Cutting the Deficit


Well-Known Member
Sep 29, 2006
Anyone have their own ideas for how cutting the national deficit can be accomplished? Since the current administration thinks that since we can borrow money from other countries without paying it back for a while, we can do it forever, I'm interested in what you all might be brewing for a solution. Personally I would allow the cultivation of industrial hemp in the US, a much-maligned and cannabis-free crop that has so much potential that the tax revenue alone would be staggering.
I would eliminate the Bush tax cuts (which go mostly to the rich) and cut down on corporate welfare and war. I think industrial hemp is a good idea as well.
I certainy agree on repealing some of the tax cuts. I think that if they are not dealt with, then there at least needs to be an elimination of the income ceiling that benifits the super-rich come tax time. Personally I wouldn't really mind paying a little extra in taxes every year, if I knew it was going towards some kind of useful cause.
I like starting old threads again!

Personally I would start with removing old, ineffective and poorly thought out government programs. The bigger question is that what are the programs that need reworking? You can always find one person who validates a programs existance. I on the otherhand, honestly think that government should get out of the social service area. It is not because I don't care, I just think the government doesn't.

Charities work much better, I think, for both the reciever and donor. The reciever gets the services needed and the donor feels better because he/she gave their money to the organization freely. It's sort of a charity-consumer driven marketplace.

I don't like the government getting involved in "caring" programs. Mainly because an entity can't care about anything and most politicans don't give a rat's ass about you and your problems. So why do we still give them tons of money to do it? Then watch them fail at it, to boot!

Sorry I am ranting!
I have to agree that cutting programs is a better way to balance the budget than raising taxes. There's way too much waste in just about everything the government does to put more than the bare minimum in the federal budget.

While social programs should be on the table as needing to justify their funding, the military is the largest part of the discretionary budget (64% of the entire discretionary budget is military) and I think we could big results without damaging domestic programs by starting there. I'm all for a strong defense, but I think having an overly strong military encourages politicians to use it. If it were slightly harder for the US to go to war, we would probably get stuck in less messes and have fewer enemies.

Some military programs I'd cut or reduce if I were the boss:
  • "Global War on Terror" - 110 billion. Time to quit wasting money in Iraq, and giving an entire new generation valid reasons to want to blow up our buildings.
  • DoD R&D - ~50 billion across all the armed forces. We have a 20 year lead in technology on the next closest standing army. We can probably afford to lighten up here while still maintaining a decisive lead. (Lets say a 50% cut and call it 25b savings)
  • The JSF program - 10 billion in the current budget, and we have the F22
  • Ship Operations - 8.5 billion in the current budget, can probably be trimmed. Fight less wars and you need less boats in the water full time. (Say a 25% cut and a 2b savings)
  • Foreign Military Financing - 4.5 billion, particularly the 2.3 billion that goes to Israel. In the eyes of the Muslim world the military financing we provide to Israel (who seems to be good at using it to evict people from their homes using tanks) is a very real justification for them to consider the US an enemy. I can think of better things to do with our tax money than make enemies... get 4.5 billion one dollar bills and drop them out of a plane or something. anything.
Of course there's plenty of fat outside the military that should go too:
  • Farm subsidies - 16.6 billion, these in a stretch could be justified back when farming was a family affair and we were in the depression. Now that farming is primarily corporate, and profitable, it should not be subsidized by the government.
  • National Institute of Health - 28 billion. This is things like the cancer institute, allergy and infectious diseases institute, etc. Big pharma does R&D very efficiently, let them continue to do that without R&D grants that are effectively subsidies for a profitable sector of the economy. ...or, if they want to keep it at least make them give up the patents and take some savings in Medicare.
  • Food and Nutrition Services - 5.5 billion, we paid over 5 billion for the new food pyramid? Wow.
  • The Federal Prison System - 4.9 billion, should be something that can be cut down. Ideally by reducing percentage of our population that we keep in prison. (the highest anywhere in the world) (So say a 20% cut and a 1b savings)
  • The IRS - 10.6 billion, should be reducible in size by simplifying the tax code, which is overly complicated. (Say a 50% cut, and 5b savings)
If you add all that up its about 200 billion dollars, which is about 1/4 of the discretionary federal budget at 983 billion. That doesn't even get into the topic of doing things more efficiently, this is just to stop doing things the government shouldn't be doing in the first place.

I'm 100% with Brandon - when there's so much fat to be cut, how can you possibly justify raising taxes?

