We need to cut the national debt, but everyone should share in the pain, especially the people who can afford it most — the rich.

How about if we agree to cut the "discretionary" spending and increase taxes on the rich in equal amounts. A 5 percent tax increase on the rich would produce around $4 trillion over 10 years, and we could cut other spending a like amount.

That's still not fair, but it's fairer than putting it all on the backs of those who can afford it least, such as people who depend upon Social Security and Medicare. The rich don't need either of these programs, so they don't care if they get cut.

The average working American received a half of 1 percent pay raise last year while the average CEO received a 23 percent pay raise — 46 times as much. Yet the Republicans want to cut even more taxes for the rich while slashing vital services to the elderly, the disabled, retirees and working Americans.

The income gap in the U.S. is bigger than it has ever been and bigger than anywhere else in the world. When will ordinary Americans wake up to the fact that we are being systematically robbed?

Julia Roberts Liddle