Debt limit is just diversion from spending problem

Re: "Hitting the debt limit; what bills would be paid?" Jan. 13

Congress steadfastly refuses to do what is needed to balance the budget. Taxes on the rich or poor are just a diversionary tactic, nothing more.The only way to balance the budget is to stop spending money we don't have.

Entire departments could be scrapped. Start with the Department of Education, which steals power from the states. This department, along with a student loan policy that only results in bigger profits to colleges, has managed to raise the cost of an education more than 375 percent. Yet, it has not increased scores on any tests, instead managing a decline in math and science scores.

Our Department of Energy has only managed to raise the price of all energy in general by insisting on Green Energy investments, severe restrictions on the production of fossil fuels, including Draconian restrictions on coal so restrictive as to shut down entire mining and power producing operations.

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Social Security is broke because the retirement age was never raised as it should have been, and every representative and senator came up with new, creative ways to give away its funds. At no time was the obvious assumption made that people should be responsible for their own retirement.

If people were free to plan and make unrestricted 401(k) and IRA deposits, instead of living within government restrictions, most of us would be able to retire by age 50. All we need now are about 600 new elected officials with a small amount of courage, and some interest in running the country instead of their own re-elections.

Randy Mathson

-- Alexandria

Wind power makes economic sense

Re: "Tax hikes on the rich to pay for corporate welfare," Jan. 9

To summarize Tim Carney's column, a bipartisan-supported fiscal cliff deal has passed that will keep Americans at work across the economy in manufacturing, construction and other sectors.

Congress and the president saw a policy that was working, realized that American jobs were at stake, and wanted to continue an American-supported success story. With estimates that wind power could support 500,000 American jobs by generating 20 percent of our electricity by 2030, it's a success worth continuing.

My biggest issue with Carney's piece is that it doesn't include the return on investment for Americans in domestic manufacturing and research and development, technology improvements and economic development across rural America.

Equipped with the production tax credit, the wind industry has been able to lower the cost of wind power by more than 90 percent, support the heavy manufacturing sector with 500 facilities across the United States, make local tax and lease payments to rural counties, provide power to the equivalent of over 12 million American homes and foster economic development in all 50 states.

Wind power more than pays for the tax relief the production tax credit provides through taxes paid by new projects over their operating lifetimes. It has attracted annual private investment of over $15 billion over the past five years.

Americans support policies promoting wind power. According to a new white paper from Navigant's Pike Research, a significant majority (66 percent) said their view of wind energy was "very favorable" or "favorable." When you look at the complete picture, supporting wind power just makes sense.

-- Liz Salerno

Chief economist, American Wind Energy Association

Colin Powell is a RINO

OK, I'm a moderate Republican and maybe moving toward being a libertarian. However, one thing I do know: Colin Powell is no moderate Republican -- or even a Republican in any real sense of the word.

Not even the most moderate Republican could support President Obama's economic policies and Powell has supported Obama in both elections.

-- Craig Truskey

Midland, Va.