Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
YOU Balance the US Budget/Reduce the Deficit SPECIFICS
Old 04-10-2011, 10:43 AM   #1
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Midpack's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Chicagoland
Posts: 11,964
YOU Balance the US Budget/Reduce the Deficit SPECIFICS

The other thread has spun off into using nat gas for automobiles which is fine. These threads are usually a mix of thoughtful data based ideas and broad concepts (some with merit, some not at all). Now that congress has spent weeks bickering over trivial amounts that won't reduce the deficit in any meaningful way, it's time for us to take over. How SPECIFICALLY would you balance the budget or at least reduce the deficit to a reasonable, sustainable (?) level?

In 2010 revenues were $2,163B,
spending was $3,456B,
resulting in a deficit of $1,294B.

I have provided the broad data you need below, you can easily verify it online. And if you want any category broken down, I'll do it for you if you like. Some I've already heard that are relatively trivial by themselves are Transportation $92B (2.7% of spending), Foreign Military/Economic Aid $45B (1.3%) & Agriculture $28B (0.8%).

Oil subsidies are not spending, but lost revenue I believe. The highest estimate I found was $158B (4.6%), lower estimates were about half that amount (including Corp tax breaks and estimated associated military expense - which is reflected in spending BTW).

The only caveat I can't resist is the suggestion to just increase Corp taxes. Understand those taxes will simply be passed on to individuals for the most part, so you might as well just volunteer to increase your individual income taxes by proxy to make your point.

I'm just a guy trying to grapple with all this, I'm not an expert, and I welcome specific (preferably data based) input.

Best of luck, future generations are counting on you...
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Revenue.jpg (43.0 KB, 308 views)
File Type: jpg Spend.jpg (54.6 KB, 367 views)
__________________

__________________
No one agrees with other people's opinions; they merely agree with their own opinions -- expressed by somebody else. Sydney Tremayne
Retired Jun 2011 at age 57

Target AA: 60% equity funds / 35% bond funds / 5% cash
Target WR: Approx 2.5% Approx 20% SI (secure income, SS only)
Midpack is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 04-10-2011, 10:59 AM   #2
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Htown Harry's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,516
I like this idea, Midpack. So we're all on the same page with our data, should we all use this as our menu of choices?
The New York Times has conducted its own analysis of the federal budget, but with a different final product. Rather than making recommendations, we are laying out a menu of major options, so that readers can come up with their own plan. We have received help along the way from the deficit panel, from Congressional and White House aides and from liberal, conservative and centrist budget analysts.

Budget Puzzle: You Fix the Budget - Interactive Feature - NYTimes.com
__________________

__________________
Htown Harry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2011, 11:25 AM   #3
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Htown Harry's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,516
OK, all done.

After you make all your choices and hit the magic numbers, you can save the link next to "Congratulations. You solved the budget!". Here's mine:

Budget Puzzle: You Fix the Budget - Interactive Feature - NYTimes.com

My version was 55% tax increases and 45% cuts.

Some of the taxes I chose:
  • Allow expiration of Bush Tax cuts for income above $250,000 a year
  • Payroll tax: Subject some incomes above $106,000 to tax
  • Millionaire's tax on income above $1 million
  • Eliminate loopholes, but keep taxes slightly higher (the biggest single number in my tax choices - $315B in 2030)

On the spending side, this one choice got me almost halfway to the target:

  • Cap Medicare growth starting in 2013 ($562B in 2030)
"This option would cap the Medicare growth at G.D.P. growth plus 1 percentage point, starting in 2013."

It's interesting that this GDP + 1% is part of the Rivlin-Ryan proposal, which I have some problems with. Goes to show that agreeing on an objective is only part of the challenge.
__________________
Htown Harry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2011, 11:27 AM   #4
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Midpack's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Chicagoland
Posts: 11,964
I'd rather deal with actual spending than projections as the NYT link does (although it looks like a fun, constructive exercise too**). I used CBO, usgovernmentspending.com & wiki sources that all seemed to match up well, so the data I shared is hopefully accurate for the most part. For those who think future deficits will be smaller (as does the NYT), just cut spending/increase revenue in accord with whatever natural deficit reduction you expect to occur (and share same please).

But the point was/is to show your work here, harder to see with the NYT exercise.

This exercise is unfortunately carried out with an axe, not a scalpel it seems...

