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A Mounting Peril in the Federal Deficit

September 10, 2004

The Times correctly points out ("Deep Shade of Red Seen in Deficit," Sept. 8) that voters are not really concerned about the federal deficit and the cost of the national debt.

The seriousness of the ever-growing national debt is not often mentioned by politicians because the only solution is to raise taxes and/or make draconian cuts in the federal budget. The reason for this silence goes back to the 1984 Democratic National Convention.

Under President Reagan, the national debt had soared, mostly because of the tax cuts he got through the Congress. In his acceptance speech, Walter Mondale clearly implied that he would ask for new taxes to cut the deficit. Although what he intended to do was really in the best interests of the nation, this declaration was political suicide.

Reducing the $7.4-trillion national debt can indeed be put off to the future, but the yearly interest on the debt will continue to grow. It is already huge. For comparison, look at the current total cost of the war in Iraq. The latest figure is $131 billion, according to the website costof war.com. The interest paid on the national debt so far this fiscal year, with one month to go, is $309 billion.

Wake up, voters!

George Schroedter

Glendora

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What does the federal budget deficit of $1 trillion created by President Bush over the last three years really mean? It means every single American now owes $3,600 extra. Like any other debt, the deficit needs to be repaid, with interest.

Every man, woman and child in America now owes that amount.

No wonder Social Security is in danger of imploding.

Sanford M. Gage

Marina del Rey

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