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View Poll Results: To address the budget deficit, what mix of new taxes/spending cuts would you pick?
100% from higher taxes, no cuts in federal spending 2 2.50%
80% from higher taxes, 20% from cuts in federal spending 3 3.75%
60% from higher taxes, 40% from cuts in federal spending 9 11.25%
40% from higher taxes, 60% from cuts in federal spending 23 28.75%
20% from higher taxes, 80% from cuts in federal spending 12 15.00%
No higher taxes, 100% from cuts in federal spending 31 38.75%
We don't have a problem, keep both taxes and spending where they are now 0 0%
Voters: 80. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 11-13-2010, 10:26 AM   #21
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I posted a budget simulator over at TMF boards awhile ago. Below is a link to the post. I cut about a trillion from the budget. Give it a whirl.
TMF: Budget Simulator / Retire Early CampFIRE
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Old 11-13-2010, 10:44 AM   #22
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ERD.. what planet do you live on?
The planet where things like this are discussed on Internet forums while we all know there isn't a snow-balls chance that anything will come of it. But we discuss it anyhow.

And you?

edit/add: if you want a real-life example of a country on this planet that seems to have a clue about simple tax code and how that makes it easier to run a business, do a lttle reading on Hong Kong. They collect about the same % of taxes to GDP as we do, but their ENTIRE tax code, business & personal is 19 pages long. I'd guess that allows businesses to focus on their business and customers, rather than the non-valued tasks of complying and optimizing their tax payments as they waddle through our literally uncountable number of pages of tax code (I have yet to see a reliable source pin down the number of pages - it seems like counting guppies best I can tell).

further edit/add: What is it you are saying exactly keegs? Are you saying that govt policy/actions cannot affect (both positively and negatively) how much and/or whether a business is going to grow or not? Govt policies do both - endless examples, so I won't bother.



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Old 11-13-2010, 11:03 AM   #23
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IMO - for taxes... Higher Estate Taxes should be the first tax increase. 50% - 70% progressive tax on Estates over 1.25M per spouse ($2.5M Total) indexed to inflation.

Income taxes should go back to pre-bush tax cut levels.

There will be some spending cuts likely across the board...

I don't like increasing taxes... but it is too late to do much more that it without taking back SS and Medicare from people. That does not seem fair. Especially after I spent a working lifetime funding it!


The thing I am not in favor of is debasing the USD and high inflation. That just destabilizes the economy and hits people on fixed incomes the most.
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Old 11-13-2010, 11:09 AM   #24
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The planet where things like this are discussed on Internet forums while we all know there isn't a snow-balls chance that anything will come of it. But we discuss it anyhow.

And you?

edit/add: if you want a real-life example of a country on this planet that seems to have a clue about simple tax code and how that makes it easier to run a business, do a lttle reading on Hong Kong. They collect about the same % of taxes to GDP as we do, but their ENTIRE tax code, business & personal is 19 pages long. I'd guess that allows businesses to focus on their business and customers, rather than the non-valued tasks of complying and optimizing their tax payments as they waddle through our literally uncountable number of pages of tax code (I have yet to see a reliable source pin down the number of pages - it seems like counting guppies best I can tell).

further edit/add: What is it you are saying exactly keegs? Are you saying that govt policy/actions cannot affect (both positively and negatively) how much and/or whether a business is going to grow or not? Govt policies do both - endless examples, so I won't bother.



-ERD50
Gee ERD...I underlined it for you.
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Old 11-13-2010, 11:19 AM   #25
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Every small restaurant in my area has an ATM and won't take a credit card.

We're losing 350 billion a year to tax cheats. This place is getting like Greece.

What about we start throwing some people in jail for unpaid taxes?
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Old 11-13-2010, 11:22 AM   #26
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Every small restaurant in my area has an ATM and won't take a credit card.
You need to move to a better neighborhood...
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Old 11-13-2010, 11:29 AM   #27
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I always thought the restaurant ATM machines were intended to (a) make a little money for the restaurants with a portion of the fees going to them and (b) keep the restaurants' expenses down by them not having to pay the credit card companies' fees. The tax "savings" for the restaurant of being all-cash never even occurred to me.
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Old 11-13-2010, 11:36 AM   #28
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How do we get the private prisons lobby plugged into the "lock up the tax cheats!!" idea?
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Old 11-13-2010, 11:46 AM   #29
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OFF TOPIC but wanted to share...I'm watching a squirrel about ten feet from me sitting atop a pumpkin on my deck..(ahhh..my front fender) ...gorging himself....he's been at it for about 10 days now....got it down almost to a nub...seems to like the skin the best..wonder if he's had problems with flatulance...
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Old 11-13-2010, 12:20 PM   #30
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Question--If you believe action is needed to balance the federal budget, what mix of tax increases and spending cuts would you prescribe as being "about right"?
I would take Nancy out and show her a good time. That would include "making her happy" on her personal vineyard "product".

Maybe she would encourage those to vote on fiscal sanity, ...
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Old 11-13-2010, 12:32 PM   #31
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Gee ERD...I underlined it for you.
Oh, I can read posts just fine. But I can't read minds. Care to explain?

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What about we start throwing some people in jail for unpaid taxes?
Sounds good to me. The most visible, high-profile example we could make to get people's attention and let them know we mean business would be Timothy Geithner. That would send the message that even with connections, you better pay your taxes, or else!

And let's have them pay their own upkeep - else, it could cost more to hold them than the taxes they owe. Though there would be a multiplier effect, so maybe that's OK.

