Thursday, February 17, 2011

Cut The Nonsense

I’m not sure that we need to solve the deficit problem now, we may need to let the economy pick up before we tackle that problem, but we do need to solve it, and the nonsensical crap that is coming from both sides to address the issue is just that: nonsensical crap. We have to get serious about it, and the longer we wait to do it the harder and more painful it is going to be.

The issue is in three parts and one solution does not cover all.

We cannot solve the federal deficit problem without raising taxes, and I am not talking about “making the wealthy pay their share,” I am talking about everyone. There is no free lunch. Taxes should be a great deal more progressive than they are, but the popular myth that we can have the government provide services and that the public, the middle class workers, need not pay taxes to support those services has to stop.

Dumping the tax burden on corporations and “wealthy businesses” is nonsense. Those taxes will not be paid by those corporations and business owners, they will be paid by the people buying the products sold by those corporations and businesses, the same consumers who are trying to avoid paying the cost of government now.

We need to cut military and defense spending by at least 50% and preferably by 75% or more. We are defending against an enemy that was defeated decades ago. We need to end farm subsidies and similar giveaways altogether. These programs are corporate welfare, and we need to begin using the government to manage the country and serve the needs of the people, not to fatten the pockets of corporate magnates.

We need to eliminate the home mortgage deduction and all other tax dodges that are designed to manipulate social policy. Taxes are for the purpose of raising revenue and should be used for that purpose only, not to inspire social policy or to promote one or more segments of commerce.

We do not need to address Social Security at all, at least not in terms of the federal deficit. It is funded by its own revenue stream and has no direct effect on the deficit. Chris Matthews once objected to raising or eliminating the cap on income taxed for the program because high income earners would ”pay in money that they would never get back.” So would anyone who dies at age 64. The adjustments need to keep in mind that this is not a social investment program, but is a social insurance program.

We need to address Medicare and Medicaid, not in terms of government spending directly, but in terms of the way that health care is administered and delivered in this nation. We spend three times more and get less on health care than any other developed nation in the world, and is because of the effect of rampant predatory practices by the delivery system. If we address and correct the way that providers charge for medical services, the payments problem for Medicare and Medicaid will take care of itself

In the entirety of the medical care system, public and private, we need to address the problem not in term of the payments we are making, but rather in terms of the costs we are incurring and the nature of those costs. Not what we're doing, but who's doing it and what they are charging for it.

A thousand tiny cuts will not slay an enemy. You have to take a big freaking sword, swing it from the hip and deliver a mortal blow.

1 comment:

  1. The deficit is a real problem, and everyone is dancing around it. We need to spend less, increase revenue and preferably both.

    The first thing to go is the idea that you can get something for nothing - like services without paying for them. Everyone should pay something. I know, I know, students, people at poverty levels, the unemployed, etc may not have income or enough of it to pay anything. The idea is for everyone to have some sort of involvement is the solution.

    Politicians have been saying this BS for years and so many people have bought into it, and it is just as much their fault as any other. It defies logic that you can just spend money and not have it come from somewhere. Lottery? people pay into that. Welfare, subsidies, food stamps, etc? Taxes. Taxes? People pay them. If recent history of economics doesn;t teach you something nothing will. Of course, politicians need to stop saying we can lower taxes (they say this to get votes) and keep services, etc. Do we have any economists in Congress? Anyone with a clear idea of a balance sheet?

    Same with many /most /all? corporate subsidies. A subsidy AND a tax break? No. Corporation should be paying (fair) business taxes. Just like individuals, fair, without so many breaks that erodes that fairness. Too many breaks, deductions, exemptions, blah blah makes the tax code too complicated. That ought to be reformed and simplified as well.

    The Rubs and to a lesser extent the Dems are talking cuts, but they are not cutting enough and not from the biggest money pits. You cannot make some things off limits and expect cutting shavings elsewhere to work.

    The Defense budget is probably the biggest thing that cuts can come from. Sec. Gates is trying very hard to cut BS from here and I applaud that, but there is more than can be done. here are a lot of programs and equipment that there simnply is not a need for.

    The brass doesn't like it, but they can be told to get with the program or get out. The politicians don't like it becasue it gives jobs in thier districts, but does a local issue take precedent over a national one?

    If Social Security is not an issue, why does everyone keep talking about it? Before you blow a gasket, yes I know you've talked about this ad nauseum. I'm still not convinced it won't be a problem AT SOME POINT, just perhaps not right now.

    Medicare & Medicaid need reform as a part of the whole health care system. That is a subject all by itself with it's own multi-part set of problems and solutions. Fix the whole issue, the Medicare /Medicaid part will certainly come with that.

    Bottom line is it will take both a large axe to the budget, and a large hammer to the heads of those who need to get a clue about how budgets work. That includes the public and politicians, neither of which can afford to obfusticate about it or have their heads in the sand.

    I may be pessimistic here, but I am not holding out a lot of hope in this area. I hope it doesn;t take a Greek meltdown to make it happen.