August 28th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Should government raise taxes to deal with deficit?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/10/art.getty.money.jpg caption=" Should the government raise taxes to deal with the deficit?"]FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

With a $9 trillion deficit facing this country over the next 10 years, it is almost inevitable that taxes will have to go up at some point. The questions are: When and by how much? The answers are probably soon and a lot.

As the government continues to spend more than it takes in, it keeps borrowing more – especially from overseas. These countries, like China and Japan, pretty much own us and can demand higher interest rates or decide to put their money somewhere else.

Experts say if that happened, taxes would shoot sky high in the U.S. and the government would only be able to provide the most basic public services while the social safety net would "evaporate."

The problem with raising taxes now is we're still fighting our way out of a recession, and most economists think that's the wrong time to make people shell out more.

For his part, President Obama is promising to keep taxes low for most people. The president's plan to raise taxes on only the wealthiest is estimated to raise about $600 billion over the next 10 years – but that's only a drop in the bucket when you consider a $9 trillion deficit during that same time.

Tax experts suggest Congress will eventually have to take pretty drastic measures, like making the entire tax system less complicated. Also, income tax revenue alone likely won't be enough to raise the money we'll need, which is why some suggest a value-added tax on all goods and services.

Here’s my question to you: Should the government raise taxes to deal with the deficit?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Deficit • Taxes
August 28th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Who will assume Sen. Kennedy's leadership role?

The American flag flies at half staff Tuesday following the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy. (PHOTO CREDIT: CHIP SOMODEVILLA/GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

When it comes to filling Sen. Ted Kennedy's leadership shoes, it doesn't seem at first glance that there is anyone who can.

As Politico puts it, no other senator possesses the combination of "celebrity, seniority, personal charm, legislative savvy and ideological zeal that made Kennedy the most effective liberal in a generation.”

Those who worked with him call Kennedy "irreplaceable.” Many have said the senator's presence was sorely missed in the health care debate. Because of his failing health, he was unable to spend much time on Capitol Hill the last few months. Although Kennedy was a staunch liberal, he was known for compromising with Republicans – a skill pretty much lacking in both parties these days.

Perhaps the only senator who had similar star power was Hillary Clinton. And, before she became Pres. Obama's secretary of state, some aides had hoped she would assume a Kennedy-like role in the Senate.

That's not to say there aren't plenty of senators who would like to assume Kennedy's role. They include folks like Senators John Kerry, Chris Dodd, Tom Harkin, Dick Durbin and Russ Feingold.

In the end though, the party may not be able to find a single figure with the personality, clout and popularity to replace Ted Kennedy. Sad really, that the greatest deliberative body in the world – home to the likes of Hubert Humphrey and Everett Dirksen – has become little more than a partisan snake pit where not a whole lot worthwhile gets done anymore.

Here’s my question to you: Who is likely to assume Ted Kennedy's leadership role in the Senate?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Senate • Ted Kennedy