I plug this every time I post about the budget: The Budget Graph is a really enlightening look at the current federal budget, and only takes like 5 minutes to skim. I suggest you check it out.
Yeah, and that new food pyramid was more an exercise in PC than nutritional information. Like wtf???
Like said before cut military spending, but in a realistic way pull out of Iraq. Those emergency spending bills aren't listed in the original budget and really screw over the revenue/spending ratio. Also, with a push for cutting the military size we lose a lot of pork barrel spending. That in itself is a huge amount, so not only does the military efficiency increase, but the efficiency of congress.

From there the government shifts towards the Massachusetts styled health care sytstem of giving people the ability to seek checkups. This cuts down on those emergency surgeries, saves the taxpayer money, and saves people's lives.

We need to legalize and regulate drugs. Plain and simple we will never beat drugs unless we destroy ourselves completely. It is time for the government to step in and regulate them through pharmacies charging variable taxes on different levels of drugs. A pack of blunts for $20 with a $15 tax to make it $20. That in itself is an enormous amount of revenue, and no change in the drug user percentage here in the U.S.

10% flat tax. Plain and simple. It isn't so much just for the rich and this is why. The poor work multiple jobs to supply their families with enough money to put food on the table and pay the rent. If you can give some of the money they make back then you give the poor the ability to not live a life of slavery where they are forced into working 16 hours a day. In the new free time they can help their children in school, or be that parent they always wanted to be. What you get from that is a generation of kids that are more highly educated, and better people in that they don't committ as many crimes out of having hope from a society of hope given to them by their parents being there when they need them. It's easy to see that this highly skilled work force will then lead an expansion in the sectors that foreign competitors cannot compeet with as well, and in the end we avoid class struggles with the problem of offshoring.

Protect the borders. Simply put we need to protect the borders to protect Americans who work at the lower echelons of the wage scale. This surplus of labor in the blue collared sector drives wages down, and does stemm inflation, but not without increasing crime, and pulling test scores in schools down preventing the educational program mentioned above from doing well. Also add the reality of the massive social costs put on medical and infrastructure in general of this massive group.

Lastly, energy independence or something close to it. We need to become a lot more efficient in our usage of energy simply on the reality that 2/3 of our trade deficit is based on oil imports. Government should give tax credits for purchases of hybrids, and bring the flee minimum mpg up quickly to force Detroit to change. It is Detroit's laziness that screwed them right now. Also included in this is a massive expansion in solar, nuclear and wind power. Lower costs to consumers means more disposable income, and increased revenue. And last but not least, free but fair trade. Our relationships with countries are ridiculous as we allow countries to import as they wish, but they limit our exports. This system must end, as well as the Chinese stranglehold over their currency's value.

There are a couple points.
Or...give up as the US is already screwed!

I say that this needn't spell doom and gloom: the US has its finger dipped in various mercenary and very explosive pots; it's in much too involved a position for any country in its right mind to attempt to declare its insolvency.

P.S. Reason, what the heck is free but fair trade? I assume you're not a proponent of laissez-faire capitalism a la libertarianism, in that case.
I think the US is already screwed in more ways than one, now. Financial and social mire if you ask me, but that's just my opinion.

Everyone neglected to mention one program that certainly drains some funds: the "war" on drugs. Look how well that's going.
Haha, gosh, to be honest, if I had a penny for every time the Drug War was referenced on this site (let alone other sites I've been around), I'd have at least enough for meals for a day. Even talk of legalizing recreational drugs has the subtext of ending the war on them.
Ah well. I tried my best, haha. At least I contributed to your daily meal fund. Now I see that it was in Reason's that was my mistake.

More on topic: isn't NASA kinda a money pit?
I think we could do a lot toward reducing the deficit if we required countries that borrowed money from us in the past to PAY THEM BACK. That would probably take care of a good percentage of it!
That, I think, also falls prey to other political factoids since economics and politics fall under the same currency: power.
Could be, but if other countries would pay US back, it would definitely help toward cutting the deficit.
I'll give you a good strategy to cut the deficit--get the Neo-cons out of power.

Or...give up as the US is already screwed!

I say that this needn't spell doom and gloom: the US has its finger dipped in various mercenary and very explosive pots; it's in much too involved a position for any country in its right mind to attempt to declare its insolvency.

P.S. Reason, what the heck is free but fair trade? I assume you're not a proponent of laissez-faire capitalism a la libertarianism, in that case.

400% of the GDP?


I'm moving to Australia.