The Tax Increases We 'Need'? What About the Spending We Don't?

In the aftermath of this month's election, Democrats have renewed the push for higher tax rates on top earners. Republicans have cautiously suggested that they might be in favor of "raising revenue," but not raising tax rates. The most obvious way to get additional revenue without higher rates is to close carve-outs and loopholes. But as Politico notes, there are limits to how much money closing loopholes can raise:

The biggest loopholes in the U.S. Tax Code — generally referred to as tax expenditures — aren’t just the tricks of the trade for millionaires with offshore bank accounts. For the vast majority of Americans, they’re just how things work: You don’t pay taxes on your health insurance or Medicare benefits; you contribute tax-free to your 401(k); and your mortgage interest pushes down your tax bill each year.

And even if you dump the biggest of the set, these tax perks don’t even come close to closing the deficit. At best, the top 10 would pull in an extra $834 billion a year, according to Joint Committee on Taxation figures. Considering the hole lawmakers are trying to fill is several trillion dollars large, it’s clear they wouldn’t even come close.

Officials in the Obama administration have relied on these sorts of figures to argue that, well, tax rates are just going to have to go up. There's not other possible alternative! “I don’t see how you do this without higher rates. I don’t think there’s any feasible, realistic way to do it,” Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said earlier this month, according to The Washington Post. “When you take a cold, hard look at the amount of resources you can raise from that top 2 percent of Americans through limiting deductions, you will find yourself disappointed relative to the magnitude of the revenue increases that we need.”

Take a look at the last few words there: "the revenue increases that we need." That tells you a lot about how the Obama administration understands the federal budget. High government spending is assumed as a given. The only question is who to tax in order to pay for it. It's as if the Obama administration can't conceive of any alternative, like, say, limiting the amount of resources the federal government consumes, and looking for ways to actually cut spending

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  • Pro Libertate||

    "No, fuck you, cut spending."

    If Mr. Rogers can say it, so can you.

  • ||

    Your constant misinterpretation of what Fred Rogers said that day is infuriating. He said "fuck you, come sledding" to one of the kids who didn't want to go sledding with the rest of them and Daniel Striped Tiger. Why must you persist in your lies?

  • ||

    No, idiot. It was "Fuck you, cut Sally." One of the kids refused to participate in his cannibal ritual, the little pussy.

  • ||

    Are you fucking deaf? You can see the sleds over in the corner, too. LOOK HARDER.

    I think ProL needs an image of Kirk saying "Fuck you, cut spending."

  • Pro Libertate||

    Find me the correct Kirkian visage to use, and I will.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

  • Randian||

    No way: this is the winner here.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Oh, gosh, I'm not sure. How to choose?

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

  • Pro Libertate||

    Crap, now I've got the "Star Trek Fightin' Song" in my head. Well, more than usual, anyway.

  • Restoras||

    Earworm!! GODDAMMIT!!

  • Pro Libertate||

    Baked Penguin has spoken--yours is the superior. . . .

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Nice.

  • Restoras||

    Government is the way and the truth and the light. No one comes to riches or attains the heights of power and success except through more government.

  • Almanian.||

    But we can't CUT our way to PROSPERITY!!11!

    /progressitard

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    In the aftermath of this month's election, Democrats have renewed the push for higher tax rates on top earners.

    Voters did give them a mandate.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    I mentioned by brilliant tax plan earlier.

    Flat tax of 25% on all income (including capital gains) with a single $25,000 deduction to cover home mortgage/charites or anything you want. No EITC. End.

  • Ken Shultz||

    There's no way Obama or the Democrats would let you get away with something like that.

    Do you have any idea how "regressive" that plan would be according to them?

    Poor people without mortgages, poor people who don't make charitable donations, you're gonna make them pay taxes?

    Who are you--one of the Koch Brothers?!

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    The progressivity is in the large deduction - no taxes if you make an even 25k with four dependents, for example.

  • Randian||

    Woah, where did the 'dependents' thing come from?

  • R C Dean||

    Well, when mommy and daddy love each other very much . . . .

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Well, in my plan they don't matter. I was justifying the progressive deduction to Ken.

    Want kids? Fine. 25k

    Want to donate millions to the LDS? Fine. 25k.

    Want to buy hookers and drugs? Fine. 25k.

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    I am somewhat impressed Mr. Buttplug. But surely you have exceptions and goodies hiding somewhere?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    No, I am against social engineering via the tax code (or by government at all).

