Mr. Speaker, please don’t agree to any tax increases

Speaker John Boehner, please don’t agree to ANY tax increases in return for presidential promises of future entitlement and spending cuts. First, America needs tax cuts for its producers and investors who create jobs. Only employers and investors create jobs, and they simply face too many impediments to invest in new ones — especially the small entrepreneurs who create most of our new jobs. American business is more highly taxed than in other developed nations, so it’s not growing us out of our debt and unemployment crises.

Tax cuts during the administrations of Reagan, Kennedy and Coolidge grew the economy and created jobs. That’s the only reliable solution to both our debt and employment crises. Reagan alone added about 20 million new jobs. New tax cuts can spur our economy toward 4 percent annual growth, which would be the most powerful and reliable way to reduce national debt, rebalance government spending back to 18 or 19 percent of GDP, and secure our future.

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Second, future spending cuts never come true. Even if he is sincere, the president cannot deliver the Senate Democrats. And after they have election-year cover from the Republicans on debt, they’ll have no incentive to agree to long-term entitlement and other spending cuts. In fact, they’ll have great pressure from their voter base to start spending again.

We don’t know the details of your discussions, but one thing is clear, you must immediately put on the table the need for tax cuts as the only permanent solution for growth and debt reduction. If you don’t, who will? And if it’s not on the table you’re negotiating from weakness. Tax cuts are the most powerful tool available to secure America economically and in turn geo-politically. You must make that case. Don’t just react, take the initiative and raise your bid.

From Glen Urquhart, Sussex County Republican Committee chairman, Rehoboth Beach, Del.

Get the troops out faster

I am happy to see that U.S. troops are starting to move out of Afghanistan, but the pace is too slow.

Nine years after the 2001 invasion, there are 250,000 foreign forces in Afghanistan. 100,000 US troops, 50,000 NATO troops and 100,000 Pentagon-paid contractors. It is a high-water mark that should never be approached again.

Last year Afghanistan experienced the largest number of civilian casualties since the war began. This is unacceptable!

As long as U.S. policy is to destroy the Taliban opposition and insurgent forces, many Afghans will resist what they understand to be a foreign invasion.

I believe we need a new vision that starts with a cease-fire, includes clear U.S. participation in a broad-based peace process and encourages disarming militia forces (after we leave) while supporting education, medical support and increasing aid for infrastructure enhancements. For us it means removing our military forces; for Afghans it means an innovative reconciliation process.

And I believe that the American people want the massive war chest restored to helping Americans to have a better life by reinvesting in education — from nursery school through to university, poverty programs, literacy, libraries, veterans affairs, increasing small business loans, increasing Medicare and Medicaid, public parks and public spaces, the arts, infrastructure and so many other items where financial support has been eroding and/or are deteriorating as funds have been withdrawn to support our never-ending wars that have little to do with the American people.

From Charity Moschopoulos, Annandale, Va.

Congress should reject Keystone XL pipeline

On July 1, one of our nation’s wilderness treasures became the latest site of a devastating oil spill, when an estimated 42,000 gallons of oil spewed from a ruptured ExxonMobil pipeline into the Yellowstone River in Montana.

Despite this ongoing disaster, Congress is preparing to vote on legislation to speed up the permit for the massive Keystone XL tar-sands-oil pipeline, which would carry up to 20 times the amount of oil per day as the Yellowstone pipeline and cross this same river on its route through six heartland states.

The Yellowstone oil pipeline burst is the third major U.S. oil disaster caused by Big Oil in just the last 15 months, after the Gulf oil spill and Michigan’s Kalamazoo River oil spill. This most recent spill is just a glimpse into what could unfold if the Keystone XL pipeline is approved.

A thorough environmental review of the Keystone XL is essential, as it poses a huge risk to our communities, wildlife and natural resources. I’m counting on Congress to take this latest tragic spill as the final wake-up up call and oppose legislation to expedite the permit for the dangerous Keystone XL oil pipeline.

From Ruth P. Roland, Warrenton, Va.