Civil Discourse Now

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How to move towards a balanced budget

Budgetary matters

We have before the Congress a budget proposed by President Obama that makes few people happy. There is general consensus that we should cut spending. There is no such consensus about raising taxes. The Republicans want to preserve tax cuts for the rich. Some in the Democratic Party are willing to preserve those tax cuts.

So, like people everywhere who try to balance their checkbooks, let us see what we could do to right these matters.

1. Cut the budget by cutting military spending.

About 20 percent of the budget, or over $70 billion, goes to military spending. We do not need a military operation on the scale of the Cold War. We do not need to be in Iraq or Afghanistan. We do not need new nuclear weapons or any more aircraft carriers. If we reduce the military budget by $100 billion, we make a lot of military contractors unhappy. Otherwise, we have gone a long way towards a balanced budget.

Do we "weaken" America? We do not face any foreign foes against whom al that big, expensive hardware has any tactical advantage. The Taliban will not oppose us with main-line battle tanks. Osama bin Laden does not have, at his disposal, flights of jet interceptors, even Korea-era.

2. Increase government revenues by ditching the Bush tax cuts for the rich.

Jettison all the faulty economic analysis you have garnered from Fox. We should tax the super-wealthy, even if only on modest levels. "Trickle-down" economics never worked. The only reasons the economy was so good in the 1980s were (1) Iran and Iraq, two countries that produce a lot of the world’s supply of oil, were at war and the bottom dropped out on prices of oil, very convenient for a world-wide economy based on—you guessed it—oil; and (2) The Federal Reserve tightened controls on currency in 1979 to produce a recession to stop the stagflation that had plagued the United States since the mid-1960s. Ronald Reagan probably would have trouble spelling the word "economics." I doubt he understood economic principles. He certainly was not entitled to any credit for the economic prosperity of the 1980s.

3. Keep welfare and entitlement programs in place.

If you want money to be spent here, give it to the poor. They will buy food, clothing, housing, and other essentials that directly will benefit the national economy. If you want to invest overseas, let the rich get away with the safety nets bestowed upon them since 2001. They will place their money in companies the profits from which are greater because labor in those foreign corporations works for pennies per hour.

There you have it, a plan that consists of three simple parts. Of course, it never will be adopted because too much fear has been instilled in people for them to accept part 1, the media owned and controlled by the rich have convinced the people part 2 is unwise, and everybody has accepted as a matter of rote that entitlement programs are bad.

Oh well. I tried.

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