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Bullshit, shrike - you proudly voted for Obama, therefore you are in favor of social engineering via the tax code.

  • Brutus||

    It's not like Dubya simplified the code any.

  • Spoonman.||

    It's hard to imagine how much productivity the sheer complexity of the tax code sucks off. This would be great.

  • T o n y||

    One afternoon with your accountant a year?

  • Randian||

    For spoiled trust-fund babies, I could imagine it's like that.

  • ||

    No shit. I don't have an accountant.

  • Randian||

    H&R Block makes 3 billion a year.

    Apparently that's not wasteful, according to Tony.

  • Pro Libertate||

    And what do businesses spend on accountants and tax lawyers? Let's simplify their taxes, too.

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    I may be one lowly CPA, but I am here right now to say yes, the time I spend navigating the tax code is a fucking waste of time.

    But I do it for the check, until further notice.

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    Time for some asskicking.

  • Restoras||

    Fuck off, sock puppet.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    I work for a two-man operation, Tony - myself, and my boss. And he has to meet with his accountant, just to keep the IRS off his ass.

    That's money he could be spending on the business, instead of frittering it away on some guy with an accounting degree.

    But, since he owns his own business, he's supposedly just swimming in cash, according to leftists who hate people who aren't dependent on the state for their living.

  • T o n y||

    The complexity of our tax code isn't "leftists'" fault, but the result of too much cronyism and successful lobbying.

    We get down to the same basic problem: how do you prevent people from exploiting the system without government having the means to prevent them from doing so? Any discussion of changing tax policy will bring every special interest imaginable out of the woodwork. I'm not even sure I can come up with a solution to that.

  • Restoras||

    Fuck off and die, sock puppet.

  • T o n y||

    Who are you again?

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Fuck you, cut spending.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    So, Democrats have NEVER contributed to the complexity of our tax code? Ever?

    Are you absolutely certain about this, Tony?

  • T o n y||

    Did I say that?

  • Mr. FIFY||

    "The complexity of our tax code isn't 'leftists'' fault"

    Quoted directly from your post, above. So, yes, you did say that.

  • T o n y||

    Well first I don't even know what a "leftist" is except as an insult you hear from radio fatfaces.

    Democrats are complicit in the corruption of our government, but Republicans are the more responsible party. That's just a fact of this universe. Perhaps in a parallel one Democrats are worse. It's really not the issue.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    If you can't admit your Team is mostly far-left, then you have your blinders cinched way too tight.

    But do go on with the "yeah, Democrats are mildly to blame, but it's still all Republicans' fault" meme.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    BTW, your buddy Ed Schultz uses the term "lefties" on both his cable and radio shows, Tony.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Schultz also uses the word "righties" as an insult, so either it's an insult when he does it AND when a right-winger radio host uses the term "leftists", or neither time counts as an insult.

  • T o n y||

    I don't watch Schultz and I don't like name calling.

  • Cavpitalist||

    Democrats are complicit in the corruption of our government, but Republicans are the more responsible party.

    Wow. You really are nothing more than a sock puppet.

  • Randian||

    Any discussion of changing tax policy will bring every special interest imaginable out of the woodwork. I'm not even sure I can come up with a solution to that.

    Across. The. Board. Cuts.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Why do you hate black children, Randian?

    /leftist snark

  • T o n y||

    Including that discussion.

  • Randian||

    That's fine, but none of them can talk about how special their program is and how it should be exempted.

    Fair is fair, Tony.

  • T o n y||

    Across. The. Board. Unicorns.

    Talking about a fantasy world gives me a headache. I don't know how you guys live there all the time.

  • Randian||

    Was there something wrong with the 2005 levels of spending?

    How about 2000?

  • T o n y||

    Yeah, too much spending on the war machine and not enough on universal healthcare.

    As you say, everyone has an ox. But pointing to arbitrary years and their budgets and pretending that a post-Great-Recession budget is even capable of resembling them is silly.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    We live in a world where "not increasing the next years' spending as much as earlier proposed" = "a vicious slash-and-burn of the budget".

    Orwell, spinning, grave.

  • Cavpitalist||

    We get down to the same basic problem: how do you prevent people from exploiting the system without government having the means to prevent them from doing so?

    Uhhh...reduce the violent and coercive authority, size and scope of the system being exploited?

  • Ken Shultz||

    "It's hard to imagine how much productivity the sheer complexity of the tax code sucks off. This would be great.

    Take people who make $30,000 a year. They don't own a home, and they don't make charitable donations...

