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Letter: Time is now to pay off government debt

There is much wringing of hands as we approach the so-called fiscal cliff. Unless Congress can agree to take action to prevent it, at the first of the year taxes will automatically rise and federal government spending will automatically be cut significantly.

What confuses me is why this would be so terrible. If we want to reduce our deficit and pay down our massive government debt, there are only two ways to do so:  raise revenues and/or cut spending. I think we can fully expect those measures to be at least somewhat painful.

And this is only the beginning, a first installment if you will. We have lived far beyond our means for decades now.  It will take many spending cuts and higher taxes, all probably painful, to pay off our debt of 16 trillion dollars. The sooner we begin, the easier it will be.

— George Nagel