Arrow-right Camera

Cliff higher than reported

President Barack Obama says the rich aren’t paying their fair share of taxes. Here’s what the government isn’t saying: Current tax revenue is the same as pre-crash 2007. We have a spending problem, not a revenue problem. Eliminating the federal budget deficit – $1.3 trillion – we would still outspend tax revenue by $500 billion. More taxes on the wealthy have little deficit impact. Our $16 trillion debt will grow larger.

But wait, there’s more: The feds don’t follow accounting rules about disclosing liabilities. Experts who served on President Bill Clinton’s tax and entitlement reform commission calculate $63.3 trillion in Medicare and Social Security obligations, so the real debt is $87 trillion. To service $87 trillion, tax revenue must increase from $2.3 trillion to more than $8 trillion.

How hard is that? If taxes took 100 percent from people earning over $66,000, and 100 percent of corporate income, this adds to $6.5 trillion; still short by $1.5 trillion. Financing the real obligation with more debt, as we do now, exceeds the entire world’s credit-market capacity. Still think taxing the rich will take care of things? The fiscal cliff is only the beginning.

Craig Nicol

Coeur d’Alene


Top stories in Opinion

Editorial: Washington state lawmakers scramble to keep public in the dark

State lawmakers want to create a legislative loophole in Washington’s Public Records Act. While it’s nice to see Democrats and Republicans working together for once, it’s just too bad that their agreement is that the public is the enemy. As The Spokesman-Review’s Olympia reporter Jim Camden explained Feb. 22, lawmakers could vote on a bill today responding to a court order that the people of Washington are entitled to review legislative records.