    You're gonna raise their tax bracket from 15% to 25%, and you think that's gonna be okay with them because it makes filing easier?

    That's something Obama would say in response to an honest question...

    Reporter: "Mr. President, isn't it true that your tax plan would raise working people's income taxes some 66%?"

    Barack Obama: "Let me be clear, raising taxes on the working poor will make it much less complicated for them--trust me, they'll learn to love it!"

  • Randian||

    Ken, those people would get a 25,000 deduction. Sheesh.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Yes, their federal taxes would be 25% of $5000.

    An effective tax rate of about 5%.

    But something nevertheless.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    I don't think you are reading that correctly. The $25k deduction is automatic, so this person with $30k is only being taxed 25% on $5000, which equals $1250, or ~4% of total income.

  • Randian||

    In other words, it isn't a deduction. You just say that the first 25K is tax-free.

    I am good with this plan.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Yes, but semantics are important.

    The only fly in the ointment is for married couples filing jointly. That is the difficult sell. I don't recognize marriage in the spirit of libertarian ideals.

  • Randian||

    I think with a $50,000 joint deduction I could live to tell about it.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    My plan does not allow a joint deduction. I retain the marriage penalty.

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    So you aren't against social engineering. Marriage shouldn't have anything to do with the tax code at all.

  • Brutus||

    Which means people will no longer marry to get the $25k on both people.

  • ant1sthenes||

    Um, no he wouldn't. He would just say he wanted to raise taxes only on the rich, and blame Republicans in Congress for refusing to save the U.S. from "default" (which means whatever a statist wants it to mean) unless the middle class was taxed too. He'll say that he put saving the country first, and that if the poor and middle class vote out the opposition in the midterms, he will be empowered to help them.

  • Randian||

    25% is too high. 18-19% is optimal by most (scientific, shrike, just so you know) studies.

    Regardless, I'd sign off on this as well.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Need to go to 25% to include the deduction. 19% might be good with a no deduction flat tax.

  • Randian||

    Deal. Call your Political Patron Saint and get cracking.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Wow, shrike sounds like a republican - specially Forbes and Friedman.

    I still don't see how his plan covers a deficit. And there will always be a deficit; even if the current debt were 100% renounced today, a new one would start tomorrow.

  • Randian||

    If you get a balanced budget on the other side of the equation, the debt solves itself in a hundred years or so.

    I know that we're now way out in fantasy land...

  • iggy||

    This is beautiful. Everyone here getting along with Shrike. This is proof that anything can happen, if we all just believe.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Flat tax of 25% on all income (including capital gains) with a single $25,000 deduction to cover home mortgage/charites or anything you want. No EITC. End.

    Here's the other part of this you don't understand: 70% of all the income tax received by the federal government is paid by people who make more than $112,124 a year.

    http://ntu.org/tax-basics/who-.....taxes.html

    You have no sense of proportion.

    If you cut their tax rates from 35% to 25%, you're not gonna get just 10% less income tax revenue. You need to add in some kind of multiplier, don't you?

    The top 1% pay 36 times their proportion of filers! Wrap your head around that fact, and maybe a sense of proportion will start to settle in.

    Do you understand what slashing their rates from 35% to 25% means in terms of Democrats being able to spend money on whatever program? Why would the Democrats agree to do that?

    Slashing taxes on the wealthy is a great idea for the economy! But why would Obama agree to do that?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    What you miss - 70% of all income tax received may be paid by those who earn over $112,000 but they aren't taxed anywhere near 35% on all their income.

    Plus that includes their generous deductions (over my 25k).

  • Ken Shultz||

    "all income tax received may be paid by those who earn over $112,000 but they aren't taxed anywhere near 35% on all their income.

    That's how much money they pay after deductions--I'm quoting how much they actually pay! How much the IRS receives from them. ...Not how much they would owe if it weren't for deductions.

    Me thinks you listened a little too closely to the campaign rhetoric. Romney did not underpay his income taxes, and eliminating deductions is not just as effective as raising rates in terms of how much the federal government gets in revenue.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Slashing the top rate from 35% to 25%, let's see, that's 35-25 is 10. Then 10 divided by 35, that's a 29% discount...

    Then you take what proportion of the tax filers they represent--according to the IRS data I linked above, the top 1% of earners are paying 37% of all the income taxes collected.

    That means the IRS is getting 29% less from 37% of the taxpayers--you've just cut the government's revenue by 10.7%, and that's just by cutting the taxes of the top 1%! Do you want to do the math for top 10 percent, who pay more than 70% of all the income taxes collected by the IRS? It just gets worse from there.

