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You Fix The Budget!

Discussion in 'Congregation of the Masses' started by Trax, Nov 16, 2010.

  1. Trax

    Trax

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  2. Shiny_Tyranitar

    Shiny_Tyranitar

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    Yeah, I played around with it, and noticed that it would cut the deficit by almost 65% follow their proposals and cut the military, reduce combat troops to 30,000, returning to Clinton Era tax rates, and repealing the Bush tax cuts.

    Hell, fiddling around with it, just clicking the the three buttons to repeal Bush's tax cuts reduces the deficit by almost a third by 2030. Click on them and the two Clinton era buttons and the deficit falls by over 40%. Just made sadder when you realize the CBO predicted the US to have an $850 Billion budget surplus this year when Clinton left office

    But hey, Newt Gingrich's plan to defund the NEA (all $170 million, otherwise 0.01% of the deficit) works too.
  3. vonFiedler

    vonFiedler GAMG GRGAK
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    I eliminated the deficit without touching taxes. Pretty easily actually.
  4. Alan

    Alan

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    I have a faster solution, eliminate the minimum wage, get rid of all the stupid government beauracracies like the department of agriculture, education etc (put them all under one thing of the department of the interior or something) and reduce the income tax. it might not eliminate the deficit but it will get people to work and help our economy.

    edit: however that little thing in the OP was pretty cool
  5. Ancien Régime

    Ancien Régime capitalism delenda est
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  6. Hipmonlee

    Hipmonlee Have a rice day
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    Obviously liberals also cut back the military as hard as they possibly can, which combined with one hell of a tax hike will get you there.

    Though actually I definitely support a hell of a lot of cuts to spending. Mostly not the ones you chose though..

    Have a nice day.
  7. Veedrock

    Veedrock

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    I think that is the point of the exercise. This is pretty nifty nonetheless. I didn't save my options but it was something like 44% taxes / 56% spending cuts.

    I think the "Reduce the number of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan to 30,000 by 2013" is a bit extreme, and it doesn't cut spending a significant amount more than reducing it to 60,000 by 2030. I'm going to have to look into the "Cap Medicare growth starting in 2013" proposal because it reduces the deficit by half a trillion and I don't quite understand why.
  8. Ancien Régime

    Ancien Régime capitalism delenda est
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    Because Medicare, more than any other program, is the real budget buster.
  9. Mailman

    Mailman

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    eliminate minimum wage, you must be out of your mind
  10. Ancien Régime

    Ancien Régime capitalism delenda est
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    In theory it'd be great to get rid of the minimum wage, however, until we solve galloping inflation (i.e ending the fed), it's a bad idea in practice to try. Minimum wage is lagging behind inflation to begin with, and while you can (barely) get buy on min wage if you're really smart and live in a cheap area, you're hanging on by a thread.

    If we can push the cost of living downward for once and keep it there, then I'm all for ending the minimum wage.
  11. Deck Knight

    Deck Knight DK! DK! Donkey Kong is here!
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    Huzzah!

    I borowed a lot from Ancien Regime but with a few differences:

    First I did not slash research funding for miltary projects, pay for noncombat troops, and I only drew down troops to 60,000 for Iraq/Afghanistan. The mission there does need a lot more definition and if that cannot be met satisfactorally then I support a full pullout, but for now I am only comfortable with that level of reduction. Our troops already earn shit pay, I'd rather double theirs and halve Congress' and Congress would still be paid about double the grunts at that point.

    R&D for the space program is what brought us many of the modern conveniences we use in typing up these posts. R&D is very expensive but also crucial. The end product is often not even the greatest end result, as with the story of 3M (Sticky Notes!) who were trying to find a super-adhesive and instead ended up with, well, Sticky Notes.

    On Tax Increases I "upped" the Payroll Tax. Social Security does need to be reformed, but as a drastic privatization for new entrants of the kind I desire was not a proposal for this exercise I went with upping the payroll tax. There is no reason you should stop paying into Social Security after paying in X fixed dollar amount, and people are already comfortable paying the tax. It's a regressive tax anyway, and if you make enough income to escape it chances are both you and your employer can account for the additional burden (Social Security is a tax on both employer and employee).

