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Spending cuts not a cure-all

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You want to balance the federal budget? No problem. Congress and the president enact a spending budget that represents the country’s priorities and values. Then adjust the tax rates to bring in that amount of revenue. Balanced budget! There’s a lot of talk about deficits and spending; has been for years. The Republicans cut taxes repeatedly, saying that would force spending cuts. It didn’t, even when they controlled the whole government. Deficits come from spending more than we pay in taxes. If you can’t cut spending, you have to raise taxes. The third way — borrow — has pretty much run its course. Among Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries, only Mexico has a lower tax rate. Federal tax revenues as a percent of GDP are at a 60-year low. The number of federal employees is less than when Lyndon Johnson was president, when there were 100 million fewer Americans. Cut spending if you can, but that isn’t going to solve the deficit problem by itself. It’s time to admit that government services are important and they cost money. That means collecting enough taxes to pay for them. Art Hager, Auburn