New York Times: “Get a Pencil. You’re Tackling the Deficit”

The NY Times has an article up today, Budget Puzzle: You Fix the Budget. You can click through from it to a nice graphical layout of spending and revenue options for the next two decades, up to 2030, a target date for trying to bring our budget and deficit under some sort of control.

According to the Times,

Try to cut $1.345 trillion from the 2030 budget. Why 2030? That’s when boomers start to weigh heavily on the budget, and it’s the latest year for which experts have estimated
costs for budget items.

It is worth looking through and deciding just what you would do.

What is crystal clear to me is one very simple fact.

Just by ending the lavish tax cuts Bush provided the super rich, and a few other well chosen decisions, including having Social Security payroll tax apply to some income above $106,800 (the current wage ceiling), this is not a problem.

Of course what the billionaires club and corporate oligarchy, who have managed in just the past three decades to concentrate 24% of the nations wealth in the hands of just 1% of its population, want to do, is to continue lining their pockets with more wealth than can be imagined, while reducing the poor and middle class to wage slaves totally under their control.

I frankly would not be surprised at some point soon to hear them start suggesting that in addition to everyone having to wait until they are 70 to draw social security, to suggest that one easy way to balance the budget is to abolish the laws against child labor. After all, there is a whole pool of willing less than minimal wage workers ready to be tapped.

So let’s add up a few items, starting on the revenue options side:

Increase Revenue or Decrease Spending Option Amount (Billions)
Eliminate earmarks $ 15
Enact medical malpractice reform $ 15
Tighten eligibility for disability insurance $ 15
Cancel or delay some weapons programs, like F-35 $ 20
Reduce nuclear arsenal and space-based missile defense spending $ 40
Speed up withdrawal of Iraq/Afghanistan troops to a total of 30,000 remaining by 2013 $170
Inheritance tax: Exempt first $1 million; varying tax rate (policy under President Clinton) $105
Raise capital-gains taxes on all households. Tax dividends as ordinary income. (Clinton policy) $ 45
5.4 percent surtax on income above $1 million $ 95
Have Social Security payroll tax apply to some income above $106,800 (the current wage ceiling) $100
Allow expiration of Bush tax cuts on income above $250,000 $115
Allow expiration of Bush tax cuts on income below $250,000 $250
Reduce mortgage deduction and other tax breaks for high-income households $ 55
Reduce individual and corporate tax breaks, while also cutting income and corporate tax rates; net effect is to raise taxes $175
Gradually rising tax on carbon emissions (starting at $23 per ton of CO2) $ 70
Tax on banks, weighted by size and riskiness of holdings $105
Total: $1.390

Frankly, that was not that hard to do, once you made the decision to stop the out of control migration of wealth into the hands of the top 1% of the population, and then to put some reasonable rates back on the corporate oligarchy.

FWIW, I would like to see something in this plan about rewarding corporations for building jobs, manufacturing, and infrastructure here in the United States, rather than outsourcing for quick cash flow while destroying the American Middle Class.

I would also like to see legislation that stops the banks and corporations from avoiding legitimate taxes by leveraging off-shore registrations, accounts, and sham false front operations, in order to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.

What should be more than clear is that balancing the budget on the backs of the poor and the jobless and the Middle Class, as suggested by the the Simpson Cat Food commission, is not really necessary. Unless you simply have decided that only the super rich and corporations matter anymore, and that decent jobs, wages, and security for medical care and in old age are something that Americans simply should not expect or hope for anymore.


Author: Ron