    Don't get me wrong. If we could free all that tax money wasted on government largess and get it working in the economy again--even if it was just sitting in bond investments somewhere, that would be great! That would make Ba

  • Ken Shultz||

    ...rack Obama one hell of a smart president!

    But he's not a smart president. He's an idiot, jackass!

    When I see Shrike start advocating trickle down, supply-side, Laffer curve, Reaganomics! I know Shrike either hasn't thought this through, or someone's abducted Shrike and left a really smart alien replicoid in his place.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "That means the IRS is getting 29% less from 37% of the taxpayers--you've just cut the government's revenue by 10.7%, and that's just by cutting the taxes of the top 1%! Do you want to do the math for top 10 percent, who pay more than 70% of all the income taxes collected by the IRS? It just gets worse from there."

    Oh, that's right! You're gonna make up for it by jacking income taxes up on the working poor.

    What is it about Progressives these days that they always see siccing the IRS on the working poor as the solution to everything? First they want to sic the IRS on the working poor who can't afford to buy health insurance--and now this!

  • ||

    Ken, that's taking the Marginal Rate to be the effective rate on Gross Income, which is in no way the case. While it's true that the government takes in a large portion of its revenue from the top 10% of earners (the top 13% pay 87%), the average tax rate for the top 1% in 2010 was 24%. That's counting their deductions and use of capital gains rates. With a block 25k deduction you'd probably be breaking even or pulling ahead in revenues under the 25% plan.

  • ||

    (I should note that all my percentages pertain solely to the income tax, and thus may not be correct when factoring in other taxes)

  • Ken Shultz||

    Right, and I'm focusing solely on what the IRS actually receives here!

    I'm not talking about gross or anything else! The deductions we're talking about as related to the brackets themselves--that's absolutely miniscule.

    Shrike's plan would slash revenue by way of income taxes to the government by at least 25%--from people who make more than $60,000 a year. There's no way the top 13% of income tax payers write off more than 25% of the government's total income tax revenues.

    And, of course, Shrike jacking up rates on the bottom wage earners isn't going to amount to hardly anything from the people at the bottom of the chart...

    Like I said, I think it's a great plan! Let's do it!

    Ain't no way the White House or the Democrats would ever fall for it--it's pure Reaganomics! What, is this, the reincarnation of Jack Kemp, Phil Gramm and the gang?

    This is ridiculous. It's too good to be true.

  • Rasilio||

    What you are missing Ken is that the ~90 million households who earn between 25,000 and $100,000 are not paying anywhere near the effective tax rates they would under this proposal.

    Right now if you earn $50,000 on average your effective Federal Income tax rate would be somewhere around 3%. Under this system it would be 8%. If you are at $100k income right now your effective Federal Income tax rate is somewhere around 8% and it would rise to 18.75%.

    Also someone who is right at the top 1% border (~$500,000 in taxable income) is currently paying an effective federal income tax rate of 18.1% on average, under this system it would rise to 23.75%

    Finally with the elimination of the refundable tax credits people who earn under $25,000 a year would see the transfer payments they recieve through the tax code fall such that their total Effective Federal Tax Rate (all Federal taxes included, not just income taxes) would rise from -0.5% up to somewhere around 7 - 9%.

    Across the board this would be a tax increase with it being a small tax increase for the rich and a large tax increase for the poor and middle class. Realistically this would probably push Federal Revenues up into the 30 - 35% of GDP range (albeit likely with a smaller GDP due to the size of the tax increase)

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    correct

  • Mr. FIFY||

    "No EITC."

    Bullshit. The real shrike would *never* advocate cutting off welfare payments to poor people like that.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    You're an idiot. I don't give a fuck about welfare payments. My 2008 vote for Obama was due to the incompetence of the GOP and the Credit Crash. I proudly stand by that vote too.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    You could have voted Libertarian, or Green Party, or Socialist, or Constitution Party... but, no. You voted for Obama.

    While claiming to give a shit about the future of this country, I might add.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    I wanted to make sure the GOP lost. I proudly stand by that vote.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Yeah, it figures you were proud, shrike.

  • Brutus||

    Since the credit crash was due primarily to Clinton-era policies (admittedly continued by Bush) and Democratic operatives at Fannie, how do you rationalize this?

