Willing to pay more taxes

I am distressed at the unwillingness of Congress to consider raising taxes to help lower the deficit. My husband and I make a bit more than $250,000 a year. Both of us believe that it is only fair for us and those like us to share a larger portion of the burden of this debt than those who earn less. In the days of Reagan and Clinton, top earners were taxed at a higher rate than is the case today, and the national debt was under control.

My husband and I donate to charities, but private charities cannot offer the support for those on the brink that is given by programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Nor can they improve education, mend our infrastructure, or pay for other projects crucial to the health of our nation.

I have written to my representatives, urging them to raise our taxes, especially on dividends and capital gains, for which we do not lift a finger. They write back with boilerplate letters promising not to raise taxes, showing that they have paid no attention to what I asked.

Alice van Buren Kelley, Wayne, akelley@sas.upenn.edu

GOP, where are the jobs?

The GOP's biggest rationale for not raising corporate taxes is that it would hurt the "job creators." Saturday, The Inquirer had a front-page headline, "Merck to lay off 13,000 workers," despite a 7 percent increase in profits and sales over the same quarter last year. Clearly this "job creator" is just another example of corporate greed and self-interest.

The tax cuts given by Bush have only served to line the pockets of corporate executives. They have not created jobs. Having 13,000 more people collecting unemployment is hardly going to help the economy or the taxpayers.

And by the way, Congressmen Jim Gerlach, Pat Meehan, Mike Fitzpatrick, Jon Runyan, and Frank LoBiondo ("Congressmen say views represent their districts," Saturday), I am not part of a "radical group," but I do think that balancing the budget will require millionaires and corporations to pay their fair share of the tax burden.

Barbara Lawson, Hatboro

Pa. roads, bridges need money

Last week, the American Society of Civil Engineers released "Failure to Act: the Economic Impact of Current Investment Trends in Surface Transportation Infrastructure." This study should cause deep concern.

Pennsylvania has some of the busiest highways in the country, and more failing bridges than any other state, and while truck traffic is rising, our road capacity isn't. Our transit systems, which could help reduce traffic, are underfunded and cutting routes.

So what, you say? Nationwide in 2010, our failing transportation infrastructure resulted in $129 billion in added costs for Americans. That's $32 billion in delays, $97 billion in vehicle operating costs. If we continue to shortchange the funding needed, then in less than a decade, household incomes fall by $7,000 and U.S. exports fall by $28 billion.

Investing in transportation infrastructure creates jobs. Taxes and fees to pay for roads are unpopular, but not maintaining our systems costs even more.

Ann M. Tomalavage, President, Philadelphia Section, American Society of Civil Engineers, Pottstown

With debt deal, Obama caved in

If I am ever taken hostage, I want President Obama to work for my release. Sure, there would be some tense times early on, when he stands on principle and refuses to negotiate. But I am confident that ultimately my safety would be secured. As his willingness to accept a "deal" with the radical right in Congress on deficit reduction demonstrates, and as he has shown time and again, the president is prepared not only to negotiate with, but to capitulate to, the demands of those holding a gun to one's head.

Peter Friedrichs, Swarthmore, pafriedrichs@gmail.com

McConnell trumped Obama

When you see Sen. Mitch McConnell smiling like a Cheshire cat you know he got the best of the debt ceiling deal. Once again President Obama capitulated. He could have used the 14th Amendment but he didn't want to risk being overruled by the courts.

The next election should be a great one. Should Mitt Romney be nominated we can have the flip-flop debates between him and President Obama.

Ron Costello, Warminster, rrncostello@gmail.com