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Your Opinion: One oath is enough

Dear Editor:

Upon becoming a member of Congress, our representative, Vicky Hartzler, took this oath:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

Unfortunately, she decided to take this second oath, Grover Norquist’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge:

“I, Vicky Hartzler ... will, one, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses; and two, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.”

That second oath locks her into supporting a policy that could well cause our government to default on its debt obligations and throw financial markets into chaos.

Consider the circumstances of our nation in the 1930s and 1940s, and suppose the U.S. government had balanced-budget and noincrease-in-taxes requirements. How could our government have addressed the business failures, unemployment, and poverty of the Great Depression? How could it have had the financial means to finance our military and achieve victory during World War II?

While we must deal with our national debt, to do so with the House Republican’s one-sided program restricted to cuts in government programs would lead to lots of unfortunate consequences: increased unemployment and lower demand for retail goods and services, crumbling infrastructures, weakened public education, fewer police officers and firemen, cutbacks in scientific research, increased costs for family medical care, less protection against fraud in the marketplace, and less hope and dignity for Americans who are disabled or retired.

Issue-oriented letters to the editor in response to this or about other local topics are welcome. All letters should be limited to 400 words. The author's name must appear with the letter, and the name, address and phone number provided for verification. Letters that cannot be verified by telephone will not be published. Send letters for publication to editor@newstribune.com

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