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Old 11-13-2010, 01:14 PM   #32
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Sam, I think your graph would be much more meaningful if it were spending and taxes as a percent of GDP.
I posted one in another thread.

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Old 11-13-2010, 01:48 PM   #33
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I posted one in another thread.
Thanks, yep, I saw it and it is interesting. It's easier to think in "% of GDP" rather than "$X trillions." But, one value if showing things in constant dollars is that it shows how much govt (spending and revenue) has grown ona an absolute basis (without reference to GDP). After all, our defense needs don't necessarily climb with a higher GDP, likewise our social services costs, etc.

One small gripe about the charts is the portrayal of the SS taxes as revenue without also showing the increased future liabilities (as a business would log accruals).


Here's where the US Treasury believes we are headed (page xi, Chart 9):. (Sorry--I can't post the image)
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Old 11-13-2010, 02:10 PM   #34
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Here's where the US Treasury believes we are headed (page xi, Chart 9):. (Sorry--I can't post the image)
I can help with that.

What you'll notice is that nearly the entire long-run budget problem is due to growth in Medicare (and associated interest on future borrowings.) Which is why it's such a bad thing that the deficit commission punted on health care costs, and why the much maligned Health Reform legislation is such an important first step in fixing our structural budget imbalances.
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Old 11-13-2010, 02:51 PM   #35
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I can help with that.

What you'll notice is that nearly the entire long-run budget problem is due to growth in Medicare (and associated interest on future borrowings.)
Thanks for adding the chart.
Some takeaways from the chart:
- The huge light yellow area: That's the monster that's going to kill us if we don't balance the budget very soon.
- The defense budget: Folks think that's where the answers are. Nope. You could zero it out now and by 2020 we'd still be running a deficit.
- Large govt subsidies for the new health care law--where are they? This report was written before that legislation was passed. Be need to add a large chunk of additional spending for that. The picture just got worse, not better.
- Social Security: Reform now can allow us to cut costs decades later, when the money will be needed, and will give workers time to adjust their savings (and expectations) for new, lower, benefits.
- Medicare/Medicaid: A very big problem. We need to reduce the growth of medical spending not only for the sake of these programs, but for the health of the private economy as well. Market based competition is going to work far better than artificially limiting access to care. The government can facilitate this competition.
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Old 11-13-2010, 02:56 PM   #36
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- Large govt subsidies for the new health care law--where are they? This report was written before that legislation was passed. Be need to add a large chunk of additional spending for that. The picture just got worse, not better.
Not according to the CBO who says it will make things better even without giving credit for things like "comparative effectiveness (death panels)".

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Market based competition is going to work far better than artificially limiting access to care.
There is no market that will insure the very sick or the very old except at a price that exceeds their cost of care. And because we all become very sick or very old at some point the "market" will fail every single living person sooner or later. You know there isn't a free market solution to health care, why do you pretend otherwise?
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Old 11-13-2010, 03:16 PM   #37
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You know there isn't a free market solution to health care, why do you pretend otherwise?
Where's this coming from?
I know that there can certainly be a competitive market for health insurance, and with the appropriate legal framework, and judicious subsidies, this can offer affordable health insurance for everyone regardless of age or infirmity. And I firmly believe that competition between insurance providers and between providers of medical services is the most effective and most humane way to control medical costs.
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Old 11-13-2010, 03:27 PM   #38
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and with the appropriate legal framework, and judicious subsidies . . .
. . . you end up with something that looks very similar to the reform that passed . . . individual mandates, taxpayer funded subsidies, and heavy-handed regulations to keep private insurers from dropping coverage or jacking prices. All are necessary to make a "market" for health insurance work, but I wouldn't exactly call it a "free" one.

And the forces of competition to control costs essentially break down when the ultimate customer's cost is, by necessity, subsidized or "insured" for all but the most basic care (even with "high deductibles" that are still just a small fraction of the cost of any major treatment).

But again, you know this.
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Old 11-13-2010, 03:29 PM   #39
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Where's this coming from?
I know that there can certainly be a competitive market for health insurance, and with the appropriate legal framework, and judicious subsidies, this can offer affordable health insurance for everyone regardless of age or infirmity. And I firmly believe that competition between insurance providers and between providers of medical services is the most effective and most humane way to control medical costs.
+1. G4G seems to say that since a segment of the market won't be addressed by the free market, that we have to throw the baby out with the bath water.

We can put some regs in to cover that group, and let the free market fill the demand created by those regs. It isn't a "pure" free market, but nothing is. It's all a matter of degrees.

The Swiss seem to be able to make it work.


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Old 11-13-2010, 03:38 PM   #40
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We can put some regs in to cover that group, and let the free market fill the demand created by those regs. It isn't a "pure" free market, but nothing is. It's all a matter of degrees.

The Swiss seem to be able to make it work.
Yes, and what I'm saying is that when you work through the details of actually making that work, you inevitably end up with something that looks a lot like the reform that was just passed (which doesn't look much like a "free market" at all).

So lets look at the Swiss system . . .
1) Individual mandate - check
2) Basic insurance policy coverage dictated by the government - check
3) Price controls on the basic coverage - check
4) Prohibition against discriminating because of age, or medical condition - check
5) Subsidies if basic insurance premiums are above a certain % of income - check
6) Private supplemental insurance available - check

That sounds almost identical to the legislation that just passed. Surprise, surprise.
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