    For government expenditures I slashed most of them out, but found I had room to keep earmarks. As terribly as they are abused, they are a small fraction and lets be honest, if they don't do it by a fair way out in the open (insofar as you can access the legislation) they'll just move this crap to the back room. I'd rather it be on the record.

    I did lower state aid because the strings attached to federal money are not worth it. States are supposed to be self-run anyway, and less reliance on the Feds in all aspects can do nothing but keep the power of this Republic where it is supposed to be centered: in the individual states.

    I did not need to raise the Medicare Age, though Social Security was moved up, but again my preferred schema isn't an option for this exercise. I have a co-worker in her early 60's and believe me, she and her husband have more than enough health problems to justify it. Medicare's greatest problem isn't the age it starts coverage, but rather that it isn't means-tested. Whether the age is 65 or 70 is not going to stop the fact that whether it happens when you're 66 or 96, the last few months of your life will be the most expensive. It's not really age sensitive that way.

    So to summarize I tried to come up with a mix that spared the advantages of government spending where they occur while creating the most taxpayer-friendly environment possible given the options.
  12. HeroMasaki

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    Deck Knight, that's a pretty good job of lowering the deficit without rending the hearts of every American and reducing our military strength into the ground.

    My only gripe is the SS eligibility age - its way too high as it is, to make it higher would be pretty bad. Nonetheless sacrifices must me made but I'd choose another area.

    Still, to do all of this would take more than one term and that might not be enough time.
  13. TAY

    TAY You and I Know
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    Hey I did it

    DK I gotta throw some respect your way for being an actual conservative...there are too many bullshit "conservatives" running around that talk like they are going to reduce spending and magically fix the budget but refuse to even consider things like military spending cuts and taxes on the super wealthy (at least publicly).

    It's actually almost a laughable scenario because I have quite liberal political views and we still wound up going for many of the same taxes/cuts. The only major difference between our "plans" is that you opted to reduce the size of the federal government while I did not, and made up for the difference with additional taxes on the wealthy.

    As far as things you did I "disagree" with (in quotes because honestly I wouldn't throw a fit if the budget was reduced by your plan)...I don't really like the idea of the federal government firing 10,000 (likely middle class) workers when it could instead raise taxes by 2% for super wealthy Americans. I also do not like the "other cuts to the federal government" option. The description mentioned reducing funds for national parks (a relatively small amount of money goes a long way towards keeping what wilderness we have left pristine), the Smithsonian (no way I want to reduce funds to programs that encourage science, and cool science at that), and fossil fuel research (turns out it's actually really useful to be more efficient with fossil fuels)...none of which I want to see happen.

    One thing to note, I was not sure whether the "nuclear arsenal and space spending" option included things like "going into space research"; from the description it seems like it means more like researching missiles that are launched from space. So I cut that option (just noting that I agree with you on space research!).

    I also think that Obama's capital gains tax proposal is quite reasonable. The increase is fairly small (5%) and affects only income levels over $250,000. A capital gains tax also stands to make a decent portion of its money from extremely rich people who make a good portion of their multi-million+ dollar incomes from capital gains (and then laughably pay only a 15% tax since it is not taxed as income, versus a middle class income bracket paying a much higher percent of their income due to income tax).

    So yeah, I might have been a little harsh on rich people, but tbh overall I find it sad that I and DK have many overlapping ideas regarding ways to fix the budget, but politicians can't seem to agree on a single damn way to reduce the deficit. Perhaps the US Congress should fill out this form and make the most popular fixes!
  14. cim

    cim happiness is such hard work
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    Bam. Still $100 billion short for 2030, but like a true politician that's not too important to me right now :P
  15. Hipmonlee

    Hipmonlee Have a rice day
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    That link didnt work Cim..

    Have a nice day.
  16. Deck Knight

    Deck Knight DK! DK! Donkey Kong is here!
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    Social Security can be taken early under its current age, but there are penalties involved. The point of Social Security is mostly as a safety net anyway for after your working years. You shouldn't even need it before then, since the theory is that as you progressed through life you obtained substantial enough assets to sustain your retirement.

