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As the political class bickers over the debt ceiling, I can't help but wonder - How did we get to trillion+ dollar deficits for as far as the eye can see ? How did this country get so far off track ? Could you have even imagined trillion+ dollar deficits prior to 2009 ? I couldn't.
The recession is the obvious answer, but it goes beyond that. The recession technically ended in the middle of 2009, but try telling that to the American people when unemployment is still 9.2%. The recession may have ended, but the recovery has been anemic, and this country's finances are in the crapper (which explains why the recovery is anemic. The future don't look so bright, and the people with the money know it).
Near the end of 2008, President Bush okayed the $700 billion TARP bailouts, and the term 'Too Big To Fail' was added to our lexicon. That shocked everyone, myself included. Who ever thought the American taxpayers would have to bail out the fat cats ? Unbelievable. Then President Obama came along and fired his economic weapons, in the form of a trillion bucks of so-called stimulus (much of which wasn't stimulus at all). That shocked everyone, myself included. Obama asked the taxpayers to bail out the government and the auto companies...more fat cat bailouts. Obama also asked the taxpayers to bailout the unions, and asked the taxpayers to bail out pretty much everyone, including the taxpayers themselves (strange concept that).
The Democrats keep asking for tax increases to close the trillion+ dollar spending gap the Democrats have largely created (yes, I said it). The Republicans think spending cuts are in order.
For myself, I say we adopt the 'let's get back to 2008' plan as a start. I should probably call it the 'let's get back to 2007' plan, because in 2007 the deficit was only $160 billion. Who would have ever thought a few years ago that a $160 billion deficit would look so damn good by comparison ? But we'll go with 2008, when the deficit was $458 billion. Even that sounds good compared to the $1.6 trillion deficit we have today. Obama would be dancing in the halls of the White House if he could reduce the deficit to the LARGEST DEFICIT BUSH EVER HAD IN A FULL YEAR AS PRESIDENT. As I said before, the media would probably canonize Obama if he merely reduced the deficit to the LARGEST DEFICIT IN THE HISTORY OF THE COUNTRY PRIOR TO 2009. It seems expectations have been substantially lowered these last few years (I'm trying really hard to push the joke about affirmative action out of my head right now. Forgive me).
What would it take to get back to 2008 ? I call it the Before Barack plan, if you will.
Let's look at the numbers to see where we went so far off track. Here's a spending comparison between 2008 and 2011. That's B.B. and A.B. (Before Barack and After Barack).
Total federal spending
2008 - $2.98 trillion
2011 - $3.81 trillion
Well, shoot ! There's most of the problem already ! Spending is $900 billion more than it was a few short years ago. Add that new spending to the Bush's $458 billion 2008 deficit, and that drives the deficit up to $1.35 trillion right there.
But we need to know where to cut, so lets' dive a little deeper into those numbers. Here's a spending breakdown.
2008 - $729 billion
2011 - $964 trillion
Aha ! The "anti-war" Obama (suckers) has shot Defense spending through the roof ! Let's cut $235 billion off Defense spending to get back to 2008 levels. Bye bye Afghanistan. Bye bye Libya. Bye bye Iraq. It's time to defend America, in many senses of the word. Btw, the pantywaist Democrats just proposed a $90 billion Defense cut over 10 years as part of the debt ceiling deal. They should be much bolder than that, and you're lucky if you ever hear a Republican talk about Defense cuts. They should be much smarter than that. Our Defense budget is much too large, and should be discussed BEFORE discussions of Social Security and Medicare cuts are brought up (though we need to trim those also).
Pensions Spending (Social Security, etc)
2008 - $659 billion
2011 - $800 billion
Here's another $150 billion increase. It breaks my heart to cut Social Security, because that program would be sound had the government thieves not robbed it blind all these years, and had they invested the money in consverative instruments instead. There is supposed to be $2.5 trillion in the Trust Fund, but as I've said many times before, that's a mirage. The government stole the money. The government should have to make good on that money without putting the taxpayers on the hook all over again. This is a great argument for privatization, but that's a subject for another time. The problem is, the government is broke...or is it ? The government owns about 650 million acres of land in this country. It's time to hold a government land sale to raise some money for the stolen Social Security funds (can the citizens sue Congress over it's SS thievery ? That would be interesting). And it goes without saying that the government should keep it's grubby mitts off SS in the future.
