Fair Tax Act would repair the broken, unfair system

Poverty should never be the goal of a government tax structure, yet our income tax is designed to keep working people poor. Hidden corporate taxes raise the wholesale cost of goods and services, while the 7.65 percent payroll tax ensures less take-home pay for buying goods and services. 

Although the wealthiest avoid paying federal income taxes thanks to deductions, their investment capital, needed for job creation, is forced overseas to avoid capital gains taxes. Not only do the working poor get poorer and the wealthy shift capital overseas, our industries can’t compete in global markets. Capital gains taxes are 11.5 percent higher than the average tax rate for the 34 nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). And with our corporate tax being the highest in the world, there is little incentive for foreign investment to come to the U.S

A Fair Tax Act of 2013, filed in the House Jan. 3 with a record number (53) of first-day co-sponsors, would end personal income taxes, business income taxes, payroll taxes, capital gains taxes, estate and gift taxes and the alternative minimum tax. It generates equal tax revenues while creating jobs. 

From Beverly Martin, Fulton, Mo.


Raising the debt ceiling should be a no-brainer

The last time we faced a debt-ceiling crisis, in the summer of 2011, GOP House Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerA warning to Ryan’s successor: The Speakership is no cakewalk With Ryan out, let’s blow up the process for selecting the next Speaker Race for Republican Speaker rare chance to unify party for election MORE walked out of the negotiations, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPompeo lacks votes for positive vote on panel GOP poised to advance rules change to speed up Trump nominees Trump has not invited Democrats, media to state dinner: report MORE urged his colleagues to cede the problem to the White House, and President Obama warned that millions of Social Security and other government checks might not go out. Thankfully, that brand of Washington “chicken” proved to be too much for everyone on Capitol Hill. A compromise was reached hours before the Aug. 2 deadline.

Today’s debate about raising the debt ceiling is not so much about national policy as it is about political heft. Since 1962, Congress has voted to raise the financial bar more than 70 times. Even Dick Armey, a former conservative leader in the House and a key Tea Party insider at the time, admitted the debt ceiling needed be raised in 2011. And who can forget GOP Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump considering pardon for boxing legend after call from Sylvester Stallone GOP poised to advance rules change to speed up Trump nominees The Hill's Morning Report: Inside the Comey memos MORE challenging the so-called “hobbits” in Congress to get on with the people’s business?

I don’t know what it will take to shake lawmakers to their senses now, but I do know this: Obama 2.0 has drawn a line in the sand. It’s time for congressional Republicans and their Tea Party supporters to wake up and smell the coffee. The president has no authority to withhold anyone’s Social Security check. If the debt ceiling isn’t increased and the government can’t honor its financial obligations, then 70 million checks simply won’t be processed. I’d hate to be a GOP member of Congress trying to explain that to his or her older or military constituents. 

From Denny Freidenrich, Laguna Beach, Calif.


Put veterans to work guarding our schools

With all the vets coming home who can’t find jobs, may I suggest the following?

With their training in the service, why not give them jobs protecting our schools? They have been trained to observe and act. It seems like we would be taking care of two problems: one, protecting our children; two, giving our heroes a job that will not cost as much as training others, because they have on-the-job training. Think of the money saved.

The problem with gun control is it will not solve the problem. We need to fund our health system so people with mental problems can been helped. Instead of working and spending money on gun control, let’s put our money to better use and help the mentally disabled. Parents are aware if their child needs some kind of help, but the help is not there, nor can they afford it. 

From Isaac Osborn

For better government, get money out of politics

There is one way and one way only for the American citizen to have a functioning productive government. We must take the bribe money, otherwise called political contributions, out of elections. Any citizen has the right to voice their support for any candidate during an election. We must eliminate money from that equation. Free speech, as our Constitution states, says nothing about pouring money into a candidate when we all know it is anti-constitutional to bribe and influence elected officials with obfuscated forms of hidden contribution. Money out, term limits in, and we will have our democracy back.

From Norm Stewart, Aventura, Fla.


Continue bipartisanship following fiscal-cliff deal

The best news about the “fiscal cliff” deal is the fact that Democrats and Republicans in Washington worked together and came up with a compromise law. The American people are sick of gridlock, partisanship, bickering and sound bites. Our elected officials were elected to govern and to work together. By avoiding a “fiscal cliff,” they started 2013 in a positive manner. I hope that the president and Republican and Democratic members of Congress will work cooperatively during the coming year.

If lawmakers put governing ahead of partisanship, it will restore the level of confidence people have in our elected officials.

From Paul Feiner, Greenburgh, N.Y.