This week, ClickBack asked editorial page readers for their thoughts on deficit reduction.
Where should deficit reduction work focus?
The U.S. military budget:
In 2001 — $307,800,000,000.
In 2010 — $680,000,000,000.
Need we look further?
Should be a no-brainer. Let the Bush tax cuts die. Get out of Iraq and Afghanistan and let Korea have its civil war. Sell South Korea all the arms it wants and put Americans to work in the factories building these arms. Israel seems to be able to hold off the whole Arab world and has a lot less industrial capacity than South Korea.
Prediction: We will roll back Social Security and benefits on those who desperately need and have worked for them.
The newly elected Republican leadership will block, by any means possible, anything proposed by Democrats that might help this situation we are in.
The Democrats will march in lockstep just as the Republicans. There will be nothing of worth done in the next two years in Washington, D.C.
There are two ways for us to cut the deficit — raise taxes and cut spending. Unfortunately, the Republicans refuse to raise taxes and the Democrats refuse to cut spending. And so we plod along looking for nonexistent leadership to lead us out of this quagmire. And the American public keeps heading for the mall to buy goods made in China and paying for those goods on an overextended credit card.
Let’s be fair: The Republicans refuse to cut spending too. In fact, they are the biggest spendthrifts in this country when it comes to other people’s money.
Hell-bent on stealing the hard-earned pensions of our senior citizens and further suppressing what is left of our stagnant and inadequate wages, yet oblivious to the cause of our deficits — two wars and tax giveaways for “non-persons” and those who have created not one penny’s worth of wealth but have plundered our country from above. The mindset of the deficit commission is beyond redemption.
Since Obama took office, government spending has exploded.
Begin by returning the discretionary budget to 2008 levels. Reduce all state and federal governmental wages to 2008 levels, including Congress, their staffs and the executive branch, and freeze them until a balanced budget is achieved and they are comparable to private workers.
Use pay as you go for Congress for all bills, including unemployment supplements.
Eliminate the federal Department of Energy and drastically reduce the Department of Education. Change the law so legal immigrants have to work 40 quarters to be eligible for SSI, just like U.S.-born workers. Eliminate COLA adjustments to all retired federal and state workers except the portion from SSI.
Go to a flat tax, with everyone paying something. Eliminate the use of trusts to hide taxable money and perhaps base one’s income tax on net worth, rather than simply income.
The “budget surplus” was created by removing the Social Security and Medicare liabilities from the federal budget. This is tantamount to a private individual saying, “I have $1,000 extra, but that is not counting my $8,000 credit card debt and my $250,000 home mortgage.”
I say the only way we will ever get a surplus is to stop being the world’s policeman, homeless shelter and Santa Claus.
We also must start paying our bills, rather than borrowing money from communists. Does anyone think that will turn out well?