Must raise taxes on rich, cut pay of lawmakers

One of the definitions for sequestration: To put into the hands of an indifferent person.

Does this remind you of our government in Washington? The government is going to cut $85 billion in spending this year. Thousands of workers will be laid off and the money paid in taxes by these people will cease.

Sequester is a bad idea at a time when the country is showing signs of financial recovery.

First thing we must do is raise taxes. This will be unpopular, but we must increase revenue. Tax the wealthy, then cut the salaries of all members of Congress by 10 percent and stop all of their expensive trips. Congress members want us to do without, but not themselves.

Congress got us into this mess. It doesn't know how to get us out, except to tax the poor and reduce benefits for the needy. Lawmakers refer to Social Security as an entitlement. Working people paid into the program, and those of us retired are collecting what is owed us. Social Security is not a gift from the government.

Robert Beaudreau

Fremont

Real definition of bipartisanship

The only useful purpose served by the sequester is to validate the real definition of bipartisanship.

This happens when the party led by the evil and the party led by the stupid agree on a program that is both evil and stupid. The only exceptions are when there is a true crisis, such as 9/11.


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My opinion is that we need a constitutional amendment that will limit the percentage increase in federal spending to 90/95 percent of the prior year's Gross DomesticProduct. A negative GDP would require a corresponding decrease in the following year's spending.

I believe that this is the only way to slowly, but surely reduce our astronomical national debt. I seriously doubt this kind of plan will be implemented until our national credit rating reaches the lowest level.

Edward Zawatson

Concord

Sequestration is all theatrics

When will President Barack Obama stop his exercise in political gamesmanship against the Republicans and start taking our economy seriously?

Due to sequestration cuts, Obama has canceled tours of the White House. According to politico.com, the tours cost $74,000 per week for the Secret Service employees' salaries. However, during the tour cancellation period, the Secret Service employees will be reassigned to other posts. The director of the visitor office is not furloughed. The only personnel affected are the volunteers, who lead the tours. Nothing has been saved; it is all theatrics!

Even worse, Yellowstone National Park was told to open two weeks later than normal, thus saving $200,000 for snow plowing roads; this will affect an estimated 49,000 visitors. Considering all possible entrance fee packages, it runs from $10 to $16 per person for a park entrance fee. By the government's estimate, this sequestration cutting will save $200,000 and lose from $290,000 to $584,000.

Only the government's fuzzy math would result in losing money due to sequestration.

Lorraine Humes

San Pablo

Reduced spending affects many lives

Since 2001, we have been spending more federal dollars than we have collected in federal revenues. Annual deficits under President George W. Bush averaged more than $600 billion. Total debt went from $5.7 trillion to $10.6 trillion. In the 2007/2008 fiscal year, we had our first $1 trillion deficit.

President Barack Obama took office in 2009 with an annual budget deficit of more than $1 trillion and a Republican Congress falsely claiming it was not Bush's fault.

Today, we have three alternatives: raise annual revenues by $1 trillion; reduce annual spending by $1 trillion; or reduce the annual deficit by $1 trillion through a "balanced" approach of reducing spending and increasing revenue.

The sequester is serving its purpose by showing us that any slowing of federal government spending does affect people's lives.

Republicans who want to reduce spending, rather than increase revenue via the elimination of tax loopholes for the most rich and powerful, must take the blame of any problems created by the sequester.

George Fulmore

Concord

Sequester meant to scare people

The only purpose President Barack Obama's sequester has served so far is to scare people.

That appears to have been his objective from the start. The lesser aim, of course, is to shift the blame onto Republicans.

Obama has purposely chosen to attack where people will feel the most damage. The sequester takes away 2.4 percent of government's anticipated spending increase, so it's not even a spending cut, just a slowdown in the rate of spending increase.

It's time for members of Congress to stop their efforts to shred our Constitution and start doing the people's business in a businesslike manner.

Dave Newbry

Martinez

Zero incentive to cut programs

Sequester? Let's have more!

Neither party, in their heart of hearts, sees government spending -- at any level of government -- as a problem worthy of resolution, despite pious protestations.

Each year, total debt grows for all levels of government: federal, state, county, city, et al. We have had no federal budget for five years (not that a budget means much, anyway). Unfunded government benefits, which are not included on government budgets in any case would show our debt as not possible to fund anytime.

Republican and Democrat "reduction proposals," at best, simply might slow increases. Unfortunately, we citizens are complicit. Each dollar of government spending has a loud constituency who laments, "cut/tax the other guy." And they vote.

So, let's have more "sequesters" that mandate cuts. Let's define parameters better and make them part of the Constitution, if need be.

Legislators now have zero incentive to cut anything. If they do cut, we vote them out. Their score card is number of laws passed or moneys given to constituents. Twas ever thus.

Joe Moran

Orinda

Put selfish bickering aside, settle differences

The sequester confirms what's already abundantly clear to most Americans willing to put aside selfish bickering and welcome some honest reality: Our government is fractured into stubbornly partisan factions.

The United States desperately needs a constitutional amendment that would have a discernible impact on the current stalemate. It would require, in any budgetary impasse, members of Congress and the president to forfeit all pay and allowances until a negotiated resolution passes both houses.

Any sincere attempt to reach an agreement must place every item under consideration on the table.

I agree with Republicans that Medicare and Social Security are included in this discussion. Their long-term viability is a legitimate issue, as is their impact on our economy. Our government must also gradually reduce spending to sustainable levels and eliminate waste.

Enhanced revenue is a Democratic proposal I support without reservation. Republicans maintain the budget can be balanced in 10 years without any new taxes. With such an urgent matter confronting our country, waiting that long is sheer folly and fiscally irresponsible.

Ronald Entwistle

San Pablo