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Every American presidential administration comes up with a plan to balance the federal budget. The plan is almost always the same. It is a long range plan that will take many years to accomplish, usually ending after the administration proposing it is out of office. Then, when the balanced budget plan fails, the administration can say "hey, we had a plan in place," but the new administration (usually of the opposite party) ruined it."
I've been listening to this song and dance for decades, and only one administration ever achieved a balanced budget, Bill Clinton's. It took him six years to accomplish it, and even Clinton left a huge net federal debt, in the neighborhood of $1.5 trillion.
Thus, I think it's fair to say our leaders are nothing but a bunch of irresponsible, phoney-baloney, lying blowhards. The verdict of the last 75 years is in.
Now, Barack Obama has announced his 4-year plan, not to balance the budget, but to reduce it to ONLY $533 trillion. Obama's budget for this year projects a deficit of $1.75 trillion, with federal spending soaring to $4 trillion in 2010, increasing government spending as much in two years as Bush did in 8 years. Some change. Then Obama acts like he's concerned with fiscal responsibility. I can't listen to this nonsense any longer. Enough is enough. Running these endless deficits already has us blowing nearly $500 billion annually on debt interest that benefits nobody (except maybe China). We are following our so-called leaders into the seventh circle of economic hell.
So here's one plan (not necessarily the best plan) to balance the federal budget RIGHT NOW. I wouldn't be proposing some of these steps unless the situation was dire, but it IS dire:
1. Repeal Obama's stimulus package. It's a combination of tiny tax cuts that won't make much difference in people's lives, coupled with tons of unneeded spending. Savings - $787 billion.
2. Stop Obama's foreclosure and toxic asset bailout. We've given the banks enough already, and I'm sick of rewarding corporations and individuals for their bad behavior. Let's start rewarding responsibility instead, as it should be. Savings - $275 billion.
3. Eliminate the federal Department of Education. Washington D.C. doesn't teach kids, your local teachers do. The Department of Education is little more than a bunch of bureaucrats. The test scores of America's children have DECLINED since the Department of Education was created by the Carter administration. Savings - $63 billion
4. Cut Department of Defense spending by 10%. Savings - $54 billion
Note - this does not affect funding for the wars, which is a separate appropriation. We should save another $150 billion or so as the Iraq war draws down.
5. Reverse Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. This is not the end-all-be-all panacea it is painted to be by the left-wing spinmeisters. According to the Tax and Policy Center, reversing the Bush tax cuts for those making over $250,000, as Obama proposes, would generate an additional $350 billion in revenue over 10 years. Nevertheless, every little bit helps. Extra yearly revenue generated - $35 billion
6. Freeze the Omnibus spending bill for march through september at the level of last year's bill. Savings - $32 billion
Let me get out the calculator and see how much I've saved so far. 787+275+63+54+35+32 = $1.246 trillion. We're getting there, but we have a little ways to go. What else can we do ?
7. Raise the Social Security payroll tax ceiling to $190,000. I know this is immoral, and I'd only do it as a stopgap measure until I fixed the Social Security Ponzi scheme, but it will bring in some revenue and push back the day of SS reckoning (sorta). Yearly revenue generated - $ 58 billion
8. Eliminate home mortgage interest tax deduction. Also painful, but everyone has some "skin in this game," as Obama says. This also primarily affects higher level income persons. Extra revenue generated - $75 billion
9. End agricultural price supports. Savings - $20 billion
10. Cut Obama's proposed budget from $3.5 trillion to $3.4 trillion, a 2% cut. Savings - $100 billion
I think that just about gets us to a balanced budget, and if we add in the savings from ending the Iraq war, we are in budgetary surplus. Everybody will hate some of this, and I hate a lot of it, but anything is better than spending ourselves into oblivion. It took me about an hour of research to come up with this. I'm sure I could develop a far better plan if I had more time and energy to devote to it. I'm sure I could get us to a major budgetary surplus and start paying down that enormous debt if it was my full time job. So, why can't Congress and the President do this ? After all, it IS their full time job. They are not serving the interests of the American people in any way. Why do we let them get away with it ???? I'll never understand. All Republicans can talk about is tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts, and all Democrats can talk about is spend, spend, spend. A pox on both their houses. I'm all in favor of lower taxes and limited government, there's no doubt about that. That's a founding principle of liberty that should never be forsaken. But I'm even more in favor of not seeing my country go down the tubes, so lets jump off this partisan ship of fools to save our country. Time is running out. Balancing the budget is not some unattainable dream that might or might not happen 10 years from now. It's something that can be accomplished almost immediately. All it takes is the political will to do it, and therein lies the problem.