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Sequestration conundrum

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.
February 21, 2013 1:47:03 PM PST
Let's talk taxes and loopholes. My dad used to preach that we should never complain about paying taxes. "Just means you're making money," is what he'd say.

And the Will Rogers logic of his wisdom always seemed to stick with me. So I don't really complain about paying taxes. Except when the pain's not spread around. And so why is it that billionaires like Warren Buffett - a good and smart guy whose call for a level tax playing field started this and created the so-called Buffett Rule so he'd pay the same tax rate as his middle class secretary - are still not paying their fair shares under the new tax hikes? Only people who actually earn money are paying a lot more. With all due respect to my dad's admonition, is that fair? I'm just sayin'.

And maybe in keeping with that, there's an item in the budget that's getting some scrutiny - not so much for how much money it might save taxpayers - just $300 million, which, out of $85 billion in spending cuts on March 1 is chump change - but for the message it sends. It's the tax break that gives private jet owners the ability to accelerate depreciation - in 5 years rather than 7 years for commercial planes. That's 28% faster, which means more money more quickly.

Again, in total it's not a lot compared to the problem at hand. But what do we tell, say, senior citizens whose programs are about to be slashed that the government can't afford them but can afford to give jet owners a tax break?

Please - if anyone has the answer, let me know. ASAP.

Meanwhile, more dire warnings from government agencies that the $85 billion cuts will hurt Americans: This time it's air traffic controllers getting furloughed, which means fewer flights being able to land and take off, just in time for spring breaks! It also means longer security lines because Homeland Security will also cut back TSA workers.

We'll have the latest on the latest fiscal cliff conundrum and drama, tonight at 11. And ABC News has compiled the 57 drastic consequences of these cuts, called "sequestration."

Here's the link: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/OTUS/57-terrible-consequences-sequester/story?id=18551994

We'll also have any breaking news of the night (probably won't include the split announced today between the celebrity actors Diane Lane and Josh Brolin), plus Meteorologist Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast and the ice storm that's sweeping 20 states today, and Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER

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