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Deficit must be reduced

Posted: October 30, 2012 5:18 p.m.
Updated: October 31, 2012 5:00 a.m.

No matter which candidate wins the presidency and no matter which party controls the House and the Senate, elected officials would do well to pay attention to level-head business leaders when it comes to the horrid budget deficits this country is facing. Democrats decry any kind of spending cuts, while Republicans want to close the door on tax increases, period.

The CEOs of more than 80 large U. S. corporations have banded together to try to convey to politicians in Washington the cold, hard truth: that the deficit must be reduced with a combination of tax-revenue increases and spending cuts. In a statement released last week, the executives say any viable plan must limit the growth of health-care spending, make Social Security solvent and address pro-growth  tax reform which “broadens the base, lowers rates and reduces the deficit.”

Nobody wants tax increases. But the execs put it simply when it comes to trying to get the deficit under control and having to use both spending cuts and tax increases: “There is no possible way; you can do the arithmetic a million different ways” to avoid raising taxes,” says Mark Bertoloni, CEO of Aetna. “You can’t tax your way to fix this problem, and you can’t cut entitlements enough to fix this problem.”

We maintain a vague hope that when this campaign is over, elected officials in Washington will finally face the gravity of this situation and will come together for meaningful reform. So far, they have shown no will to do that.

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