS RUBEL Ft. Collins, Colo.
I am confident we could easily overpower any rogue nation with only conventional weapons. We should strive to eliminate nuclear weapons in all nations. The volcanic eruption in Iceland is a stark example of what would happen if nuclear bombs were dropped on an enemy. I hope and pray we are never that foolish.
KYLE ROBINSON Queen Creek, Ariz.
The nuclear security summit was a great start. President Obama correctly said, "Terrorist networks such as al Qaeda have tried to acquire ... a nuclear weapon and would surely use it." No doubt about it. We have done an excellent job in diagnosing the problem, but we are far from finding the cure. If terrorism is not abated in Pakistan-Afghanistan and Russia, we are not safe. We may have lofty slogans and an impressive summit, but the patient is in the ICU and we are still in the consultation stage with no concrete action plan.
SANTOSH C. VERMA Diamond Bar, Calif.
A value-added tax (VAT) is an insidious tax because, unlike a true sales tax, it is invisible to the ultimate purchaser [Editor's Note, April 16]. The consumer has no real idea how much of the cost of what he or she is purchasing is tax. Politicians love the VAT because they can generate much more revenue without the poor consumers having the real picture about how much tax they are actually paying. Anyone who thinks giving the politicians more money to spend will result in a reduction in either the deficit or the debt is dreaming. If you give politicians more money, they will spend it.
FRANCIS WHITE Hickory, N.C.
We have run out of fixes and patches. I'm for a value-added tax on everything. Think of the revenue generated when a Wall Street guy buys a $20 million house!
JOE WAGNER Plymouth, Minn.
There is nothing inherently wrong or bad about the value-added tax. And if Congress cleaned up the income tax laws, there would be nothing wrong there either. However, until Congress generates a constitutional amendment that there must be a balanced budget each year, no amount of additional taxes from whatever sources will be able to keep up with the growing budget deficits.
DAVE SIDWELL Papillion, Neb.
We do not need the value-added tax. In fact, we need a constitutional amendment to replace the 16th Amendment. It should be as follows: 1) Federal income tax on all income will be 5 percent of the gross income or at such a rate approved by three quarters of both houses, not to exceed 10 percent. This new tax will replace all current federal taxes and will be the only tax levied by the federal government for any reason. 2) Budgeted expenditures will not exceed 90 percent of the previous year's tax collection. 3) Members of Congress voting to exceed currently available revenues will be disqualified from re-election for a period of two terms. 4) Members of Congress will be paid based on the military pay scale in effect at the time they first enter office, thus preventing members from voting to increase their pay. Increases in pay will be based on re-election (rank) and longevity.
KARL HAMMERLE San Antonio
Just how much taxation do the politicians think the American people can bear? No talk of cutting spending. Congress just came up with a massive entitlement program in the healthcare bill that adds to the long list of entitlements we cannot afford now. The answer, as usual: Just add more taxes. As socialism progresses in this country and the government assumes control over our lives, the associated costs necessary to sustain all the entitlements will finally suffocate and destroy private enterprise, jobs, and innovation. Where will the money come from when there are no more taxpayers?
ARLINE F. LOVE Canton, Mass.
While I don't consider myself penurious, when can we say enough already with taxes? Here in Utah, as in many other states, we not only pay federal tax, we pay state income tax, various sales taxes, and property taxes. For us, a VAT would be more on the order of extreme and unusual cruelty, but for those who pay no state income tax, an earmarked VAT might be irresistible. Of the many Europeans I've known over the years, I should add, none has claimed the VAT irresistible, particularly those in the United Kingdom.
RON W. SMITH Providence, Utah
We need to eliminate IRS taxes on everyone making below some magic number set by Congress, with no exceptions. Just a straight tax. $100,000? Then we need a VAT so that everybody pays taxes. Right now it is an absolute nightmare to determine who pays taxes and how much.
FRANK CRUCIAN Houston
Why is it that when there is a shortfall in federal revenue, politicians always want to raise taxes? It's because they don't have the stomach to cut spending, and they don't want to cut spending because it buys votes. The Founding Fathers were concerned that factors like this would drag down the democracy they created. They were right; it's happening now. Tax-and-spend politicians are dragging us into second-rate economic status. China might someday own us.
BILL KLEMM College Station, Texas
Oil Prices Just Fine
No, I'm not feeling the pinch ["The Summer Gas Spike," April 9]. I purchased a Honda Civic GX (powered by compressed natural gas) in 2007, and I have been paying $1.99 per GGE (gasoline gallon equivalent) at the pump since January, 2010. In addition to having the lowest emissions of any automotive internal combustion engine on the planet, 85 percent of my fuel comes from the United States. Does yours?
JACK MADDEN Bethlehem, N.Y.
I am not a liberal, but I value many of the things Fran Hawthorne seems to think only liberals value ["The Liberal Conundrum," April 16]: recycling, energy-efficient cars and appliances, not harming animals, etc. She comes across as the typically self-centered, "I'm right, better than you" liberal. As far as overloaded, every one of us faces a multitude of complex decisions every day. There are no simple answers. Time to make a decision and move on, instead of obsessing over each. Life is too short for that.
SAMUEL ROCK San Antonio