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How could we actually fix the deficit?

rathi

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Looking the U.S. deficit and its growth in the last decade, we are starting to have a serious problem with overspending. While it not a crisis at this very moment, it will be the future unless serious changes are made. Realistically, it is impossible to lower the deficit without cutting either medicare/medicaid, social security or the military and/or raising taxes.

Unfortunately, it appears that none of those options are actually politically viable the moment. Medicare was actually championed by the Republicans during the healthcare debate. The only stated solution to reform social security is "we will raise the retirement age...... in 20 years". The democrats are promoting their own tax cut and are struggling to let a previous cut expire.

In such circumstances, what options are left? There is solid bi-partisan support against both cutting the major sources of spending or raising tax revenues.
 

hazlnut

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Raise taxes.

Put a ton of money into medicare fraud detection.

Put a lot of money into looking into ways to make Social Security more efficient/cut waste.

Require comprehensive end of life planning.
 

spud_meister

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Simply cut spending across the board, if it can be trimmed, trim it, then trim it a bit more, then once out of deficit, arrange it all to be more efficient.
 

Helvidius

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Honestly, I don't think the U.S. will ever balance the budget. The first thing I would do is drastically cut military spending. We shouldn't have military bases in Germany, Japan, etc. I would also cut federal programs like the War on Drugs and aid to other countries. How the federal deficit isn't the main issue concerning Americans is beyond me. As a country, we pay something like $375 billion annually in interest payments to our debt holders. Of course we could always have the Federal Reserve print the money to pay off the debt, ditch the dollar, integrate the Amero, and pray we don't end up like the Weimar Republic or Nazi Germany.
 

Harry Guerrilla

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Looking the U.S. deficit and its growth in the last decade, we are starting to have a serious problem with overspending. While it not a crisis at this very moment, it will be the future unless serious changes are made. Realistically, it is impossible to lower the deficit without cutting either medicare/medicaid, social security or the military and/or raising taxes.

Unfortunately, it appears that none of those options are actually politically viable the moment. Medicare was actually championed by the Republicans during the healthcare debate. The only stated solution to reform social security is "we will raise the retirement age...... in 20 years". The democrats are promoting their own tax cut and are struggling to let a previous cut expire.

In such circumstances, what options are left? There is solid bi-partisan support against both cutting the major sources of spending or raising tax revenues.

Social spending has to be cut significantly, military spending as well.
Some tax rates will have to rise to cover the rest.
 

mpg

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We need to increase taxes on the wealthy but mostly we need to cut spending. We should start with the newest spending. Any of the stimulus money that hasn't been spent shouldn't be spent. The expensive parts of the health insurance reform should be repealed. We need to close military bases in foreign countries which are wealthy enough to defend themselves. SS and Medicare should be only for people who are too poor to live without it. Old people should get assistance if they need it, but we shouldn't automatically give them money merely for being old.
 

tacomancer

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We are going to have to both raise taxes and cut spending. Either that or we are going to have to freeze any spending increases (for any reason) and inflate our way out of it.

Realistically, I don't see either scenario happening. Even a number in the Tea party want their medicare and social security and don't want their taxes raised.
 
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PeteEU

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1. Tax reforms. The US Tax code makes certain "socialist countries with 50+% tax burden" look like a Donald Duck comic book. Get rid of most deductible for people earning over a certain amount and make people above 1 million dollars a year actually pay what they are suppose to pay. When Warren Buffet pays in % less than his secretary and multi-national companies and American companies avoid taxes all together, then you know you got a rotten system. And no, flat tax is not the solution... it will only make the deficit much much worse.. ask the Estonians and others in Eastern Europe that have flat tax.

2. Waste in government. Pork, and stuff like that. It amazes me to this day that politician's are allowed to get pet projects into bills that cost the American tax payer billions a year. And many of these pet projects benefit friends, backers and family, which makes it even worse.. it is utter corruption of the worst kind. Being a politician should be about serving the people and not lining the pockets of yourself, friends, backers and family.

3. Cut military spending. There is simply no need for so many military branches. The Marines would be an obvious choice to dump. Improving the administration, procurement and basically everything in the military would help tons.

4. Social programs. Fix them, dont cut them into oblivion. In the end it will only byte you in the arse any ways.

Of course nothing of this will ever happen, since the people who are elected have a vested interest in keeping the status quo.
 

Boo Radley

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Pete Eu has a pretty good list. But in some manner you have to cut spending and increase revenue (taxes). Any solution would have to include both.
 

desertdude

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Congressional Budget Office - The Long-Term Budget Outlook The deficit is manageable in the mid term. If the economy recovers, our wars end and make some sensible policy decisions, we could be ok within a decade.