  • ||

    Some economist (Mankiw, maybe?) was floating the idea of a 30% rate with a tax-exempt $20k block grant to each tax-payer to use in lieu of other entitlement spending. Break-even with the tax rate come in at $66,667 and then you start actually paying taxes. Sort of reminds me of Friedman's proposal for a negative tax.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    If you think of the economy as the world, then government is the giant sea turtle on which the economy rests. Giant sea turtles don't come cheap, folks! So if we get rid of the giant sea turtle, then the world will be unable to... no wait, that's not right. Think of the economy as a boiled lobster...

  • R C Dean||

    I'm thinking its a frog, and the government is a pot of water . . . .

  • ||

    You're both wrong. The government's a tick the size of its host--the economy--and just getting bigger all the time. It's a parasite that is breaking the most important rule for parasites: don't kill the host, especially if there's only one host.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Kind of funny how that works.

    Things have gotten so twisted that the parasite thinks it's the productive one in the relationship.

  • ||

    Don't go full leechtard.

  • Pro Libertate||

    This sounds really familiar to me.

  • GILMORE||

    You're both wrong. The government's a tick

    thanks for inspiring the image of an elephant-sized tick perched atop a skinny and drained jack russell terrier

    the tick is saying, "stop complaining"

  • Ken Shultz||

    I think of Obama as an aardvark.

    A shit-eating aardvark

  • T o n y||

    So why don't you take your own advice and detail what programs you want to cut and by how much. Then pretend you're a politician who has to face reelection.

  • Randian||

    No need for details. Across the board spending cuts. Make the departments find the savings.

  • T o n y||

    Thus rewarding programs that are currently wasteful and punishing those that are efficient, with absolutely no consideration of any program's utility. Brilliant plan.

  • Restoras||

    Fuck off, sockpuppet.

  • T o n y||

    Ooh maybe it'll work this time.

  • Restoras||

    Fuck off, sockpuppet.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Notice how Tony bravely believes that there are such things as "efficient" programs.

  • iggy||

    That got to me too. Earlier he was making fun of us for supposedly believing in unicorns because we favor across the board cuts, and then he talks about the mythical efficient government program.

  • Randian||

    Define "wasteful" and "efficient" in a way that does not translate into "does or does not satisfy my political preferences"

    I bet you can't.

    Every interest group has a sacred ox. They all get gored. That's what happens when you waste more than 3 trillion a year.

    There isn't a program out there that's underfunded. There isn't a program out there that isn't overfunded. They all get haircuts. Too bad.

  • T o n y||

    I think you like a simple plan because you are simple. The idea is ridiculous. The world is complex. Sorry (to all libertarians).

  • Restoras||

    Fuck off, sock puppet.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Says the person who claims that our deficit problem is resolvable with the one (dare I say "simple") step of repealing the Bush tax cuts for those making $250,000.

  • T o n y||

    I've explicitly said that's not adequate.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    It isn't adequate, which means Team Blue has been bleating about rescinding those tax cuts for nothing other than revenge against Former Figurehead GW Bush.

  • T o n y||

    Democrats haven't been claiming it will close the entire budget deficit.

    They're merely responding to the Republicans' claim that the deficit is the single biggest problem right now (which it isn't).

    This is their obsession, but they're unwilling to make billionaires pay a dime to contribute to it.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    As I pointed out yesterday, even Obama Himself said raising cap-gains taxes won't fix anything, either; it's just to "get even with" rich people.

    Which is the only reason Team Blue wants to go back to the Clinton-era tax rates, which won't do Jack Shit to fix our problems, either.

  • Randian||

    Well, no, I explained exactly why I think this should happen.

    As a matter of fact, what I did was take the central progressive value of fairness and enshrined into my program.

    Every program takes a cut, because nothing else is politically possible. Democrats are too wedded to entitlements and Republicans are too wedded to the military. You can strike those and reverse them if you like.

  • T o n y||

    Some so-called entitlements save people money. Take away Medicare and you don't stop old people from having health needs.

    I think we all can agree the Pentagon could use some major cuts.

  • Randian||

    So in other words, you are too wedded to entitlements to agree.

    That's why across the board cuts are the only way. If you want to blame someone for that, blame yourself. You won't budge. You're inflexible. You're unwilling to compromise.

    So fuck it. Your programs get cut too.

  • T o n y||

    From where I sit even talking about the deficit when the country has an employment problem and a demand problem is to compromise with the idiots in the Republican party.

    This may be news to you, but the only reason they think we have a deficit problem is because a Democrat is in the White House and they want him to take the blame for their neverending quest to destroy Social Security and Medicare.