**I did the NYT puzzle and ended up with 30% increase in taxes and 70% decrease in spending.
__________________
No one agrees with other people's opinions; they merely agree with their own opinions -- expressed by somebody else. Sydney Tremayne
Retired Jun 2011 at age 57

Target AA: 60% equity funds / 35% bond funds / 5% cash
Target WR: Approx 2.5% Approx 20% SI (secure income, SS only)
Midpack is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2011, 12:10 PM   #5
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 3,812
The federal budget deficit is largely a medical care problem. The projected deficit for 2015 is 3.2% of GDP, the US spends 16% of GDP on health care, other nations spend 11% or less, that's a 5% opportunity. The Federal government funds (about half?) of out health care spending. We could just copy Canada's plan, we know it works.

I'd prefer that we replace Medicare and Medicaid with universal catastrophic-only health insurance entirely funded by a highly visible flat tax. I'd do an annual referendum on the size of the tax, with a committee of techies adjusting the deductible to live within the revenue of the tax. This takes medical expense out of the rest of the budget and guarantees they will not generate a deficit. Over time, when my fellow voters can see the taxes they pay for gov't funded health care, they may support things like scientific studies of effective treatments, limiting malpractice awards, or cost/benefit calculations. Or not. I can live with either result.

Then there's Social Security. I'd freeze the tax rate for old age benefits (currently about 10%) at it's current level. I'd also increase retirement ages, that won't be enough to close the gap. So I'd make pro-rata reductions in all benefits in payout status in any year when the tax doesn't cover the benefit. (Also, other small changes too numerous to mention.)

Next Defense. Half our "defense" budget revolves around oil. I'd add a $1/gallon tax on crude. That will about pay for half the spending. (it's also 2% of GDP). Over time, reduce our spending to something like western Europe levels. We should have a nuclear deterrent, enough blue water navy to keep shipping lanes open, and enough army/air force to prevent any attempt to invade the US. We can also have enough to participate in small "peace keeping/humanitarian" missions, but only up to our fair share. (Note that the crude oil tax not only raises revenue, it also changes behavior so we don't care as much about the price of oil.)

Other. Eliminate earmarks. Yes, I know they are trivial in dollar amount, but I think they are big psychologically. We need to get rid of the notion that the Federal government should be building local bike paths. Drop farm subsidies. Reduce road construction back to what the gasoline tax will support. Cut back on energy programs (the crude oil tax replaces some of them). Eliminate most federal education spending, including loan subsidies (keep Pell grants and some education research). I expect I could cut NASA and general research if I looked at them hard. ..

The above more than closes the gap, so we have room to trim FIT a little. But, the big change in taxes should be a dramatic simplification. Get rid of all the $1.1 trillion of FIT tax preferences. Use some of the money to reduce the corporate income tax, some to lower FIT rates, and some to fund replacements for a few tax preferences (which, I expect, will be much cheaper). Do the same with the estate tax (e.g. get rid of the step up in basis).

I could give more details, but this is already awfully long.
__________________
Independent is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2011, 12:45 PM   #6
Full time employment: Posting here.
flyfishnevada's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Smith
Posts: 743
This goes against my policy (guideline) against posting in politically charged posts, and any discussion of the federal budget will surely become political, but here goes:

Time for hard choices SS and Medicare must be phased out. Failed experiments in socialism. Those recieveing them now will continue. Those getting close will get benefits. Those of a certain age will not receive benefits. The saving can be diverted to educating people on saving, investing and wellness for a period.

The military budget must be reduced. Close bases that no longer makes sense, especially internationally. Get out of Iraq and Afghanistan. Stop being the worlds police.

Eliminate foreign aid except for disaster relief. Sick and tired of my tax dollars going overseas to places that just waste the money and never see any improvement. Like welfare, we have created a world of dependent nations.

Speaking of welfare, eliminate it and all other forms of aid to the poor. Another failed experiment that does nothing but create dependency.

Legalize all drugs and tax them. Create revenue on one end and eliminate spending on a losing battle.

Secure the border and stop all aid to illegals. No school, no health care (excepting emergency care), no welfare or food stamps. If you find them deport them. Give the ones here a couple to years to declare and get in line to become legal. Create a guest worker program and collect the income taxes.

Eliminate all redundant programs and consolidate government. Set a goal of reducing the size of the federal government by 50%.

Lower and simplify income taxes and corporate taxes. History shows tax reductions increase revenue.

Trash Obamacare, the Departments of Education and Environmental Protection and let free markets rule. Let local governments accountable to local people make decisions about these things as necessary. Free the health care system from the control of government. Let teachers teach.

