Columnist John Rowerdink fears that the rising debt may reduce military spending and therefore weaken national security because, he says, an option to raise taxes to pay for defense spending is “very unlikely.”

I believe that it is past time for Republicans and Democrats to heed the words written by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., and engraved on the IRS Building, “Taxes are what we pay for a civilized society.”

We have failed to repair the so-called graduated income tax system and to raise taxes. That failure results in massive debts to pass down to our children and grandchildren because we are too cheap to pay for defense, infrastructure, public education, and entitlements like Medicare and Social Security that Mr. Rowerdink’s generation enjoys. Passing the debt to future generations is, in my view, highly uncivilized.

In the broader sense, our national security is grounded on more than the military. We need a well-educated and healthy public, the cost of which is logically supported by taxes. And those educated and healthy future generations, I hope, will be better able to pay their taxes and pay off our shameful debt.

Eric Christenson, Southern Pines

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