Let's turn away from the cliff | BrainerdDispatch.com | Brainerd, Minnesota

Let's turn away from the cliff

Posted: December 2, 2010 - 8:26pm

"Simply unacceptable" said current House Speaker Pelosi to the plan presented by President Obama's Deficit Reduction Commission. The plan, presented by commission co-chairs Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, calls for tough choices like major cuts in government spending, gas tax increases, and other politically unpopular measures. Republicans offered to consider the proposals, but overall there was little Congressional enthusiasm for the severe action needed to deal with our huge deficits.

There is a program which would tackle state and federal deficits, enhance employment, and deal with looming environment issues.

First, end subsidies for wind, solar, and biofuels along with tax breaks for the fossil fuel industry. Restructure and reduce the massively unfunded pension benefits for local, state, and federal employees. Put all retired federal employees on Medicare. Offer that plan to states. Begin rapid withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan. Place a three year moratorium on earmarks and freeze discretionary federal budgets.

On the revenue side, let the Bush tax cuts expire. Return inheritance taxes to prior levels. Increase the gas tax by 20 cents/year for five years.

Close down coal plants by building more combined cycle natural gas plants and nuclear plants. Build a high speed intercity rail system in the Eastern half of the U.S. with U.S. manufacturing and U.S. employees. We can license technology for this as China has done with Alstom of France. Increase research spending on areas which will result in the technology companies of the future.

This is a start, but at least it turns us away from the cliff.

Rolf Westgard

Deerwood