Limit union power. Most is granted by law. Restrict the power they have especially concerning government employees. The idea that unions donate money to politicians that then sit at the negotiating table with the unions is crazy!

Utilize our own energy resources and become an energy exporter. Oil, NG, coal, etc.

Honestly, the first two, entitlements and the military would do it, but the rest won't hurt. The smaller the federal government, the lower our taxes, the less regulation and the freer the free market, the better.

Is there another choice? Even the CBO said that at this pace the federal government will cease to exist in 35 years. The choices have been taken from us by our irresponsible politicians at all levels by not addressing the problems sooner and just kicking the can down the road. And all that means it's our fault for not voting the SOBs out of office and trading our liberty for security for the last 70 years. The alternative is worse than the cuts...the end of our way of life.
__________________
Retired July 4th, 2010 at age 43
Trout Bum, Writer, Full-Time Dad and Husband


flyfishnevada is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2011, 12:46 PM   #7
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Northern IL
Posts: 18,261
Quote:
Originally Posted by Independent View Post
Other. Eliminate earmarks. Yes, I know they are trivial in dollar amount,
It would seem so, but I wonder about that long term. If they spend $XB one year, doesn't that create spending for many years (maybe at the local level, but it still comes out of our pockets)? For example, build that bike path, but then it gets maintained every year, it needs to be refurbed, expanded, and on and on. Add a new project every year with similar long term spending. I wonder if the cumulative effect is much greater than it appears on the Fed budget?

OK, not really what the OP asked for (when did that ever stop me?), but I can't help but think that if we had real leadership in DC (that isn't a partisan comment, it cuts across all parties and for many years), we would have people with the guts to tell us what needs to be done, and the communication skills to explain how some pain now is needed to avert more extreme pain later.

So in general, if we could reduce the entitlement attitude, and create a better business environment (changing tax laws willy-nilly sure isn't good for personal or business planning), then maybe we could see both a cut in spending and an increase in revenues. Either way, you can't expect to just cut back a huge % in a few years, you need to phase these things in. Just my two cents and some daydreaming.

-ERD50
__________________
ERD50 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2011, 12:55 PM   #8
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
donheff's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 8,634
Quote:
Originally Posted by Independent View Post
The federal budget deficit is largely a medical care problem. The projected deficit for 2015 is 3.2% of GDP, the US spends 16% of GDP on health care, other nations spend 11% or less, that's a 5% opportunity. The Federal government funds (about half?) of out health care spending. We could just copy Canada's plan, we know it works.

I'd prefer that we replace Medicare and Medicaid with universal catastrophic-only health insurance entirely funded by a highly visible flat tax. I'd do an annual referendum on the size of the tax, with a committee of techies adjusting the deductible to live within the revenue of the tax. This takes medical expense out of the rest of the budget and guarantees they will not generate a deficit. Over time, when my fellow voters can see the taxes they pay for gov't funded health care, they may support things like scientific studies of effective treatments, limiting malpractice awards, or cost/benefit calculations. Or not. I can live with either result.
Interesting. I like the catastrophic plan. People could buy supplements if they want. I don't think I would. The biggest problem would be preventive care for low income and, to a lesser extent, people like me. people would likely forgo visits to the doc to save bucks. To that extent a more traditional Canada style plan would be better but unrealistic.
Quote:
Then there's Social Security. I'd freeze the tax rate for old age benefits (currently about 10%) at it's current level. I'd also increase retirement ages, that won't be enough to close the gap. So I'd make pro-rata reductions in all benefits in payout status in any year when the tax doesn't cover the benefit. (Also, other small changes too numerous to mention.)
What about the trust fund? Would you view that as evaporated? I would agree to that if top earner rates were raised to make up for the loss to the lower bracket payers who dumped 15% of earnings (employer share counts as earnings AFAIAC) into the fund.

Quote:
Next Defense. Half our "defense" budget revolves around oil. I'd add a $1/gallon tax on crude. That will about pay for half the spending. (it's also 2% of GDP). Over time, reduce our spending to something like western Europe levels. We should have a nuclear deterrent, enough blue water navy to keep shipping lanes open, and enough army/air force to prevent any attempt to invade the US. We can also have enough to participate in small "peace keeping/humanitarian" missions, but only up to our fair share. (Note that the crude oil tax not only raises revenue, it also changes behavior so we don't care as much about the price of oil.)
+1

