Your chance to cut the deficit...

  1. Budget Puzzle: You Fix the Budget - Interactive Feature -

    I did it with a combination of tax increases and spending cuts. None of the cuts harmed the middle/working class in any way.

    Its worth taking the time to do the quiz.

    My recommendations were:

    Cut federal contractors
    Reduce the military to pre-Iraq war levels
    Cancel unneeded weapons programs (leaving AF/Navy intact)
    Cut Iraq/Afghan troop deployments to 30,000 by 2013.
    Cap Medicare cost growth
    Reinstate the estate tax to Clinton era levels
    Return investment tax rates to clinton era levels (Capital gains 10% (low income), 20% (everyone else) and dividends as regular income.)
    expiration of the tax cuts for 250,000/year +
    Lift the payroll tax cap for incomes above 106,000/year
    surtax for income above 1 million/year
    National Sales tax (5%) (excluding from taxation housing, education and charitable giving)
    Risky bank tax

    55% Tax increases
    45% spending cuts

    Budget Puzzle: You Fix the Budget - Interactive Feature -

    You can play with the numbers and policy options in any number of ways....
    Last edit by HM2VikingRN on Nov 14, '10
  2. 7 Comments

  3. by   Tweety

    My summary was 31% Tax increases and 69% spending cuts.

    I let the Bush taxes expire, slashed military spending, and raised the retirement age to 70.
  4. by   VivaLasViejas
    You are positively a spending-cuts hawk on this one, Tweets---mine came out 45%increases/55% cuts. I left the Bush tax cuts in place, raised the SocSec income cap and the eligibility age, increased the estate tax a little, and cut the fat from defense and foreign aid.

    None of that felt good. I also thought there were a number of budget items that were notable for their absence, such as the EPA, the NEA, the Department of Education ---all of which should be either slashed to the bone or eliminated entirely (IMHO).

    Interesting experience, Viking.....thanks for sharing that.
  5. by   herring_RN
    Good thinking. Lots of discussion needed.
    Argue with a willingness to compromise.
    Verify facts.
    If Congress does that we may actually save our country.
  6. by   HM2VikingRN
    There are some very good arguments for both sides of the puzzle. IMO SS should be held harmless. (Life expectancy only tends to increase for higher income workers and 2. Manual laborers tend to be forced into retirement at earlier ages d/t wear and tear.) SS is also the only defined benefit pension plan for all workers. Raising the retirement age is a form of stealing life and opportunity from the middle class. The other piece is that the upper 2% of the economy should at a minimum pay the same marginal rate as their secretaries.
  7. by   HM2VikingRN
    the schakowsky plan:

    representative jan schakowsky (d, il-09) is a member of the progressive caucus and holds a seat on the catfood commission. today, she released her proposal to reduce the deficit. it is good, sensible policy, focusing on:
    • ending various corporate tax breaks (132.2 billion in annual savings)
    • reducing defense spending (110.7 billion in annual savings)
    • taxing capital gains and dividends as ordinary income (88.1 billion)
    • passing cap and trade (52 billion)
    • passing a robust public option (10 billion)
    • reducing agricultural subsidies (7.5 billion)
    as strong and sensible as schakowsky’s plan is, it faces twin political problems of being popular, and not cutting benefits to the working and middle class.
    how can you ever expect to be “serious” about the deficit unless you are cutting public services in order to pay for tax cuts on the wealthy? as long as you are making popular proposals like raising the social security cap, targeting government spending to create jobs, increasing taxes on the wealthy and corporations, passing cap and trade, and enacting a robust public option, you are just not “serious.” the entire point of this exercise is to cut popular programs that actually help americans so that a bunch of rich elites in the media, dc, and wall street can pat themselves on the back for making the difficult decisions of supporting stuff that makes them even richer.
    as schakowsky’s plan shows, it actually isn’t that hard in terms of policy to make steep deficit reductions without cutting benefits or services. the real problem is political, in that doing so would require the rich elites who own our political system to call off their class warfare against everyone else.

    well worth the time to read. (smart spending does reduce deficits and support the middle class. )
  8. by   ElvishDNP
    82% spending cuts, 18% tax increases...the only tax I added was a carbon tax. I waffled between that and the VAT, but stayed with carbon.
  9. by   HM2VikingRN
    I think the reality is that we need to raise taxes. Spending cuts just don't survive the budget process. (We can close most of the gap simply by cutting defense spending in half. We would still spend more than the rest of the world combined at that level...)

    Some spending is smart as it reduces long term costs. In all honesty I can see the need for ag subsidies/R&D spending. I can also see the need to maintain state aids. (State aids reflect the cost of federally imposed mandates on states. (NCLB is the prime example..) )
    (As a VA nurse my salary is competitive with the private sector but not superior to the other hospitals in MPLS.)

    The cuts proposed by bowles-simpson target the middle class and are used to in effect promote further wealth concentration.

    I just ran the exercise again. Ideally we would see a 50-50 distribution. That is true "share the pain."

    Stabilizing the debt as a share of the economy will require both spending reductions and revenue increases.
    Last edit by HM2VikingRN on Nov 17, '10