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Fiscal cliff? What's the big deal?

Going off the fiscal cliff would not be the end of the world ("Obama talks tough," Nov. 15). The U.S. defense budget now totals more than spending on defense by the next top six countries combined even as we are getting out of two foreign wars. Surely that budget can stand a 10 percent cut.

The checks I received from the Bush tax cuts were only for about $150. But if workers expect to receive Social Security benefits when they retire, they need to fund that program with the 2 percent payroll tax just like current recipients have done for their entire working careers. Congress should remove the earnings cap to make it sustainable.

Capital gains are income and should be taxed at the same rate as ordinary income. Millionaires are paying 60 percent lower tax rates now than they did years ago, and those reductions obviously have not created jobs in this country, no matter how many times John Boehner says otherwise.

The 1 percent uptick in unemployment analysts expect the fiscal cliff would create will be a temporary blip. The depression-prediction math just doesn't seem to add up, and Congress can always tweak and backdate anything truly hurtful. Is the information industry just regurgitating partisan political press releases, or am I missing something?

Dan Griffin, Perry Hall

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