Quote:
. Eliminate earmarks.
I like earmarks -- or at least some of them.
__________________
Every man is, or hopes to be, an Idler. -- Samuel Johnson
donheff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2011, 01:42 PM   #9
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Midpack's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Chicagoland
Posts: 11,964
Wow, great responses so far IMHO!
__________________
No one agrees with other people's opinions; they merely agree with their own opinions -- expressed by somebody else. Sydney Tremayne
Retired Jun 2011 at age 57

Target AA: 60% equity funds / 35% bond funds / 5% cash
Target WR: Approx 2.5% Approx 20% SI (secure income, SS only)
Midpack is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2011, 01:57 PM   #10
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
grumpy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 1,321
Make it a requirement that ANY overseas use of US troops be funded, up front, by a surtax. Bet the politicians would have a much tougher time getting us involved in no-win foreign wars.
__________________
...you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave...
grumpy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2011, 02:06 PM   #11
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Midpack's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Chicagoland
Posts: 11,964
Quote:
Originally Posted by grumpy View Post
Make it a requirement that ANY overseas use of US troops be funded, up front, by a surtax. Bet the politicians would have a much tougher time getting us involved in no-win foreign wars.
Based on what I know, that would indeed make a big dent in the deficit. Roughly half the cost of defense spending over the past 8-10 years have been due to Afghanistan & Iraq. So the defense spending would decrease by $410B reducing the deficit ($1,294B) by about 32% - clearly a big chunk.

However, interesting though our current defense spending is about 5% of GDP, still lower than it was every year from 1948 thru about 1990. IOW, our current spending on Afghanistan & Iraq has just replaced what we spent on defense post WWII, Korea, Vietnam and the Cold War throughout most of those years.

Not easy questions are they...
__________________
No one agrees with other people's opinions; they merely agree with their own opinions -- expressed by somebody else. Sydney Tremayne
Retired Jun 2011 at age 57

Target AA: 60% equity funds / 35% bond funds / 5% cash
Target WR: Approx 2.5% Approx 20% SI (secure income, SS only)
Midpack is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2011, 02:08 PM   #12
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Htown Harry's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,516
Quote:
Originally Posted by flyfishnevada View Post
History shows tax reductions increase revenue.
This is a myth in many cases.

It depends what kind of tax cuts are involved and which part of history you want to look at. For example, none of these tax bills increased revenue over the following four years:

  • Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981
  • Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001
  • Job Creation and Worker Assistance Act of 2002
  • Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 (normal, 2004-07)
  • Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 (2003-06)
Revenue Effects of Major Bills Enacted Since 1940
__________________
Htown Harry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2011, 02:29 PM   #13
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Purron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 5,584
Perhaps we should look at other countries for a clue. Check out the CIA World Factbook:

https://www.cia.gov/library/publicat.../2186rank.html
__________________
I purr therefore I am.
Purron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2011, 02:47 PM   #14
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 3,812
Quote:
Originally Posted by flyfishnevada View Post
This goes against my policy (guideline) against posting in politically charged posts, and any discussion of the federal budget will surely become political, but here goes:

Time for hard choices SS and Medicare must be phased out. Failed experiments in socialism. Those recieveing them now will continue. Those getting close will get benefits. Those of a certain age will not receive benefits. The saving can be diverted to educating people on saving, investing and wellness for a period.

The military budget must be reduced. Close bases that no longer makes sense, especially internationally. Get out of Iraq and Afghanistan. Stop being the worlds police.
. ....

Honestly, the first two, entitlements and the military would do it, but the rest won't hurt. The smaller the federal government, the lower our taxes, the less regulation and the freer the free market, the better.
e.
The deficit in 2015 is projected to be 3.2% of GDP.

Military spending, which was 4.8% in 2010 is projected to fall to 3.6% by 2015.

The General Fund subsidy for Medicare in 2010 was 1.5% of GDP. I didn't look for a projected 2015 number, I assume we can say "a little more".

Social Security is self-funding. The SS tax approximately equals the benefits for the next 10 years or so. So the benefits of scaling back SS are long term.

