Debt talks need honest dialogue
Without blaming one party or the other for the standoff regarding the budget deficit, I offer a couple of ideas about process: Philosopher Karl Popper advised adversaries to assume the attitude that “I may be wrong and you may be right, and by an effort we may get nearer the truth.”
Author Reuel Howe, in his book “The Miracle of Dialogue,” reinforces the prerequisite attitude of fairness and honest dialogue, which will produce seemingly miraculous results.
The key element within each suggestion is that discussions begin with an intellectually honest attitude — considering the possibility of being wrong in one’s stance on an issue, even if only very slightly wrong, and that the other party may be at least partly right.
Within today’s highly toxic scenario involving Democrats and Republicans, this sensible notion seems to be absent. Might leaders within each party serve their constituencies better by expressing a more willing, honest and open-minded attitude? This certainly could serve as a model for all of us who face challenging dilemmas.
JOHN H. WILSON
Renowned economist and author Walter E. Williams has noted that federal revenue has stayed at close to 20 percent of the gross domestic product almost annually since 1960, but the federal government has annually outspent its revenue. This out-of-control federal spending of far more than the government takes in has resulted in today’s massive deficit.
Raising the debt ceiling is an insane solution to solving a debt problem. When has there ever been a case of someone borrowing himself out of debt? That’s half-the-distance-to-the-goal-line thinking. We’ll never get out of debt by thinking like that.
What country has taxed itself into prosperity? Are there any such countries? How did they do it? How long did the “prosperity” last? How widespread was it?
If anyone can provide specific examples from history, I’m all ears.
It seems to me that our government does not have a revenue problem. It has a spending problem.
Greed no virtue
Columnist Cal Thomas’ reactionary mindset regarding wealth and poverty seems to be frozen in the Gilded Age (“Obama preoccupied with punishing the rich,” July 13 Opinion). He lionizes the wealthy, saying “they built and sustained the nation.” He approves their piling up of material possessions as a sign of achievement and a “reward for risks taken.” He has only contempt for the poor, wondering, “What do the unsuccessful produce?”
Vanderbilts, Rockefellers and Astors did not build the railroads, work in the mills and mines, or forge the steel that propelled the industrial revolution. It was the poor — men, women and children with appalling work conditions, long hours and meager wages — who enabled the sociopathic princes of industry to live in the luxury they thought they so richly deserved.
Progressive Era ideology, President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal reforms and the labor movement reined in the greed of the capitalists and enabled wages and living conditions of workers to improve.
However, overweening avarice is hard to keep in check. The richest 10 percent control two-thirds of American net worth.
Greed is not a virtue. Democracy flourishes in an egalitarian distribution of income. The concentration of wealth in the hands of a few only leads to plutocracy.
Only taxpayers pay
It’s amazing to me that every time there is a problem, our president turns it into class warfare. Unless we raise the debt ceiling, we are told, Social Security recipients, our military or others will have their paychecks withheld.
I have concluded that the only people who are threatened are the ones who are paying taxes, or have paid in the past and are retired. Why are the welfare and Medicaid people not even mentioned?
I took a cut in pay two years ago to help out where I work. Shouldn’t all people be part of the solution, payers as well as takers? The president, Congress and every other elected official should take a cut in pay and lead by example.
When someone says the government paid for something, remind him that the taxpayers did — the government only took the money from us.We must start living within our means. No more taxes. Don’t raise the debt ceiling.
Names left out
The highly interesting and informative article “Made in Kansas” (July 17 Eagle) included the sidebar “Empires created by Kansans.”
While a number of highly deserving Kansas entrepreneurs received just acclaim, several were conspicuous by their absence.
Did not Olive Ann and Walter Beech, Clyde Cessna and Dwayne Wallace, and Bill Lear create and nurture powerhouse firms that continue to dominate in the world marketplace of general aviation? Even if native-born status was a requisite for inclusion, I would have thought native Kansans Cessna, Wallace and Olive Ann Beech deserved to make the cut.
Kudos to Travis Heying for the wonderful old/new photo composite of the southeast corner of Broadway and Douglas (“Sit-in site to be hotel,” July 15 Eagle).
PAT MacDONALDBel Aire