Balanced federal budget

Discussion in 'Politics' started by saturneptune, Mar 6, 2008.

  1. saturneptune

    saturneptune
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    If it were in your power to balance the budget, how would you do it? Cut programs, if so which? Raise taxes? Cut taxes to expand the economy and bring in more revenue? It would be interesting to hear your ideas.
     
  2. KenH

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    1. I would stop counting Social Security as part of the general budget since it has it own tax system.

    2. I would place a hard freeze the total level of federal government spending where it is today. Spending could be shuffled between categories but the total could not be raised.

    3. The hard spending freeze would remain in place until federal revenues caught up to it.

    4. I would not cut taxes.

    5. Once the general budget came into balance, then federal spending could rise as federal revenues rose.
     
  3. TomVols

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    I would make permanent the tax cuts for working Americans. The CBO has shown that there is more revenue now. I would be tempted to do it futher. I would eliminate the AMT, the Estate Tax (permanently), and eliminate all taxes on savings & dividends. A flat or Fair Tax would get heavy attention. Our current system costs the govt billions just to print and maintain the tax forms/instructions. One form is used for Federal Aid. Why can't we use one form for tax returns?

    There must be cuts in SS and Medicare. I'm sorry, but entitlement spending is bankrupting us. Discretionary spending counts for a small relative portion of the budget, and given the accounting two-step that started years ago (using cash vs accrual accounting for SS/Medicare), we really don't have the true picture of how indebted we really are. SS taxes and Medicare taxes alone will not finance these programs. According to an article in USA Today a few years ago, we've never really had a balanced budget thanks to this.

    A hard freeze on discretionary isn't a bad idea but we must remember that we may need emergency spending (in case of war, etc.). I am hesitant about "shuffling" between categories, as this Vietnam Era trick hid the cost of that war from the American people.

    I would do something to make porkbarrelling and earmarking more transparent. Much of govt waste owes itself to this. We could possibly save billions each year this way.

    I would allow people to opt out of the SS system in exchange for a tax credit each year. But once you're out, you're out. You can never claim benefits. I'd opt out tomorrow if I could, btw.

    I believe the govt should be out of a whole lot of what it does. Promoting the arts, corporate welfare, entitlements, etc. But here again, discretionary spending cuts themselves will not stop the runaway fiscal train. Entitlement spending must be reformed. Thompson's alternative plans on SS are worth merit here.

    I would cut some of the perks of Congressional benefits. Limits on franking; private health insurance or at the very least put them in the program fed employees are in.

    And most (GASP) outrageous of all: I'd require each spending bill I would consider signing to have a Constitutional basis (Rep Paul sponsored a piece of legislation along this line).

    Just some broad strokes.
     
  4. StefanM

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    I would cut all "pork barrel" spending. The federal government would not fund a single new project that benefited only a single state or location.

    I would eliminate a large number of farm subsidies.

    I would begin a withdrawal from Iraq to reduce military expenditures.

    I would reduce the salary of members of Congress by 20%.

    I would abolish the Department of Homeland Security, which is nothing but bloated bureaucracy.

    I would not cut taxes yet, but I would not raise income taxes unless absolutely necessary. Whenever it became feasible, I would cut taxes from the bottom and middle brackets, and I would fix the AMT.

    I would quadruple tax rates for oil speculation (not oil companies but oil speculation), to discourage such harmful practice. Hopefully, this would keep the economy from going deeper into turmoil.

    Social Security would be kept separate (thanks KenH). I would also eliminate the employer/employee split contribution system of FICA. The employee will have the entire portion deducted from his or her paycheck. The minimum wage will be proportionately adjusted, as will tax brackets. This should simplify some of the paperwork for businesses, and it will show people the real cost of Social Security. The employee will now see how much he or she actually earns, before taxes. I'm not sure how much this would help the budget, but I like the idea.

    I would repeal No Child Left Behind. It's oppressive and expensive. Get the federal government out of local schools.

    I would change Medicare part D to a federally administered program, and the government would be allowed to negotiate prices for medicines. All we are doing now is handing out cash to insurance companies without regard for cost. We should either end the program or do it in the most cost-efficient manner. Corporate welfare is stupid.
     
  5. LeBuick

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    I thought these two would be self supporting on their own tax systems if we stopped dipping the money for other things?

    One thing I would do is cut government by reducing the number of Congress and Senate. One per state is all we need. When you consider their staff, travel, offices etc... this would be a great savings. The system is archaic since the internet and other inventions could allow the people to vote instead of being "represented".

    I would also put in the line item veto to eliminate "riders". I recently read of one rider which funded a $5 mil museum in Wyoming.
     
  6. menageriekeeper

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    Hmm, since we are cutting unneeded federal programs, how about abolishing the Dept of Education while we are at it. Save half the money back into the general budget and divided the other half up among the states directly based on student population numbers. Let the states decide for themselves how they want to spend it. No Child Left Behind would be lost in the shuffle. HOWEVER, laws regarding students with disabilities should remain. The Office of Civil Rights handles those cases out of the Justice Department already(I believe).

    Entitlements, subsidies and the like should also be cut and either taxes lowered or the money divided up (again based on population) and sent directly to the states for disbursal.
     
  7. TomVols

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    Not even close, for reasons explained above.
     
  8. LeBuick

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    It is a known fact that SSI was increased in the 80's to ready the system for the baby boomers retirement. That increase was designed to have $100 Bill per year surplus gaining interest to prepare the system for the tragic year of 2017. The problem is congress "borrowed" that money and left only IOU’s in the till that we will never repay. This is why we are now being encouraged to save for our own retirement, our money was already spent.

    So I stand behind my original statement, if Congress had of left the money alone or if we had rules in place that tax money can only be spent on the program for which it was designed, SSI and Medicare would both be self supporting systems.
     
  9. billwald

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    SS money (payroll tax) was always put into the treasury and spent for current budget items. What else would anyone do with the money" Buy ENRON stock?

    As long as the govt is borrowing money it doesn't matter from whom the money is borrowed, SS, savings bonds, or the Chinese. The book keeping is the same.

    The govt ran deficits for most of the 19th century. The money was spent for building roads and dams. In the 20th century the debt financed wars. Anyone see the difference?
     
  10. billwald

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    > SSI and Medicare would both be self supporting systems.

    For a few years if we were not spending $27 billion a month to kill Iraqis.

    When SS started retirement was 65 and the average person was dead at 60. Soon there will be only 3 workers supporting each retired person.

    Medicare will never be solvent. In the last year My Old Man cost the taxpayers more than he earned in his entire life. Is the govt obligated to pay to prolong life as long as it technical possible?
     

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