There are longer term questions, of course, about the sustainability of entitlement programs (and SS if you perceive a difference) combined with defense spending, which together make up the majority of the budget but are the least "touchable" politically.

The debt is altogether another issue.
 

Goobieman

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Raise taxes.

Put a ton of money into medicare fraud detection.

Put a lot of money into looking into ways to make Social Security more efficient/cut waste.

Require comprehensive end of life planning.
No surprise that "reduce spending" is not among your fixes.
Gotta keep that Dem voter base intact!
 

Goobieman

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3. Cut military spending. There is simply no need for so many military branches. The Marines would be an obvious choice to dump.
As if you are a competent judge.
 

Deuce

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I wouldn't advocate cutting any entire branch, but military spending has to come down. Getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan will go a long way towards that, and we need to get a lot smarter on our appropriations process and R&D. There's so much waste and corruption in that business.

Medicare and Social Security need fixing. As they stand, they're unsustainable. Medicare needs a serious anti-fraud overhaul, and we're going to have to find a way to cut back on benefits without gutting the programs entirely. Retirement age will probably have to go up, as unpalatable as that is. We're just living too freaking long these days. Curse you, modern technology!

People yammer about "pork" and congressional pay, but those are just drops in the bucket. We can trim a bit there, but don't expect anything drastic.

The Department of Homeland Security needs to have its rubber stamp taken away. We spent millions equipping police and fire crews with chemical warfare response gear. In Grand Forks, North Dakota. Why would anybody attack Grand Forks? All you'd kill is a bunch of college-student-shaped icicles. Greatest day of my life was the day I got out of that redneck version of Siberia. Coldest place in the freaking country, and they wont even salt the roads in the winter. They use sand. Sand. In a foot and a half of snow, how the **** is this supposed to help me get to work? Focus, Deuce. Focus.

Finally, taxes are going to have to come up. Sorry, we cut taxes at a time when we were already running deficits. That's not a tax cut, that's a loan. From China. We all took out a small loan from China, equivalent to a few % of our income. You'll get guys around here saying that tax cuts pay for themselves, through some bizarre logic about the government not being able to "create wealth." That's retarded. Private business doesn't "create wealth" out of thin air. Work creates wealth. Money, after all, is really just a representation of time/effort and work done. When the government spends money, it goes somewhere. It pays companies to make concrete, and it pays construction crews to pour the concrete on the ground so we can drive on top of it. Those companies and crews then spend it on food and office supplies and televisions and beer. More work is done to provide that food and beer. Speaking of beer, I'm out of beer. I should go buy some beer. Wait, where was I?

Right. Taxes. Unfortunately, I think we're going to have to let those Bush tax cuts expire for everyone if we're really serious about this debt issue. It sucks, but remember that America got along just fine before Bush Jr. passed those tax cuts. For decades, taxes were higher than they are now, and our economy was not devastated. Going back to Clinton-era taxes is not going to sink us.

Yes, it will suck, but we've got trillions of dollars to pay back. That's gotta come from our pockets. We can do it now, or do it after paying an extra trillion or two in interest.
 

Gabriel

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Honestly, I don't think the U.S. will ever balance the budget. The first thing I would do is drastically cut military spending. We shouldn't have military bases in Germany, Japan, etc. I would also cut federal programs like the War on Drugs and aid to other countries. How the federal deficit isn't the main issue concerning Americans is beyond me. As a country, we pay something like $375 billion annually in interest payments to our debt holders. Of course we could always have the Federal Reserve print the money to pay off the debt, ditch the dollar, integrate the Amero, and pray we don't end up like the Weimar Republic or Nazi Germany.

It's possible to balance the deficit spending but to pay the debt off entirely that is mathematically impossible.
 

samsmart

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I would increase taxes on the wealthiest, decrease them on the middle class.

I would cut spending, but only by a bit, and try to make it more efficient. I wouldn't try to cut earmark spending to states and districts - after all, that's how Congressmen and Senators get re-elected to Congress. But I would ask them that their earmarks be sensible and actually provide a service or use rather than just be corporate welfare. I would cut out the pork spending and try to get Congress to add useful earmarks.

I would legalize recreational drugs. All of them. But I would increase the penalties for public intoxication, and uphold the right of business to fire employees who are under the influence of recreational drugs.

I would introduce business licenses that must be updated annually and the costs of which are progressive with regards to the size of the business.

