Readers Write (April 12): Federal budget, Iraq war, bicycling, colonoscopy billboard

  • Updated: April 11, 2013 - 6:34 PM
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FEDERAL BUDGET

Renewed attention, yet still not serious

President Obama’s plan is not serious. How can it be the framework for anything? There are no reforms — a tiny, nearly immeasurable slowdown in the growth of spending far in the future, additions to an incomprehensible tax code and a budget that never balances. If this is serious, what’s ridiculous?

Why is it only the Republicans who are responsible for balancing the budget? The president should have put forth his plan (a real one) so we could compare it to something. He submits his plan for losing America, and Republicans are supposed to compromise with that? It is like playing Russian roulette and compromising on the number of bullets.

The Star Tribune could dramatically simplify the discussion by routinely providing two baseline numbers: the percentages of debt and spending to GDP. Former Comptroller David Walker suggests that 60 percent is a sustainable rate for our debt. Total government spending (federal, state and local) has touched 40 percent of GDP in the past couple of years and hovers there today.

These two numbers could take much of the noise out of the discussion. Today, only policy and budget wonks have any idea of these numbers, and most of them are confused as well.

Ben Riechers, Coon Rapids

• • •

Obama thinks that a small tweak in the inflation protection of Social Security benefits is a political way to get a compromise with Republicans. The duplicitous Republicans are already calling it an attack on seniors. You can see where the political posturing is going for the midterm elections.

Of course, this all could be solved with a hefty carbon tax that would spare benefits and reduce the deficit at the same time it reduces global warming. I just don’t see a reason for what Obama is doing, except to inflict the pain of austerity on seniors.

Bruce Fisher, St. Louis Park

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IRAQ WAR

Saddam’s evils did not justify U.S. actions

Jeffrey Goldberg (“What of Iraq war? Ask an Iraqi,” April 11) raises good questions but neglects a most important one: What did the Iraq war do to the United States?

We should never have initiated that war, not just because it cost us trillions of dollars and thousands of lives, and not just because it cost Iraq even more. A claim that Saddam Hussein was killing a million people in no way justifies the United States killing thousands of people.

We have not removed Mugabe from Zimbabwe or the Kims from North Korea; we have not replaced the leadership in Myanmar or Iran. But we singled out Iraq for our wrath — because of its leader, some say.

The Iraq war made the United States into a global ogre; it used the world’s most awesome power without provocation and without invitation from the people of the country. That is why it will always be seen as unjust, no matter how bad Saddam may have been.

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