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The deficit's defenders

Obama The Times' editorial board joined in the boo-bird chorus for President Obama's budget proposal, calling it "a remarkably tame response to Washington's fiscal problems" that "all but ignored the most important long-term financial challenge, which is the growing cost of entitlements such as Medicare and Medicaid."

Our complaint, like that of many deficit hawks, was that Obama didn't lay out a plan for closing the budget gap over the long term. Republicans were particularly critical, perhaps because the president's silence on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security will force them to make the first move.

That's a thin political limb that few elected officials are willing to walk out on. But seemingly any effort to bring spending and revenues back into line comes at a political cost. A good illustration is the response to Monday's budget proposal from the National Assn. of Manufacturers. Here's the entire statement from NAM Senior Vice President for Policy and Government Relations Aric Newhouse:

We are pleased that the President recognizes the importance of research and development (R&D) to our economy. The President’s call for a strengthened and permanent R&D tax credit is critical to innovation. Additionally, proposals to support manufacturing technology and innovation by funding robust protection of intellectual property, the deployment of the next generation broadband, and an increase in basic research funding have the potential to positively impact jobs and economic growth.

Unfortunately, President Obama’s budget plan also contains higher taxes for virtually all manufacturers –- a direct threat to growth and manufacturing jobs. Increased income taxes on companies with worldwide operations, increased energy taxes and income taxes for small and medium-sized companies will make manufacturers less competitive.

We look forward to working with the Administration and Congress to advance policies that will keep the U.S. the best country in the world to manufacture.

Shorter version: Don't tax you, don't tax me, tax that man behind the tree. Oh, and make sure to keep the subsidies flowing in our direction!

I'm picking on the manufacturers' association here only because its e-mail was at the top of my inbox. Its response was, sadly, typical of the interest-group world, which exists to protect the narrow interests against the broader national one.

Obama's proposed tax on multinationals may be lousy policy -- I haven't done enough reporting on it to have an opinion. But it seems tone deaf for the beneficiaries of increased spending on basic research, broadband deployments and research-and-development tax credits to argue that they shouldn't help cover the cost. Given the enormity of the deficit and the mounting debt, we're in a you-get-what-you-pay-for environment. Or at least we should be. 

RELATED:

The CBO lays out the harsh reality

The deficit commission: Close, but no deal

-- Jon Healey

Photo: President Barack Obama. Credit: Joshua Roberts / Bloomberg

 

Comments () | Archives (1)

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AngryMobVoter

Spending cuts are a good start but only a start. All of the programs that make it easy for people to not work or not try to better themselves must be eliminated. If we want job growth we need to eliminate all of the burdensome regulations and useless paperwork faces by business and we must reduce the number, amount, and complexity of all the taxes paid by business and individuals. One place to start with spending cuts would be the outrageous salaries and benefits paid to must public employees that greatly exceed the private sector.

Or government even inhibits the work of the non-profit sector with piles of useless regulations and paperwork. The large cost of complying with those regulations and completing the mountains of paper only takes away from the service these organizations provide to the community.

I am tired of walking into a supermarket and always seeing the person in front of me in the checkout line using "assistance" to pay for food. Am I the only one not getting money from the government? I am tired of my taxes being used to make it so easy for people to not earn a living.

I am tired of paying taxes to pay for the person in the checkout line in front of me using food stamps to buy food only to follow that up with using a large amount of cash to by cigarettes. I am tired of paying taxes so government workers can get salaries and benefits far beyond with I get in the private sector. I am tired of paying taxes to support people who have little incentive to work and achieve. Our government is dysfunctional, inefficient, and to big. It is our huge, dysfunctional, and wasteful government that is holding back our economy and job growth.

Our representatives vote on legislation they do not understand or have not read. They add unrelated PORK to bills that are mainly concerned with issues where it would be political suicide to vote against. Why not have every elected official sign-off that they have read and UNDERSTOOD an issue before they are permitted to vote? Those sign-offs could be scanned into the public record and put on a public website.

Our representatives have a sense of entitlement that must be eliminated. If a law applies to the American People, it should apply to our elected officials and that includes things like social security, pension, and healthcare. Our government is wasteful and dysfunctional.

Obama, Pelosi, Reid, and the rest of the Democrats believe in big government and intrusive regulation. They believe in taking from the people who work hard and get educated to achieve and give it to the people who do not try to better themselves.

We must continue to VOTE THEM OUT!!!


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The Opinion L.A. blog is the work of Los Angeles Times Editorial Board membersNicholas Goldberg, Robert Greene, Carla Hall, Jon Healey, Sandra Hernandez, Karin Klein, Michael McGough, Jim Newton and Dan Turner. Columnists Patt Morrison and Doyle McManus also write for the blog, as do Letters editor Paul Thornton, copy chief Paul Whitefield and senior web producer Alexandra Le Tellier.



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