  • Randian||

    The debt and deficit are significant economic drags, Tony. Please look at the Lost Decades of Japan for an object lesson in what happens when you mire a country in a staggering amount of debt and loose monetary policy.

  • Calidissident||

    In what alternate universe are Republicans trying to destroy Social Security and Medicare?

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Yeah, the Pentagon could use some cuts - but that's the only thing Team Blue WILL cut.

    But, then again, even if we disbanded the military entirely, and spent that money elsewhere... we still wouldn't have enough.

  • Randian||

    Yep. The DoD's budget was 683 billion dollars.

    Eliminating it entirely still leaves ~700 billion dollar deficit.

    So now what, Tony?

  • Randian||

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    The world is complex.

    Interesting. So surrender to our powerful leaders, who know all.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    It's just easier to use the Obama phrase:

    "Fuck you, that's why."

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Stop concern trolling, Tony. You and your ilk are proud members of the voting constituency which makes it damn near impossible to cut anything.

    Wailing of the eunuchs aside, you could eliminate just about every non-financial regulatory task and agency run by the federal government and a good chunk of military spending without anyone so much as noticing. Reforming entitlements would be difficult, but maintaining the reforms once they were implemented wouldn't be too difficult, judging by reform efforts abroad.

  • Restoras||

    Fuck off, sock puppet.

  • tarran||

    Restoras,

    I have a solution for your tourrets:

    First, download the google chrome browser installer.

    Install it.

    Then, download Reasonable.

    Enable it, and filter Tony.

    And you can ignore him in peace.

  • Restoras||

    I'll take this under advisement.

  • T o n y||

    Restoras's only apparent role here is to tell me to fuck off.

    And not to realize the irony of the use of the insult "sockpuppet" when 10 other people used it first.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Don't like insults?

    Don't hurl them yourself.

  • R C Dean||

    So why don't you take your own advice and detail what programs you want to cut and by how much.

    OK.

    All government department budgets are reset to the level they were in 2005. The 2005 budget would be balanced with 2012's tax take.

    Entitlement spending, of course, is a different matter, but that's a good start.

    My plan for entitlements, of course, involves putting all entitlements in one bucket, which is funded entirely, on a current basis (no surplus or deficits) via a payroll tax with no hidden "employer" component. That way, the takers and the makers can have a conversation about just how much the latter are willing to contribute to the former.

    You wanna grow entitlements? You're gonna have to raise taxes on everyone. You wanna payroll tax cut? Cut entitlements.

  • R C Dean||

    There ya go:

    Balanced budget. Entitlements balance every year. Departmental budgets are reset at the level which balances with taxes.

    Now, was that so hard?

  • KDN||

    But it's not complex. And complexity is its own reward.

  • Butler||

    Defense -- by $350 billion. This is a no brainer, since we are simply subsidizing the defense of other, relatively wealthy countries and engaging in wars that we cannot afford.

    Dept of Ed -- The whole thing. Every state has its own DOE, what in the hell do we need a second layer of bureacracy for? Besides, it's unconstitutional, and it stifles competition and the marketplace of ideas by standardizing all education.

    Medicare and SS -- create means testing to exclude the richest at first, and then encroaching on the middle classes over time (for people young enough to start saving for themselves). Create an opt out provision for younger people to gradually reduce the size of the programs withouth cutting off needy people who relied upon and paid into the program in the past. Eliminate Obamacare and encourage free market medicine to reduce overall costs.

    Eliminate the IRS and create a consumption tax/user fees to fund government.

    Stop the war on drugs, eliminate all federal drug laws, and let the states handle drug crimes as they see fit. This should eliminate the DEA, at a minimum, but would also cut substantially from the FDA and probably ATF.

    There's a great start. We could then move on to HUD, and others.

  • ||

    detail what programs you want to cut

    Cut military by like 30%
    Cut social security (easy really just take away the social security checks of the top 20%)

    Block grant medicare.
    set up vouchers for medicare. the richer you are the more you pay.

    Eliminate Obamacare.

    essentially make medicare and social security true safety nets rather then middle class entitlements.

    Cut all other programs by 40%.

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    One way to deal with SS liabilities is to offer land -- of which Uncle Sam owns much! -- up to the limit of someone's inflation-adjusted SS "account" (including contributions from individuals and employers, plus interest) to those who haven't yet received SS payments. The land grant would be considered payment in full, and the individual would no longer be eligible for SS. I would seriously consider such a deal. The more people opted for it, the less the US would have to tax younger people to pay for the obligation to oldsters.