    As far as the taxes on "the super wealthy" TAY, the problem is that many small business owners have S-Corporations that offer the limited liability protection desirable for a growing enterprise (especially in areas strife with regulation like my mother's medical billing company), however when they file taxes it is under their personal income.

    As a result my mother may have a "million dollar company" but that's gross income, and nowhere near what the company actually makes after deducting expenses (even excluding taxes). In other words my family is "rich rich rich!" according to the government because of the way our taxes are filed, but we're as middle class as basically anyone else, we live in a blue collar neighborhood, we shop at the discounted/local supermarkets and chain retailers, and we're pretty much as materially wealthy as any of our given neighbors, potentially less so.

    But every time Obama talks about going after "people who make over $250,000 a year (how excessive that sounds)!" He's talking about my family because of the way our taxes are filed. Or basically to use this warning: You will know who they mean when they talk about "the rich." They mean you, and every local shop you patronize.

    Same with the "millionaire's tax." It's flashy and it sounds nice and appeals to a populistic strain against percieved asset concentration (monopoly is implicit). And then you have to ask yourself this: "Who is the biggest employer in my town, and is the owner of that company a millionaire?" The answer on who the employer is will vary but it is extremely likely that they are a millionaire or better. Millionaires have a large degree of global mobility and are all too happy to invest their million(s) elsewhere. I'd rather them stay here. For another local example, I buy a footlong sub for $3.99 for lunch every work day at a local restaurant (I split the sub with a co-worker for half the value, I don't eat a whole footlong that's insane lol). By my calculations I alone give them $1,000 of business every year. If 1,000 people did that then I'm fairly certain the owners of that restaurant would be staring down a millionaire's tax because of how they file, and if so may have to raise their insanely awesome lunch prices. If it were $4.99 I'd probably stay with my daily purchase, but at $5.99 I would adjust my purchasing habits, actually reducing their overall sales despite the increased price per item. Long story short, a millionaire's tax does too much to punish economic prosperity. It just isn't that hard for a small business owner to get to a million dollars in gross income.


    My understanding of the space research question is that it was primarily about missile defense and the nuclear stockpile, however in general the physics that go into that kind of system are useful elsewhere since it's basically "how to hit a bullet with a bullet" on steroids. I am loath to cut any spending that goes into new research and development, because even though I do support reducing fleet size and troop presense abroad, I want it to be because we are making newer, smarter, multipurpose platforms rather than just leaving everything to stagnate. The enemy of this age doesn't fight with tanks and fighter planes, but if China runs into some civil unrest and has to militarize and invade surrounding nations or whatever to stabilize, you still want to have your smartest tech ready. R&D is the backbone of human progress, and one of the reasons I dispise rationing schemes for medicine. You can't cure cancer if all your medical facilities are figuring out how to assign 20 knee replacements to 30 patients.

    Actually the way the estate tax question was worded the defacto choice was either default to Clinton-era (as "None" was basically this based on the wording on the Clinton-Era section) or go with either Lincoln-Kyl or Obama's proposal. Lincoln-Kyl was the least onerous and tbh the estate tax exclusion this year was really bad policy, sort of like "if you're going to kill your ailing parent 2010 is a good year for inheritance purposes."

    The other part of it was reducing the Feds and the most important unmentioned one is eliminating farm subsidies. The price for commodiies is going through the roof and America has always had spare farm capacity. We now pay people not to farm in a time where demand for corn-based products is only going to increase. Not that I like subsidies in the first place, and farm subsidies have always irked me for their reward of inactivity.

