Peter Goldmark's reference to the Republicans in Congress, who fought for spending cuts and a balanced-budget amendment, as "cult-like" and "extremist" is appalling ["Can we actually govern ourselves?" Opinion, July 31]. However, he unfortunately is not alone in his use of distasteful rhetoric among those who disagree with their steadfastness. Unbelievably, over the course of the negotiations, Republicans holding firm have been referred to as "suicide bombers," "terrorists" and "tea-party hobbits."

Remarkably, Goldmark believes that cutting spending will cause higher unemployment. Does he not remember the stimulus bill that was passed to prevent unemployment from going over 8 percent? Unemployment is now at 9.2 percent. We've tried the big-spending Keynesian way, and it failed.

According to Goldmark the only way to reduce our deficit is through raising tax revenue. Closing loopholes and ending subsidies may be helpful. However, it is baffling that some believe that at a time when our economic growth is almost nonexistent and job creation is frighteningly low, that we should threaten the innovators, risk-takers and small-business owners with the possibility of tax increases.

Margaret Read Federico, Massapequa
 

We have lived with the Bush-era tax cuts now for over a decade, and it's clear the policy isn't working. President Barack Obama has continued the tax cuts, and the unemployment numbers have worsened.

The tea party has some people convinced that we need to cut taxes and government even more, but that would exacerbate the problem.

Obviously, tax cuts don't create jobs. The private sector has not come to the rescue and has been outsourcing jobs to other countries.

We need to increase tax revenues by having the wealthy Americans, along with corporate America, pay their fair share. The extra revenue must be used to create jobs so that consumers will start spending again and buying houses.

Phil Tamberino, South Huntington
 

The three ring circus has, thankfully, now entered the post-crisis stage, with everyone staking out territory in the battle over cuts to come. It is not a good sign that cooperation will reign when Vice President Joe Biden refers to tea party Republicans as terrorists.

The English language has suffered greatly in the debate. For all of the scare talk about a "default," there was never any real prospect of a default on the U.S. debt obligations. Yet every talking head in sight needed to comment on the impending "default crisis." Crisis, yes, default, no.

The phrases "millionaires and billionaires" has become a bedrock of liberal commentary. What do they mean, and just who are they talking about? My understanding of millionaire is someone whose net worth is over $1 million. If you own a house and have a vested pension fund, you probably qualify under this definition. I do. Yet, my income is nowhere near the $250,000 family threshold that has been Obama's cutoff for pledging no tax increase.

We also now have to consider "tax increases" or "revenue increases." They are hardly the same. Historically, raising and lowering income tax rates does not guarantee more or less federal income tax revenue, so the argument over rates is just plain silly. The one constant is that federal revenues increase when the economy is going great. I doubt even the tea party folks would object to enhanced revenue due to a good economy.

The "fair share" that the "wealthiest Americans and corporations" should pay is often referred to, but never discussed. What is fair? The top 2 percent of wage earners already pay over 40 percent of the income tax.

The country greatly needs an adult and civil debate on these issues that leads to a consensus. It would help if the participants, including the president, used fewer sound bites intended to rile up the faithful, and started using the English language with some precision.

Roger Roess, Garden City