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    I forgot to add that, simultaneous with the Great Land Offer, we need a program of weening younger people off of SS and toward private-sector retirement arrangements.

  • ||

    1. Medicare and Social Security reform, involving significant cuts to benefits right now, means testing, and phase-out to a private system.

    2. 30% of the budget of all regulatory agencies, combined with a broad internal reform of all agencies, restructuring of management, and regulatory rollback. Possibly under the guidance of private-sector experts in restructuring inefficient companies.

    3. Same thing for the defense budget. Hire one of those management analysis firms to analyze the pentagon budget, look for inefficiency, and fire a shit ton of middle managers, while restructuring the pentagon procurement system.

    I'd run as the candidate of sane people with a brain.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Essentially this is what needs to happen.

    I'd run as the candidate of sane people with a brain.

    So you plan to lose miserably, then?

  • Rasilio||

    Without looking up any hard numbers on amounts lets start with...

    Complete elimination of the Department of Education
    Elimination of most of the department of energy with some of it's components going to other departments
    Elimination of ALL agricultural subsidies
    A phased reduction of at least 50% in military spending over the next 10 years focused on closing all US bases on foreign soil and corresponding reductions in the size of the standing force with the eventual goal of stabilizing military spending at 1 - 1.5% of GDP.

    Then of course we get into entitlement reforms which would require an entire article on their own but generally I would convert all federal health care spending into federally Funded Health Savings Accounts with the funding level being tied to income ranging from a low of $0 (for the super rich) down to $12,000 a year for poor families with kids which they could then use for premium payments or just self fund off the savings. Social Security is a tougher nut to crack but in general I would look to get rid of it and replace it with a special welfare program which requires you to be destitute and over 70 before you qualify.

  • ||

    Take a look at the last few words there: "the revenue increases that we need." That tells you a lot about how the Obama administration understands the federal budget.

    Why do I even come here any more? It's all reruns nowadays.

  • Specail Sauce||

    "To that extent, as radical as I think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution, at least as its been interpreted and Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can’t do to you. Says what the Federal government can’t do to you, but doesn’t say what the Federal government or State government must do on your behalf, and that hasn’t shifted and one of the, I think, tragedies of the civil rights movement..."

    It gets expensive when Federal and State governments MUST do things on your behalf. If you are stupid enough to believe such nonsense then no amount of money will ever suffice... and the list of what the government must do on your behalf will be infinite.

  • ||

    There are limits to how much money closing loopholes can raise:

    There are limits to how much raising the taxes of the rich can raise as well.

    In other words neither raise in taxes by republicans and democrats will do crap to cut the deficit and pay down the debt.

    Spending is the only way.

  • ||

    cutting sending*

  • R C Dean||

    On more time. C'mon, you know you can do it!

  • Randian||

    joe'z law!

    How many more times, RC?

  • Pro Libertate||

    I have a phrase you can use, Mr. Corning.

  • ||

    FUCK!!!!

  • SugarFree||

    A troll for every thread and a thread for every troll.

    It's the circle... the circle of life...

  • ||

    I think you mean "the circle of jerk"

  • ||

    Eliminating deductions and credits is fair. The tax code should be as simple as possible.

    However, I think there's a problem in this line:
    At best, the top 10 would pull in an extra $834 billion a year, according to Joint Committee on Taxation figures.

    The deficit is around $1.4 trillion, so actually $834 billion would help a lot.
    I don't know what that number comes from though.
    They must be using 10-year budget projections.

  • ||

    They must be using 10-year budget projections.

    It does say $834 billion a year.

    Jesus if they could get 500 billion a year they would be set.

    With a little bit of cutting as well they could actually have a chance at growing out of the debt in 10 years....that is if they kept spending capped over that period...which is impossible.

  • Randian||

    Like I said, Obamacare would put paid to those hopes.

  • ||

    Yeah, I think that whole $834 billion number is wrong.

    It must be referring to $834 billion - over 10 years. There's no way you could get $834 billion a year just by eliminating deductions.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Right, Hazel, which makes the proposed Democrat tax hikes even more meaningless.

  • ||

    At best, the top 10 would pull in an extra $834 billion a year

    That is much bigger then Obama's tax proposal which would only pull in about 70 billion extra a year.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    But you can't stick it to the rich in public that way.

    Dumbass.

  • ||

    Dumbass.

