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Sen. Dick Durbin responds to letter

Sen. Dick Durbin
(Brian Jackson/Sun-Times)

Sen. Dick Durbin (Brian Jackson/Sun-Times)

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Updated: January 7, 2013 7:16AM

Senator responds

This week, a letter writer criticized what he felt is my position on taxing the rich, reducing the debt and protecting the safety net. Let me set the record straight.

I do believe the wealthy should pay their fair share. I voted for a bill raising taxes on those making more than $250,000 and protecting middle-income families from income tax increases this summer. That bill is being held up in the House of Representatives by the Speaker.

I support closing tax loopholes, limiting deductions and elimination of some of the carve-outs and giveaways in our tax code — but only if those changes improve the progressivity of the tax code. We cannot put the burden of the deficit on the middle class.

Any attempt to cut our nation’s debt must also protect the safety net for our nation’s seniors and the most vulnerable.

Social security is not a driver of our debt and need not be part of debt reduction talks. We should, however, empanel a bipartisan commission to look at options for extending the program’s viability beyond its projected 20-year solvency.

And there are small changes we can make now, such as making those who can afford it pay more, which will help protect and sustain Medicare and Medicaid without cutting benefits to beneficiaries.

I am a progressive, and I voted for the Simpson-Bowles proposal because progressives need to be at the table for negotiations about the debt. If we don’t engage in these talks in a productive way, changes to the programs we care most about will be dictated to us rather than shaped by us.

Instead of just saying no or proposing a laundry list of laudable but unreachable tax alternatives, as the letter writer did, we must work together to find a long-term, balanced solution to our nation’s debt.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)

Royals aren’t real news

Am I the only one who’s sick of all the Kate pregnancy news? Do we have to listen to nine months of baby names, if it’s a boy or a girl, what the baby might look like, is it twins? I keep changing channels on TV, but it’s all Kate and the royal family. Enough. Get on with real news.

Millie Gorelik, Highland Park

Grateful for Koschman story

Thank you for following the case of the Daley nephew who was involved in David Koschman’s death. I have had no voice in that, but you have.

Roger Nall, Near North Side

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