    Back to the Feds, they always get budget increases even though the work they put out never seems to match that percentage (they use 10% more resources and produce 1% more analysis). If these are indeed people with marketable skills and not just patronage hires then their work is more valuable in the private sector anyway. There should never be a time when the United States is in a nationwide recession while Washington D.C. is booming and vibrant because of all the new government employees they need to run bureacratic agencies regulating the rest of us.
  17. Canelo351

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    I think it's Horse's sh!+ that our children will have to pay their debt.
  18. Myzozoa

    Myzozoa Throw-up on the internet, or get off on TV
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    lookit i can do it tooo

    Just reduce military spending and return taxes to clinton era levels and then omg just like with clinton we now have a budget surplus. eerie how that is dontcha think? Its almost like I can blame it on Bush.
  19. Deck Knight

    Deck Knight DK! DK! Donkey Kong is here!
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    You do realize that Clinton recieved the boons of an unprecedented period of peacetime and the dotcom bubble before it burst all over Bush's face (piled on with Sept. 11th), yet Bush still retained 5% average unemployment up through the last year of his term, right?

    Although I must say I do approve of your endorsement of a Republican congress. You know, the branch of government that actually sets economic policy while the president (fairly or unfairly) is attributed the consequences.
  20. Trax

    Trax

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    Yet by the same token Bush policies led the American economy to its current state.

    He raised spending, started an unnecessary war (Iraq) and cut taxes at the same time - the fact is that Bush policies are the reason the US economy is in awful shape right now.



    I did it like this. I was trying to avoid any cutting of employment, personally I'm comfortable with the raising of taxes for companies because honestly they are always trying to cut expenditure anyway.

    Estate taxes as far as I'm concerned are taxes that don't really effect the economy anyway - if it was up to me though there would be an option for Clinton level estate taxes with the threshold growing with inflation.
  21. Deucalion2

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    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/11/13/weekinreview/deficits-graphic.html

    - Eliminated farm subsidies for being notoriously ineffectual. The principle is good but the current execution is not.
    - Reduced the nuclear arsenal. There's enough as it is.
    - Reduced the military to pre-Iraq size and cuts troops stationed in Europe and Asia.
    - Reduced the Navy and Air Force.
    - Delayed some weapons programmes.
    - Increased Medicare eligibility to 68.
    - Increased Social Security eligibility to 68.
    - Reduced Social Security benefits for those with high incomes.
    - Used an alternate measure of inflation.
    - Returned estate tax to Clinton levels.
    - Returned rates to Clinton levels (although I'd have loved the option to return to Eisenhower levels).
    - Allowed the Bush tax cuts to expire for those above $250,000.
    - Placed a payroll tax on those earning above $106,000.
    - Placed a millionaire tax in place.
    - Eliminated tax loopholes whilst raising taxes.
    - Reduced mortgage breaks for high income households.
    - Put a carbon tax in place.
    - Put a bank levy (ideally the Tobin tax) in place.

    Ended up with a budget surplus of $236 billion for 2015 and $64 billion for 2030.
  22. Shiny_Tyranitar

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    Great observation, because we all know the president has nothing to do with drawing up the budget, setting public policy, passing legislation, and serving as the leader of his party. Nor did Bush run on a platform of tax cuts to "stimulate" the economy. Oh, wait...

    I'll still stick with the CBO's better judgment, Georgie the Clown royally fucked us.
  23. Deck Knight

    Deck Knight DK! DK! Donkey Kong is here!
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    The economy *was* doing fine until 2008, when the ill effects of The Community Reinvestment Act (first signed into law under Carter) finally came to fruition. An act started by Democrats, enhanced by Clinton, and even when Bush saw the writing on the wall, it was Democrats who put a stop to his plan to reverse the action long before TARP. Barney Frank most famously said he would "roll the dice" with the GSEs of Fannie and Freddie.

    Look, you are entitled to your own opinion about Bush. I think his bailouts and TARP were the stupidest things he ever did as president, especially his line about "I had to abandon free market principles in order to save it." But the economic crisis had its ball start rolling decades before George W. Bush was even president, and during Bush's term up until the collapse of 2008 the economy was doing just fine. I know the news media didn't say that, they said it was cataclysmic every time unemployment jumped above 5%. Now all they say is that we're "turning the corner" and every bit of bad news is "unexpected."