So it looks like you can balance the budget on just these three items in 2015 if you're willing to tell everyone you know (and everyone on this board) "No Medicare for you in four years", and if you are also willing to take 75% out of the current military budget (or 50% out of the projected budget) by then.
__________________
Independent is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2011, 06:45 PM   #15
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
steelyman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Triangle
Posts: 3,218
I am not sure this is directly relevant to the original topic of this thread, but I am wondering... while I am a huge fan of the Roth IRA/401(k)/403(b), and am exclusively directing contributions to one... it seems to me to be a vehicle that eventually will lessen tax revenues for the country. In retrospect (and I realize that Roths have only existed since the late 90s), was this a bad idea? Or is it just a drop in the bucket?
__________________
steelyman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2011, 08:31 PM   #16
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Htown Harry's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,516
Quote:
Originally Posted by steelyman View Post
I am wondering... while I am a huge fan of the Roth IRA/401(k)/403(b), ... it seems to me to be a vehicle that eventually will lessen tax revenues for the country. In retrospect (and I realize that Roths have only existed since the late 90s), was this a bad idea? Or is it just a drop in the bucket?
In the federal budget jargon, the 401 / IRA / Roth revenue foregone falls into the category "tax expenditures". We see them as deductions and credits on our tax forms.

It's about $40 billion a year, in the short term. See #7 on this list of 5-year costs:

Individual Tax Expenditure and Function
Total Amount
(2010-2014)
(Billions of dollars)
  1. Tax exclusion for employer contributions to health insurance: $659.4 billion
  2. Deduction for mortgage interest on owner-occupied houses: $484.1 billion
  3. Lower tax rates for dividends and long-term capital gains: $402.9 billion
  4. Tax exclusion of pension contributions (defined-benefit): $303.2 billion
  5. Earned income tax credit: $268.8 billion
  6. State and local tax deductions: $237.3 billion
  7. Exclusion of pension contributions, 401(k)-style: $212.2 billion
  8. Exclusion of capital gains at death: $194 billion
  9. Charitable deductions: $182.4 billion
  10. Untaxed Social Security and railroad retirement benefits: $173 billion
Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation: JCX-15-11

I find it interesting (and discouraging) that Rep. Ryan's proposal says this about tax expenditures, yet I have found no specific proposals for "broadening the tax base". Please post the information if you find it.

The negative effects of high rates on work, savings and investment are compounded when a large mix of exemptions, deductions and credits are added in. Sometimes referred to as “tax expenditures,” these distortions are similar to government spending – instead of markets directing economic resources to their most efficient uses, the government directs resources to politically favored uses, creating a drag on growth.

The key difference is that, with spending, the government collects the money first in the form of taxes from those who earned it, and reallocates the money elsewhere. With tax expenditures, government agrees not to collect the money as long as it is put to a government-approved use.

Other tax expenditures literally do take the form of spending through the tax code, because they “return” more money than the taxes owed.

Tax expenditures have a huge impact on the federal budget, resulting in over $1 trillion in forgone revenue each year (although the exact definition of a “tax expenditure” is subject to debate.) To put that number in perspective, $1 trillion is roughly the total amount the government collects each year in federal income taxes.

Eliminating large tax expenditures would not be for the purpose of increasing total tax revenues. Instead, when offset by lower rates, it would have a doubly positive impact on the economy – it would stop diverting economic resources to less productive uses, while making possible the lower tax rates that provide greater incentives for economic growth.
__________________
Htown Harry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2011, 08:36 PM   #17
Full time employment: Posting here.
RetiredGypsy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 895
Stop the War on Drugs completely. We've already seen the chaos blanket Prohibitions cause. And it's a pretty hypocritical stance to take when the federal government is giving out medical marijuana itself. Someone defaces property or harms someone on a drug, arrest them for the defacement or bodily harm; don't outlaw drugs as a proxy. It's never worked. Ever.

Stop subsidizing world healthcare. You want our medications, diagnostic equipments, research facilities, etc. pay market value so we don't have to pay above market value.

Stop subsidizing world military and rebel factions.

Stop subsidizing agriculture.

Phase out SS and medicare. Get medical insurance back in the hands of the individual instead of the employer, and if they are so concerned about everyone's health and pretending the medical field is some kind of utopian market that shouldn't be for profit, let everyone have a completely tax free medical saving's account, and encouraging further tax breaks by donating to charities that help people get medical care. Ditto for retirement savings.

Military spending needs to be under control with a quickness. Luckily some of that would come from the War on Drugs being canned. Another would come from not subsidizing foreign military or paramilitary, with money, equipment and manpower. With that being said, we should never quit giving out aid entirely, as we would have been pretty boned as a country had France had such a strict policy at one time; but the reason for that aid should fall under pretty much the same reasons. These ideas sounds pretty good:


You have a legion of people enjoying the rewards of NJP, court martials, etc. Instead of forcing them to go through weekend uniform inspections, just time in the brig for anything that isn't bodily harm to another or major theft, shipboard arrest, whatever, have them out mowing the grass, cleaning up buildings, instead of hiring contractors to do it at extra expense.

