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Letters: How should we help public budgets?

Johnson City Press • May 3, 2020 at 6:00 AM

With our Question of the Week we asked how our leaders should cope with public budget shortfalls caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some of the responses we received.

Get our fiscal house in order

All local governments should be responsible for protecting their own budgets. Our total national debt stood at over $22 trillion before the pandemic started. Our federal spending is totally out of control and has been for years.

Both political parties have been complicit in this madness. For the feds to borrow or print this money is just making that situation much worse. They are sending us money they don’t have. If we are ever going to get control of our long-term financial future, we must stop this madness.

We can’t help ourselves locally, as well. Examples abound, but I only get 300 words. Our current total debt in Johnson City is over $306 million. Total Washington County debt is over $159 million. Tough decisions need to be made.

Thus far there is no evidence that either local or Washington politicians are up to the task. Local politicians want an easy way out. Let’s let the feds borrow the money and send it to us. After all, it’s free money and we won’t have to make the tough decisions necessary to address this situation.

This will explode our debt. Long ago we lit the fuse on a financial time bomb and handed it to our children. It continues to burn. If it is not addressed it will explode one day. At that point, the finger pointing will begin, and future generations will suffer.

Maya Mcginnis is president of the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. She is one of the smartest people alive on federal spending. She was recently asked how things would end if current trends continue.

She replied, “No one knows how this will end, but we do know with certainty that it will not end well.”

DAVID MILLER
Johnson City

Cut politicians’ pay

During this quarantine period, many Johnson Citians and Tennesseans have lost their jobs, been furloughed, or laid off. Many small businesses have closed and their owners’ incomes drastically reduced. However, not a single politician or executive level (local, state, federal) government employee has had a reduction in income or benefits.

I suggest a six-month moratorium on politician and executive pay to get the budgets back in balance.

BOB JUSTICE
Johnson City

Spend tax dollars at home

It is past time for the federal government to stop sending billions of taxpayers’ dollars to foreign nations, and use that money to keep state and local governments functioning normally.

Since this president has stated that states need to take care of themselves, then the same should apply to the federal government. Stop your wasteful spending on senseless programs and political positions. Stop hiring inept relatives and friends. Then, put professionals in their places.

Just reallocate the money so America will continue to be the world’s leading nation. Just look at this problem the same way you would handle charity donations. You have a set amount of income, and as your income increases, your charitable contributions increase proportionally. But when your income goes down dramatically, then you must cut your charitable contributions accordingly. It does not take a genius to understand this reasoning.

I would also add that lobbyists need to be eliminated entirely. They are always begging for the government to handout tax dollars to businesses that need to pay their own way. America has reached its day of reckoning, so to speak. We either take care of our own people first, or it will be us who will be begging other countries for handouts.

LARRY W. GILBERT
Johnson City