This link contains 2008 federal budget data. These are the numbers I'm going to use for my following proposals.
The estimated federal revenue for 2008 is $2.9 trillion. Of this amount, $1.788 trillion goes to mandatory spending (Social Security, Medicare. Medicaid, Welfare, Other entitlement programs, Interest on the Debt). Subtracting out the interest on the federal debt leaves us with an annual entitlement program budget of approximately $1.5 trillion.
We have approximately 300 million people in our country. Of this number, about 25% of them are children under 18. This leaves roughly 225 million adults in America. If we divide our entitlement spending by the number of American adults, we see we are spending $6,666.66 (an omen ?) in entitlements for every single adult in America. Now, many of those adults are relatively wealthy folks who don't really need any entitlements. They can afford their own health insurance. They aren't on welfare, and they have private retirement plans. Or they may just have enough wealth that none of that matters. The top 25% of wage earners are those earning $77,500 or more. Let's assume they don't need help with government entitlements and subtract them from the equation. That leaves us with 168,750,000 American adults who make less than $77,500 per year. That leaves us with annual federal entitlement spending of $8,888.88 for each of those 168 million+ people. Of those people, there are still many who don't need entitlements. They could be wealthy people who don't work. If we wealth tested people, we could eliminate the need for many more entitlements. For the sake of simplicity, let's round off the numbers and say we could provide 150 million American adults with a $10,000 check each year for the amount we are currently spending on entitlements in this country, $20,000 for a married couple.
So, why don't we just DO that, or at least something like that ? We'd have to make some adjustments, since we don't want to keep running huge federal deficits, and we also want to pay down the debt. If the deficit is $300 billion for a year, then we'd have to adjust the yearly checks down to reach a balanced budget. That means people would receive a check for $8000 instead of $10,000. I think people would be motivated to make sure our federal government balances it's budget when they see how the deficit comes directly out of their pocket, don't you ?
What we have accomplished is to eliminate the federal budget deficit, eliminate the problem of people with no health insurance (the uninsured would HAVE to purchase private insurance with their check), dismantle the huge wasteful government Social Security/Medicare/Welfare bureaucracies (saving a ton of money by dismantling them), eliminate the future entitlement crisis, and give Americans a financial boost. That's problem solving, something very few of our political power brokers in Washington D.C. seem interested in doing.
I'm just spitballing here, trying to float a seed of an idea, since our current entitlement system is a gigantic disaster that MUST be reformed, or our children our going to suffer terribly due to our irresponsibility.
Any thoughts ?
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