When dealing with the fiscal cliff, jobs come first.

That’s what Robert Reich said in his recent blog post, “Don’t Cut Investments in Future Prosperity.” His advice to Congress is not to cut the budget deficit as long as unemployment remains high.

The government must have sufficient revenues to perform all its functions without shifting costs to the states and limiting the resources needed to promote economic growth.

The wealthy surely can pay taxes at a higher rate; we currently have record low tax rates. During the Clinton administration, tax rates were only a bit higher, and we had a booming economy.

Playing around with deductions and loopholes won’t bring in sufficient funds and doesn’t deal with the fundamental unfairness of the current tax code.

Don’t cut funds for our future prosperity — for education, research and development, environmental protection and infrastructure These are investments in our future and the returns will be greater than the investments. Many of the programs supported by these taxes go directly to the states and are already being slashed as a result of “caps” placed on them by last year’s Budget Control Act.

If cuts need to be made, the Defense Department is where to go. Our defense budget exceeds the combined spending of the other top 13 military spenders. Don’t sacrifice Medicare, Social Security, or the safety net programs upon which many citizens depend.

Cut corporate welfare — support to agribusiness, oil and gas companies, big pharmaceutical and insurance companies. They are doing fine without taxpayers’ help.

Cutting government spending will cause the economy to contract and result in further job losses, Reich says, pointing to the impact of government cuts in Europe. We must sustain our economy. One way to do that is to maintain the investments in our future.

Joan Sturmthal


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