Those are just a few things I can think off the top of my head as to what I would do.
 

cpwill

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I would increase taxes on the wealthiest, decrease them on the middle class.

money these days is pretty fungible; there is a significant likelihood that you could reduce revenues by following this path; you would also be reducing the incentive for our economic producers to... well, produce. Ironically; increasing taxes on those most able to 'afford' it will produce the most economic damage.


Deficits are spending-driven; even as revenues go up, so do spending deficits; that's indicative of an outflow problem, not an inflow one. Furthermore, especially given the shock our economy is headed for, tax increases will only be politically acceptable if they come after drastic spending cuts.
 

soccerboy22

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Social spending has to be cut significantly, military spending as well.
Some tax rates will have to rise to cover the rest.

Good luck with that. I would love to see some one get elected under those terms.
 

Donc

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Let someone else be the global cop for a while and close at least half of our military bases in …whereever.
 

RightinNYC

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'The honesty caucus' - Ben Smith - POLITICO.com

The spending debate typically involves Republicans calling for cuts, Democrats demanding specifics, Republicans demurring, and Democrats then shouting that the GOP secretly plans to cut the popular programs that make up the bulk of federal spending.

Rich Lowry writes that the new wave of GOP candidates could change that dynamic with their willingness to talk about real cuts:
 

samsmart

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money these days is pretty fungible; there is a significant likelihood that you could reduce revenues by following this path; you would also be reducing the incentive for our economic producers to... well, produce. Ironically; increasing taxes on those most able to 'afford' it will produce the most economic damage.


Deficits are spending-driven; even as revenues go up, so do spending deficits; that's indicative of an outflow problem, not an inflow one. Furthermore, especially given the shock our economy is headed for, tax increases will only be politically acceptable if they come after drastic spending cuts.

Fine. Then I'll only give out tax breaks for the wealthiest "producers" who invest their money in domestic ventures. That includes government bonds.
 

Kal'Stang

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Cut government spending as much as reasonably possible. Get rid of all pork barrel spending.

Withdraw all military personnel from all countries. Set it up to where they are like a states local National Guard, IE only on duty for training and emergencies. That will leave us safely protected by enough trained people without hurting us if someone tries to invade us. Since they only get paid while on active duty, lots of money saved.

Leave all taxes as they are with the exception of a 1% consumer tax. Everything that you buy has 1% of that money going DIRECTLY towards the deficit/debt. When said deficit/debt is down to just under 20% of what it is now the 1% tax immediately expires with no possibility of being renewed.

Make it mandatory for the Federal government to live within it's means. Since it is easy to get an estimate of how much money will be brought in via taxes it should be easy to figure out how much they should be allowed to spend. If the government ends up spending more then any excess expenditures will come directly out of the collective pockets of each Senator/congressmen that voted for the bill that put us over the top. The average American citizen has to live with in thier means...there is absolutely no reason that the federal government cannot do so also.

Get rid of BO's HCR and save whats left of the stimulus.

Make stricter policies for government welfare recipients.

Lower all politicians and government employee wages by 20%-30% depending on on if they make a salary or hourly wage. 20% for hourly, 30% for salary.

Good enough for a post. :) Certainly more could be done but for now it's good enough. :)
 

washunut

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Congressional Budget Office - The Long-Term Budget Outlook The deficit is manageable in the mid term. If the economy recovers, our wars end and make some sensible policy decisions, we could be ok within a decade.

There are longer term questions, of course, about the sustainability of entitlement programs (and SS if you perceive a difference) combined with defense spending, which together make up the majority of the budget but are the least "touchable" politically.

The debt is altogether another issue.

This is horsefeathers! The country is in dire straights. Why do you think the Fed is going for QE2. The administration seems to be trying to inflate their way out of the problem. In the last several months the dollars has been devalued against the Euro by about 20%, same with the dollars versus the Yen, gold and commodities. We are trying to do the same thing against the Chinese currency. They are not helping out so we are threatening a trade war.

Inflation is called the cruelest tax. The poor are horribly effected. As you see in other nations, food inflation causes riots from people who cannot afford to feed their families. The people who have done the right thing and saved will have their savings devalued thru this inflation.

This administration ( or any administration for that matter) has no interest in reducing costs. We talk about entitlements are breaking us so we added the largest one in decades. In addition I just heard that this new consumer protection agency will cost us $500 annually.

It will be interesting to see how this all ends.
 

cpwill

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Fine. Then I'll only give out tax breaks for the wealthiest "producers" who invest their money in domestic ventures. That includes government bonds.

including gov. bonds only drives the cost of added debt down and provides an incentive not to lower the deficit. how are you going to define "domestic venture"?
 
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