August 9, 2022

Letters: How the Debt Ballooned, and How to Deflate It

To the Editor:

“U.S. Has Binged. Soon It’ll Be Time to Pay the Tab.” (Fair Game, May 29) echoed what historians already know — that nations with empires to maintain soon run out of money to maintain them. It happened with Rome and the British Empire, and now it’s happening with our own.

Since Ronald Reagan was president, we have fought both our hot and cold wars by borrowing without having the money to pay for them. And we have starved the beast of government revenue by creating policies that transferred huge amounts of wealth to the wealthiest. This, in turn, has resulted in starving the biggest engine of our growth: the lower- and middle-income consumers who now have declining real incomes and wealth.

As developing countries begin to mature — and with notably less debt — they are becoming the engines of growth and will be its future dominant players.

Harlan Green

Santa Barbara, Calif., May 30

To the Editor:

How can the United States pay for its binges? We can count the ways:

Use pay-as-you-go budgeting, means-testing for all government assistance programs, sunset provisions for agencies and programs that have completed their missions. End pork-barrel item spending and stop paying farmers to not grow crops. Abolish corporate welfare subsidies in the form of favorable tax code deductions. Start a real campaign against waste, fraud and abuse. And the list goes on.

If we don’t take action, not only the poor, but also our vast middle class will suffer. And if we kick the can to future generations, there will eventually be no safety net for anyone. Larry Penner

Great Neck, N.Y., May 29

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