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Budget (1 Viewer)

Well, this is my first post on this forum. I'm a pretty political guy, interested largely in international events, but I also like certain aspects of United States politics (I am a citizen of the United States).
Currently, there is a huge debate about balancing the budget, including over the "Ryancare" plan. Ryancare made me think: we have to give up something. People want to cling on to Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid, but don't want to pay any more taxes. This doesn't make much sense, since Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid make up about 50% of our expenditure. This had me thinking: to balance the budget, we either have to get rid of 35% of our spending or increase taxes by 50%, so how do other countries do it? Well, in countries like Sweden, people do pay 50% more taxes than people in the United States do. People in Sweden pay around 32% of their income as tax, while people in the United States pay around 21%-23%. The thing about Sweden is that people chose to pay increased taxes in return for government-funded healthcare and programs similar to Social Security. And the people in Sweden are very happy. In fact, according to this chart, several countries with government-funded healthcare have higher life expectancy, higher physicians and nurses per 1000 people, lower infant mortality rates, and, most importantly for the budget, the government spends less money as a percent than the US does, yet still covers much more of it. Of course, there are problems, such as doctors' and nurses' pay (although I feel that some doctors in the United States are obscenely rich for the amount of work they put in compared to, say, a lawyer or an engineer, especially since non-specialized doctors make as much money as others without performing any uniquely required task).
So, I personally think that if the United States really wanted to balance the budget, they would have to:
1. cut defense spending where it can be cut. Several Republicans and conservative Democrats aren't even willing to look at defense spending, even though the Pentagon and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates believe the army can function at full capacity under a reduced budget.
2. find the balance between increased taxes and social services. Since this is impossible for congressmen to do, I'd say put it up to a referendum (I'm not sure if this responsibility would have to be given to the states to do so though). Let the people decide. I've not met a Swede disappointed with the way their system works, probably because much of the process of having government-funded healthcare was supported or even driven by the people.
3. increase efficiency. It's just sad that countries spend less of a percent of their money to cover a higher percent of their healthcare costs than the United States.
4. cut extraneous spending. I have no idea why there's a huge "Others" category on the list of spending costs. Is this for the FBI and CIA? Shouldn't that be part of "Defense"? Are there THAT many public workers in the federal government (remember most public workers are paid by the state)? Do congressmen make that much money? How much does it cost to maintain the White House, anyway? This makes little to no sense to me, why we need $560 billion for "other" spending (higher than the cost for Medicare) when it's too spread out or mysterious to even name.
And finally, if we do balance the budget and if we start even making money, taxes will decrease because the interest on debts ($260 billion) will be reduced.

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