Close foreign bases. Use the methods foreign militaries use here; foreign existing military bases to hold joint training exercises, as this would still be a useful thing to have.

It seems like we are coming to a point of diminishing returns; huge expenses for advances in technology that means huge expenses for upkeep and repair and leave larger fractions of equipment out of commission for longer periods. The idea was these advances would create a lesser need for repair and maintenance. It hasn't worked out quite as planned.

Cut environmentalist aid, and either get rid of the Endangered Species Act or make it less stupid. When we're paying for grass and tree and fish police to accompany wreckage removal crews, that's stupid excess.

Get rid of NASA. The scary Russian alien UFO joint military isn't coming from behind the moon to conquer us, which was the kind of fear that got us NASA in the first place. Their history of grossly inappropriate monetary wastage is pathetic.

No more federal aid to the Boy Scouts of America. That is outright criminal, and goes against the DoI, the Constitution, the Civil Rights Act, and any kind of human decency. They want to be close-minded bigoted idiots, they can do it without taxpayer support.

Get rid of the DMV. Or at least seriously streamline it; smaller offices in support of licensing commercial traffic, and then if its removal proves to have no noticeable affect on driver capability in then number of yearly accidents and deaths, let driver's licenses and the bureaucracy just disappear forever. Instead of having a license that allows you to drive, the focus on traffic police (who we can have more of when the war on drugs is gone) would instead allow the courts to issue notes to people who aren't allowed to drive, which a much smaller number and therefore makes more sense in terms of costs and manpower.

Reduce the drinking age to 18; thank you very much for that headache, Reagan and your ilk. Adult means adult, so stop screwing around with playing righteous moral police.

Make prostitution legal (again). Blanket Prohibitions don't work, and create black markets that make the problem far worse.

There we are. Some easy ways to cut the bureaucracy, spending, and many unnecessary agencies and programs and funding, and some ways even increase tax revenue. Some big, some little, all to the benefit of the taxpayer.
__________________
I'm free and I like it!
RetiredGypsy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2011, 09:03 PM   #18
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Htown Harry's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,516
Quote:
Originally Posted by Htown Harry View Post
In the federal budget jargon, the 401 / IRA / Roth revenue foregone falls into the category "tax expenditures".
On the federal OMB site, I found this list of all of the tax expenditures that make up the approx. $1 trillion in revenue foregone by policy:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/defa...ts/teb2012.xls
__________________
Htown Harry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2011, 09:09 PM   #19
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: VA
Posts: 923
Budget Puzzle: You Fix the Budget - Interactive Feature - NYTimes.com
__________________
Disclaimer - I am an independent insurance agent. If the above message contains insurance-related content, it is NOT intended as advice, and may not be accurate, applicable or sufficient depending on specific circumstances. Don't rely on it for any purpose. I do encourage you to consult an independent agent for insurance-related advice if you have a question that is specific in nature.
dgoldenz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-11-2011, 09:19 AM   #20
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 3,812
Quote:
Originally Posted by donheff View Post
Interesting. I like the catastrophic plan. People could buy supplements if they want. I don't think I would. The biggest problem would be preventive care for low income and, to a lesser extent, people like me. people would likely forgo visits to the doc to save bucks. To that extent a more traditional Canada style plan would be better but unrealistic.
Many health insurance plans have zero deductible for named preventative procedures. I'm not ruling that out of a catastrophic plan. The important thing to me is that the voters set the tax rate. If they want to include preventative care, and are willing to pay the taxes for it, that's fine with me.

Quote:
What about the trust fund? Would you view that as evaporated? I would agree to that if top earner rates were raised to make up for the loss to the lower bracket payers who dumped 15% of earnings (employer share counts as earnings AFAIAC) into the fund.
That's in my "too numerous to mention". I'd guess that in the past we funded FIT decreases with excess payroll taxes, and I don't like that. But the money really has evaporated. The only way to get it back is by collecting back taxes from people who benefited from the reduced FIT rates in the past. I could justify a small general revenue support for SS based on the trust fund and based on the welfare nature of the low income benefits, but I'd want a fixed amount.

Quote:
I like earmarks -- or at least some of them.
I guess we'd have to look at examples.
__________________

__________________
Independent is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
How Would You Balance the Budget? Preferred ratio of tax increases and spending cuts samclem FIRE Related Public Policy 116 11-27-2010 06:18 PM
Obama Plans to Reduce Budget Deficit to $533 Billion by 2013 dex FIRE Related Public Policy 53 03-10-2009 03:39 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:05 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.