Given the nation's needs, this is no time to increase taxes

Letters to the Editor
Published September 21, 2005

Re: Forget tax cuts, editorial, Sept. 19.

The St. Petersburg Times and other liberal publications are having a field day bashing President Bush for his $200-billion Katrina proposal. It's amazing how thrifty many liberals have become where governmental spending is concerned. This coming from those who never met a social program or entitlement they didn't love.

Half of all federal dollars go toward some sort of social program engineered by the Democrats. The current Bush administration funds those programs at their highest level in history. So, to equate Bush's tax cuts for the "wealthy" to somehow cheating the poorest Americans is ridiculous.

I do agree that the capital gains tax should be left as it is. But the current tax rates should be made permanent. The reason? The economy. Anyone who doubts the importance of the tax cuts need look no further than the economy's performance since the cuts took effect. Steady growth, steady decrease in unemployment, low interest rates, and a rising stock market, are all at risk by an increase in tax rates for anybody. That includes the rich.

We are a nation of boundless resources. The federal deficit was short of earlier projections due to increased tax revenue generated by Bush's tax cuts. Liberals will never grasp the concept that lower taxes do not mean lower tax revenues. The Times suggests that it is immoral to consider more tax cuts at this time. Maybe so, but to increase taxes at this times dooms us to another recession. You'd blame that on the president as well.

Jay Johnson, St. Petersburg

Roll back those tax cuts

Re: Forget the tax cuts, editorial.

If there ever was time for Congress to step up to the plate, it is now! I think it is imperative for our House and Senate to join forces with whoever will take a stand to roll back the last four tax cuts, including cuts to the estate tax and to trim the pork from some of the most recent bills such as the last highway bill. It's ludicrous to say that it will hurt our economy to repeal these tax cuts as any money spent on recovery from Katrina will go right back into our country's economy. And if the contracts are rewarded to local companies as President Bush says they are meant to, then they will target his favorite category, small businesses.

Democrats should do right by the country and sponsor this effort now. I know I will not vote now or in the future for anyone who doesn't take a stand on this issue!

I've got a vested interest in both the country's and the Gulf Coast's recovery. I grew up in Biloxi, and had family members stay with me during the storm. They've all gone back now and I worry for them every day and wonder how the area will ever get back to normal.

Please make sure that both the country and the Gulf Coast are not lost over this storm!

Cheryl Leydon, Tampa

It's about revenue, not morality

Re: Forget the tax cuts.

Tax cuts are "immoral"? Which holy book have you been reading?

Congressmen should vote the way that results in the most tax revenue. A) Do they eliminate tax cuts and raise $20-billion, to use your figure, or B) do they keep the tax cuts and generate economic activity that raises more than $20-billion in tax revenue? Clearly, the correct answer is B.

St. Petersburg Times editorial writers and Democrats in general are always belly-aching about the rich getting richer. That's called envy, by the way, and it's one of the seven deadly sins.

Bill AuCoin, St. Petersburg

Put America first

Re: Funding the recovery after Katrina.

President Bush is leading us . . . down the road to ruin. He stubbornly insists the tax cuts for the wealthy be made permanent. In view of the Katrina disaster, something must be done about the funding of the recovery.

President Bush says he will have to cut some programs to fund this rebuilding. I would suggest, before he starts cutting programs, he begin by putting America first for a change, instead of all his paybacks to his political supporters.

He should eliminate the tax cuts for the wealthy so there is money when disasters occur. Then he should have members of Congress repeal all recent legislation (which he should have vetoed) containing pork for all their paybacks. Then maybe we can fund this rebuilding, without cutting programs that are necessary to keep us from becoming the largest Third World country in the world.

Carolynne Paul, Brooksville

A major opportunity

Re: Forget the tax cuts.

The St. Petersburg Times continues to make a case against President Bush's tax cuts, adding the cost of the post-Katrina recovery to its argument. When John F. Kennedy lowered marginal tax rates, federal revenues increased dramatically. When Ronald Reagan did the same, history repeated itself. Now under the effects of the George W. Bush tax cuts, we're seeing the same as evidenced by the huge reduction in pre-Katrina deficit projections.

At the same time, the top 5 percent of income earners pay more than 50 percent of the income taxes while those with moderate incomes and the working poor pay little or none. No amount of class warfare rhetoric can change these facts.

The potential economic impact of the post-Katrina rebuilding of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast is certainly a matter of some concern. It also presents a major opportunity. History shows us what works and what does not. "Great Society" style social engineering and wealth redistribution schemes are largely responsible for the creation of social and economic basket cases like Detroit, Washington D.C. and New Orleans. More than 40 years of waste and failure should compel the consideration of another model.

Get the government out of the way with the creation of a Gulf Coast Enterprise Zone. Unleash the enormous economic engine in the private sector to rebuild and reinvent New Orleans as an American Singapore.

Timothy S. "Mac" McDonnell, St. Petersburg

Keep an eye on the money

In Punta Gorda, there are hundreds of people who were affected by last year's hurricanes who still need permanent homes. What happened to the millions of dollars that were donated to help them?

This is what worries me about the millions being donated for the Katrina victims. How can we be sure that this money will be used to help them?

Belinda Blease, Largo

Finding solace in fishing

In regard to Pat Oliphant's Sept. 16 "cartoon," showing our president smiling over dead bodies in New Orleans, I can only assume Oliphant is a bitter, mean-spirited man and your paper embraces his attitude.

And will I continue to buy and read your paper? Yes, because I need to know the daily tides so I can fish and smile with nature's better side.

Gil Henzler, St. Petersburg