    The power to set a budget and the option to veto a bad bill does NOT give the President "The Power of The Purse." That distinction is solely Congress' and it is bad legislation that causes the overwhelming majority of fiscal crises. The economy under Bush was undeniably excellent, even though he got shot in the face with the dotcom bubble and Sept. 11th fairly quickly into his first term, which caused the recession of 2002.

    Now I'm sure since it's always on your mind, you wonder about the cost of the wars. Well if you recall on Sept. 11th not only were the Twin Towers attacked, but so was The Pentagon. You tell me, if some country flying a flag attacked the Pentagon in 2001, would that country still be standing in 2010? I doubt it. As far as the Iraq War, even the beloved Mrs. Clinton in her role as a Senator supported it, and Saddam was bluffing he had WMD. Thank God he didn't, at least not any NEW WMD. He'd already used chemical weapons on the Kurds, he looked like he had nuclear ambitions, and he was playing chicken with every international agency charged with preventing people like him from getting nuclear weapons. What would you do?

    Point blank, Bush Derangement Syndrome was only made possible because liberals weren't losing their jobs left and right. They had plenty of spare income thanks to the Bush tax cuts to fuel whatever lunacy they wanted in thier endless campaign to blame Bush for all evils current, historical, and even future. To this day they still won't give up trying to hang everything on his head because their blind party loyalty makes them incapable of saying "hey, maybe blowing the equivalent cost of seven years of the Iraq War in a single stimulus bill with no internal accountability apparatus was a bad idea." Obama "inherited" a fillibuster-proof Democratic supermajority in the Senate and a massively Democrat-tilted congress in 2008. Given you assign President Bush near unlimited responsibility for the economy with far smaller congressional majorities, exactly what does that say about Obama's job? He had the power to pass *any* Legislation he wanted *regardless* of the other party's opposition to it.

    Instead we got an untrackable stimulus passed in haste and the national clusterfuck Obamacare. Do you now wonder why Democrats recieved such complete annihilation in state houses, state legislatures, and the US House of Representatives on November 2nd? With absolute power comes absolute responsibility, and Obama failed at meeting his mandate. He seemed to think it was a mandate to finally bring socialism to America. People actually just wanted him and the Democrats to stop pussyfooting around and create sound economic policy, given Bush and the Republicans had failed to forsee and then stop the collapse of 2008. They made the mistake of thinking the Democratic Party today is like that of John F. Kennedy's or hell, even Bill Clinton's. Instead what they got was the party of Mondale/Dukakis/McGovern, who never won the highest office for a reason.

    So yes, you can blame Bush. But it makes you look like a moron. For those of us who are out in the real world, assigning blame got tired a long time ago. Every adult has accepted that multiple parties were involved in the mess we find ourselves in. It is unfathomable why so many people still want to say "Obama inherited this." Obama is not a blameless lamb! If he is, prae tell why when given every tailwind both politically and culturally he has rendered himself impotent and irrelevant in only two short years?
  24. Smith

    Smith is a 90's bitch
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    Mine.
    I'm curious what people think of this one, seeing as how I'm not very politically involved. Honestly, I don't pay attention hardly at all to what's going on unless it's around election season. I try not to stay loyal to either side in terms of parties, but I usually end up agreeing with the Democrats. Really the political issues that matter to me are things like immigration, abortion, and gay rights, and I won't even pretend to understand some of the other issues in this budget thing. I literally didn't know all the words in this. The point here, is that I hate and don't really understand the details behind politics, so I filled this out based on principle, ie if you want to simplify it, "Military isn't good! We can sort of cut that, right?" Basically, I understand that some of the more politically-fluent people around here will probably have a lot to say about this, but please recognize that I'm not extremely well-versed in day-to-day politics- again, the things that matter to me are "big issues", things I can morally ascertain.

    Generally, I cracked down on two "groups"- the wealthy and the military. Yeah I know, how generically left-wing of me. I don't know, I guess by looking at it it looks pretty balanced (48-52), but some of the more specific choices seem rather Democratic in retrospect. Anyways yeah here you go.
  25. makiri

    makiri My vast and supreme will shall be done!
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    Why can't I cut arts funding?

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