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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

June 1, 2009 at 4:30 PM

Value-added tax

Bring back Bill Clinton’s tax sanity

“National sales tax idea getting fresh look” [page one, May 28] was headlined incorrectly. There is nothing “fresh” about this right-wing tactic to tax the middle class and poor into extinction.

As the article states, a value added tax (VAT) is “hugely regressive.” OK, it’s hugely regressive, would decrease the taxes of the wealthiest on the planet and other countries do it, so what’s not to like about it? Maybe there is another way to tackle our problems.

Former President Bill Clinton raised taxes on the wealthy and lowered them for the working and middle classes. This produced the longest sustained economic expansion in American history and produced budgetary surpluses, allowing the government to begin paying the massive debt left by Ronald Reagan. Clinton left the Bush administration with a $236 billion budget surplus and a forecast 10-year year surplus estimated at $5.6 trillion.

In 2002, Bush Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill confronted Vice President Cheney about Bush’s proposal to cut taxes by another $674 billion dollars, stating the country was “moving toward a fiscal crisis.” The Vice President’s retort? “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter.”

We don’t need a VAT. We need the same “tax sanity” Bill Clinton used.

— Larry Dennison, Port Townsend

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