    I am sorry. Me and my stupid brain have a hard time hating people more successful then I am.

    Tony is right. My childish mind is innocent and forgiving like all child's minds. Not spiteful, jealous, and self centered like a good adult's brain.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    “When you take a cold, hard look at the amount of resources you can raise from that top 2 percent of Americans through limiting deductions raising their tax rates, you will find yourself disappointed relative to the magnitude of the revenue increases that we need.”

    FIFY

    The raising revenue tract CANNOT WORK. You can raise all of the tax rates and cut all of the loop holes you want; the only way to reduce debt is to CUT FUCKING SPENDING.

    Assholes.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    I hate to say anything nice about Rush Limbaugh, but before I quit listening to him years ago, he said something sensible:

    You can't tax your way to prosperity.

    The guy is, was, and forever will be, a pretentious, right-wing cocksucker - but at least, he was right when he said that.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    At best, the top 10 would pull in an extra $834 billion a year, according to Joint Committee on Taxation figures. Considering the hole lawmakers are trying to fill is several trillion dollars large, it’s clear they wouldn’t even come close.

    The annual deficit is not several trillion dollars.

  • Randian||

    You're still 400 billion in the hole, at best, and Obamacare hasn't kicked in yet.

    The Left fucked us all. Yay.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    No, Stormy, but that $834 billion won't plug the hole in the overall deficit, either.

  • T o n y||

    Obamacare reduces the deficit according to the CBO.

    The world won't explode if we don't balance the budget immediately. There's some question as to whether there's even a deficit crisis at all.

    There's no question that the only real way to deal with it is to return the economy to robust growth and reduce income inequality.

  • Not an Economist||

    Obamacare only cuts the deficit if certain assumptions come true. Several major parts of Obamacare that were to save lots of money will now cost lots of money.

    The CBO does not score things independently. They are given assumptions and must assume those assumptions, no matter how crazy, are true. These assumption are then used to calculate the cost of whatever bill they are costing. Obamacare contains many such gimmicks.

  • Calidissident||

    Yeah, it reduces the deficit if you count six years of spending against ten years of revenue

  • Brutus||

    Well, we'll shut off all the spending for four years every decades and all will be just peachy.

  • ||

    I think he means the total debt which is $16 trillion.

    Funny how Republicans have to fill that debt hole (rather then simply lower the deficit) but Democrats who want to raise only $70 billion in new taxes a year don't have to worry about it.

  • Randian||

    I know right? So Republicans offer up to 834 billion dollars in 'new revenue', the Democrats offer 70 billion (Damn Richers Only!), but the Rs are the unserious ones?

    Pfft. Jesus this country is going to get what it deserves.

  • ||

    I think there's a decimal place missing from that $834 also.

    Maybe $83.4.

  • Randian||

    No, there isn't. If you read the article, it details exactly per year what deductions "cost".

  • ||

    Well, then, I don't see why we need to raise tax rates, cause we can definitely make up a lot of revenue by eliminating deductions.

    The deduction for employer provided insurance should be #1 on the chopping block. Let everyone feel ObamaCare closely and personally.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Would this be a good place to interject a hearty "Fuck you, cut spending!"?

  • Randian||

    We're trying to decide which Kirk face is appropriate.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    If we're going by Shatner faces in general, I'm going to go with the one he made when John Lithgow introduced him to tequila sunrises on 3rd Rock From the Sun.

  • Adam330||

    "At best, the top 10 would pull in an extra $834 billion a year, according to Joint Committee on Taxation figures."

    But the "repeal the bush tax cuts on over $250k" only raises about 40-50B a year. So the deductions closing plan raises nearly 17 times more, yet it's somehow doesn't raise enough and we need to go with Obama's plan instead. huh?

  • Randian||

    No no, it isn't about the deficit. It's about sending a political message to rich people (to tow the lion) and to dumb middle-class people (rah rah class warfare).

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    Get FICA deductions put on same tax bill as the other income tax, so we can stop pretending it is anything except a regressive income tax. Get rid of all revenue collection duties from Medicare/SS bureaucracies, and let the IRS do all the tribute collection.

    Increase age of eligibility for SS and Medicare by one month per year. Forever. When nobody alive is old enough to collect it, repeal it. Or don't. Who cares.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    The tax increases have nothing to do with reducing the deficit. Progressives don't give a fuck about the deficit--just ask Tony. This is about punishing the wealthy and trying to take another step to their utopian "egalitarian" society.

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