The Debt Ceiling and Tax Fairness

Readers weigh in on raising the debt limit and revamping the tax code.

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There is no choice but to raise the debt ceiling right now since the budget for the current fiscal year, ending September 30, is already locked in with more deficit spending ["Posturing on the Brink of Disaster," April 15]. However, there is no excuse for raising it next fiscal year if a balanced budget is enacted. Let's see how that turns out. (Note: Rome wasn't built in a day.)

RICK TANNEHILL Glendale, Ariz.

[Read the U.S. News debate: Should Congress raise the debt ceiling.]

A Taxing Debate on Fairness

To the question "does the amount of income tax I just paid seem about right?" ["Editor's Note," April 15] Yeah, I guess it does—kind of. But I don't like it that the president and the Republicans and the Democrats all pontificate and pander, but none are moving toward really fixing what's so obviously broken. We need lower rates on corporations, but every profitable company should pay. We need to stop using the tax code to promote "good" behavior and punish "bad." Loopholes (yours) and incentives (mine) need to be greatly diminished or eliminated. We have an enormous federal government with enormous bureaucracies because the government does things voters want done. So we need to cut it back or to pay for it—all of us. Some time ago, a now long-gone senator said (approximately), "Don't tax you, don't tax me, let's tax the man behind that tree." He meant it as a joke—I think.

RON KOLLMAN SMITH Mountain Lake, Va.

Fairness requires each citizen to pay the exact cost of the benefits he or she receives. Unfortunately, it is impossible to calculate this amount, and it is beyond the ability of many to pay, regardless. Furthermore, justice demands citizens pay not only for current and, in some cases, future benefits received, but those previously received without payment. By allowing half of the current population to have representation without taxation, we are taxing future generations who do not have representation.

RICHARD LAWRENCE Clinton, Utah

Taxes, you can't abide them, but you can't live without them! Why does [nearly half] of our population not have to pay [income] taxes? They have no skin in the game and clearly vote for more and more largess. A progressive system makes sense, but a system that exempts almost half the population is madness. Revise the system. Simplify it so that one does not have to use a CPA to prepare one's tax form. Eliminate lots of deductions; that will clearly force the rich to pay more. If you live in the United States, you benefit from tax revenue in one way or another. You should have to pay for that benefit, even if it is a token amount.

DENNIS GREENE Aurora, Colo.

Something is definitely wrong when almost half of Americans do not pay any [income] taxes. How can only half of Americans support the other half? And now President Obama wants to increase taxes on those who already pay most of the taxes. It is time to take a discerning look at the U.S. tax system, totally rework it to make it fair. Obama thinks it's fair if we keep raising taxes on those who already pay the most. This does not seem fair to me.

MIKE LEBLANC Colorado Springs, Colo.

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