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Calling Rep. Lankford


D.W. Tiffee August 24th, 2011

I see that U.S. Rep. James Lankford, R-Okla., is once again misrepresenting legislation, claiming that “The debt deal” (News, Clifton Adcock, Gazette) requires either a constitutional balanced budget amendment or “a proposal to cut $1.5 trillion in spending.”

The $1.5 trillion is for deficit reduction, not just spending. Lankford obviously prefers groveling on his knees before the tea party loons and signing demagogic anti-tax pledges, but the inescapable reality is that tax revenues are 6.2 percent of GDP below what they were in 2000 (the lowest level since the 1940s), with 47 percent of taxpayers not contributing one red cent to support our troops in three wars.

The U.S. government ran four consecutive years of surpluses from 1998-2001 because responsible adults made decisions, including the Clinton tax increase of 1993 that every Republican voted against, claiming it would destroy the economy. In fact, average GDP growth from 1992- 2001 was 3.5 percent versus 1.75 from 2002-2010 (under far lower tax rates).

Yes, the government spends far too much on wasteful or downright stupid projects, typically because dumb politicians want to spread the wealth back home, but “cutting” $250 billion a year from a $1.5 trillion deficit will barely offset the higher interest spending from the remaining debt, and puts a fragile economy at real risk.

This country lost an astonishing $17.5 trillion in wealth from 2007- 2009 thanks to Wall Street’s scams, and digging ourselves out of that bottomless abyss is going to take years and the same massive, sustained federal stimulus that lifted us from the Depression (World War II) and the Reagan-era crisis, when spending soared from 20.1 percent of GDP in 1979 to 23.5 in 1983. To put that in perspective, 11 European countries — including Britain — spend over 50 percent of GDP.

Ronald Reagan didn’t beat seniors and the poor to a bloody pulp when federal spending was nearly identical. According to former Republican Sen. Allen Simpson, “Reagan raised taxes 11 times in his administration,” including payroll taxes. Phasing out the Bush tax cuts over 3-5 years would produce $3.6 trillion and put a real dent in the deficit.

Lankford loudly supports the idiotic Ryan Medicare scam that the Congressional Budget Office says would cost seniors nearly $7,000 a year more for the same benefits. Was that God or the devil calling you to service, Mr. Lankford?

—D.W. Tiffee
Norman

Tiffee ran as an independent for U.S. Congress in 1994.

Oklahoma Gazette provides an open forum for the discussion of all points of view in its Letters to the Editor section. The Gazette reserves the right to edit letters for length and clarity. Letters can be mailed, faxed, or emailed to rcollins@okgazette.com, but be sure to include a city of residence and contact number for verification.

 
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