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Letter: Solving the budget crisis

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opinion Willmar, 56201
West Central Tribune
(320) 235-6769 customer support
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

The anti-tax and anti-big government folks claim they have a "mandate" from the American people to slash government spending and not raise taxes. The term "mandate" implies landslide election results. There were very few landslides in the 2010 elections.

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Nevertheless, they continue to demand a "meat-ax" approach to slashing programs across the board. But our streets and highways are crumbling; our cities and states are on the brink of bankruptcy; libraries are closing; public schools are broke; our health care system is bankrupting the middle class and still excludes 50 million of our poorest citizens and, thanks to "media for profit", our voters are less informed, more fearful, and more demoralized.

Meanwhile, they tell us we cannot cut our military budget, the largest in the world. We are told it is needed to pursue the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, to maintain our bases all over the world, and fight terrorism to keep us safe. Safe? Considering the direction in which our country is headed, there won't be much in our future to keep "safe."

Shrinking government and cutting taxes is not the solution for massive federal debt, our declining standard of living, and environmental degradation. There also must be more revenue. We need to decide if we want to fund more wars and empire building and if we do, to agree to pay a "war tax" and perhaps reinstitute the draft. Otherwise, we should bring the troops home.

How much longer will we remain mute while the Republicans demand more tax cuts for the wealthy at the same time they advocate a policy of balancing the budget on the backs of the poor and the middle class?

There must also be a major change in the ethics of corporations. They say their primary duty is to increase profits for their shareholders. Before globalization, corporations considered it good business practice to return a higher percentage of their profits to their communities. Why can't they do that now when they need is so critical? All of us need to come together, dig deep, and share in the sacrifice, including those at the top.

Howard Patrick

New London

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