Health Care Spending (Medicare, Medicaid, etc)
2008 - $671 billion
2011 - $900 billion
There's another $230 billion increase. Health care costs have been increasing rapidly, but this is government health care were talking about. The government dictates the reimbursement rates. Cut it.
2008 - $101.8 billion
2011 - $100 billion
Well, shut my mouth ! Obama actually cut something. Only by a billion dollars, but it's better than nothing. This probably infuriates liberals, which is nearly always good for the country these days (things weren't always like this. Liberals used to accomplish some good things in this country, before they were taken over by Leftists).
2008 - $322 billion
2011 - $500 billion
A $178 billion increase. Some of this increase is attributable to the recession. No doubt about that. The solution here is mostly to get people back to work, which is why Obama and the Democrats anti-business policies are so friggin' stupid. Speaking of which, did I say yet that we should repeal ObamaCare ? If not, we should. The last thing we need right now is MORE welfare. Let's get our fiscal ship of state back on solid ground first. That and job creation are jobs number one and number one (note to Democrats - thus spending cuts AND targeted tax cuts for job creation, instead of your counterproductive 'soak the rich' class warfare policies).
Let's total up these spending increases so far ($235 billion + $150 billion + $230 billion + $178 billion = $793 billion). Let's round it to $800 billion in needed spending cuts. Some of these cuts can come from the rest of federal spending (about $500 billion) that I haven't talked about.
$800 billion in spending cuts reduces the deficit by half. We have $800 billion left in deficits. Now let's talk about revenue. In order to get to the 2008 deficit of $458 billion, we need to raise revenue by $342 billion yet. That's easy. We just need to put people back to work (okay, it's not easy, but it's straightforward). If we return unemployment to the 5% range, we'll get the needed revenue. In 2008, federal revenue was $2.534 trillion. In 2011, it's $2.2 trillion. There's your revenue gap. My friend The Reverend will talk about how "revenue is at a 60-year low", but that's ridiculous. Federal revenue was lower in 2005 than it is now. That's six years, not sixty, and high unemployment is the ONLY reason revenue is down now. How he does go on though. What a sight.
After ALL this is addressed, then we can talk about taxing corporate jets, millionaires, and billionaires to help with the rest. Our tax code is a holy mess, like nearly everything else the government does, and it needs to be straightened out.
Getting to Before Barack doesn't solve all the problems. It leaves us with the problems we had under Bush, and those are still some pretty big problems. But they pale in comparison to what has happened under Mr. Hopeandchange.
I will get all the usual criticism from liberals about how I'm so mean and don't care about the people, and so forth. I'm used to it. It's just how liberals are, as if $14.4 trillion in debt, a $1.6 trillion deficit, and the current path to bankruptcy is somehow going to help the people. It isn't, of course. Just the opposite is true. These things are the greatest threat to the American citizens, and that's why I keep harping about these issues. Liberals believe we can tax and spend our way out of our problems, but their view is childish and not based in reality. There aren't enough rich people in the country to fund everything for everyone else, and reversing the Bush tax cuts for the top 2% is a drop in the bucket compared to our fiscal problems. Those tax cuts won't change anything. Liberals are always on the lookout to grab somebody else's money, and they act aggrieved when they can't do it. That's the mindset of a thief, and also of a Leftist. I have never felt entitled to another person's money. I don't understand how people can think that way. I believe in helping the truly poor and needy, but that doesn't cost $3.8 trillion per year. Not even close. Government at all levels consumes over 46% of the entire GDP of this country. That is way out of kilter, and it has happened due to the ascendancy of big government liberalism in BOTH major political parties. It's time to stop it now, before it's too late.