Let's Balance the Budget

Here's how to reduce the size and scope of government


The Congressional Budget Office says the current year's budget deficit will be a record $1.5 trillion. It also says that over the next decade we're on track for annual deficits of "only" $768 billion. I suspect the CBO has hired Rosy Scenario to do the bookkeeping, but let's take that number at face value.

I'm now going to balance the budget, with the help of some experts.

I'll begin with things I'm most eager to cut. Let's privatize air traffic control. Canada did it, and it works better. Then privatize Amtrak. Get rid of all subsidies for rail. That'll save $12 billion.

End subsidies for public broadcasting, like NPR. Cancel the Small Business Administration. Repeal the Davis-Bacon rules under which the government pays union-set wages to workers on federal construction projects. Cut foreign aid by half (although we should probably get rid of all of it). So far, that's $20 billion.

Oops. That doesn't dent the deficit. We have to do much more.

So eliminate the U.S. Education Department. We'd save $94 billion. Federal involvement doesn't improve education. It gets in the way.

Agriculture subsidies cost us $30 billion a year. Let's get rid of them. They distort the economy. We should also eliminate Housing and Urban Development. That's $53 billion more.

Who needs the Energy Department and its $20 billion sinkhole? The free market should determine energy investments.

And let's end the war on drugs. In effect, it's a $47 billion subsidy for thugs in the black market.

I've already cut more than six times more than President Obama proposed in his State of the Union address. His freeze of nondefense discretionary spending would save only $40 billion.

But my cuts still total only $246 billion. If we're going to get rid of the rest of the CBO's projected deficit, we must attack the "untouchable" parts of the budget, starting with Social Security. Raising the retirement age and indexing benefits to inflation would save $93 billion. I'd save more by privatizing Social Security, but our progressive friends won't like that, so for now I'll ignore privatization.

The biggest budget busters are Medicare and Medicaid, and get this: the 400 subsidy programs run by HHS. Assuming I take just two-thirds of the Cato Institute's suggested cuts, that saves $281 billion.

How about the Defense Department's $721 billion? Much of that money could be saved if the administration just shrank the military's mission to its most important role: protecting us and our borders from those who wish us harm. Today, we have more than 50,000 soldiers in Germany, 30,000 in Japan, and 9,000 in Britain. Those countries should pay for their own defense. Cato's military cuts add up to $150 billion.

I've now cut enough to put us $2 billion in surplus!

Can we go further?

"Repeal Obamacare," syndicated columnist Deroy Murdock said.

Reason magazine editor Matt Welch wants to cut the Department of Homeland Security, "something that we did without 10 years ago."

But don't we need Homeland Security to keep us safe?

"We already have law enforcement in this country that pays attention to these things. This is a heavily bureaucratized organization.

"Cut the Commerce Department," Mary O'Grady of The Wall Street Journal said. "If you take out the census work that it does, you would save $8 billion. And the rest of what it does is really just collect money for the president from business."

As the bureaucrats complain about proposals to make tiny cuts, it's good to remember that disciplined government could make cuts that get us to a surplus in one year. But even a timid Congress could make swift progress if it wanted to. If it just froze spending at today's levels, it would almost balance the budget by 2017. If spending were limited to 1 percent growth each year, the budget would balanced in 2019. And if the crowd in Washington would limit spending growth to about 2 percent a year, the red ink would almost disappear in 10 years.

As you see, the budget can be cut. Only politics stand in the way.

John Stossel is host of Stossel on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of Give Me a Break and of Myth, Lies, and Downright Stupidity. To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at johnstossel.com.


NEXT: Geeks of the Revolution

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  1. Wasn’t this his show last week?

    Does that mean it’s a repeat this week?

  2. I dont get why we feel compelled to attack NPR. It is mostly unbiased it is relatively cheap and there are far worse things to cut than all things considered and sesame street. That’s why ppl think we are crazy. When we bunch up good programs with awful shit like wars, social security, etc

    1. Maybe it’s because the relatively small amount of money it gets from the government calls into question any claims of objectivity NPR makes. It would be far better for them to cut their financial ties with the government and make up the difference with those commercials that they don’t call commercials and increased member contributions. I’d contribute more if they lost public funding.

      Also, why is the government even funding media outlets in the first place?

    2. On the other hand, if NPR and PBS went away, civilization would continue. The sun would still rise in the East. If we cannot cut something as unnecessary as government subsidized broadcasts, then we do not have the courage to cut anything.

      1. I like to think of it as a good openning gambit in the negotiations.

        From my quick survey of family and coworkers, the average liberal loves NPR more than their children. So always put the (admitidly small amount of un-needed subsidy) on the block with SS and DoEDU and DOEnergy. Then we can see how many departments and how many aircraft carriers and how many old people we can cut before they let the knife get near their beloved radio show.

        1. And if the numbers are examined, the percentage of the total NPR budget that comes directly from the federal government in the first place is basically chump change, so its elimination is not a make or break deal for that organization. It might require some better management or fiscal responsibility on the part of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, but please, cry me another river.

          And while we’re on the topic of the government forking over bucks to broadcasters, and the appearance of propagandizing using the public dime, anyone got any idea how much cash has been flushed for the feel good advertising campaigns on cable that are currently running in heavy rotation? The ones about asthma being monsters all over the place, or a flopping goldfish, and that use copyrighted Disney footage (which was no doubt free of charge, yeah right) to “remind” everyone to put kids in booster seats? THAT fucking cash was CERTAINLY well spent, although some do-gooder will probably squeal about being “for the children” and “if just one child is saved” yahda yahda yahda.

        2. They don’t need to worry. Bill Gates can fund them for the next 700 years easily. Just let them over to his house to fish change from the sofa cushions.

    3. Cut Social Security? You’re crazy!

      I don’t care what people think is ‘crazy’ or whether a program meets some nebulously defined criteria for ‘good’. I care whether the program is needful and whether it is something the government, rather than the private sector, should be doing.

      1. Yes, end poverty programs!

        1. In his 1st book, Stossel shows how programs to help the poor have essentially created a poverty industry.

    4. I guess you missed the part of the article where HE ALSO DRASTICALLY SCALED BACK SOCIAL SECURITY, WELFARE, AND THE MILITARY BUDGET. Read the whole article next time, dumbass.

    5. Re: Choppa,

      I dont get why we feel compelled to attack NPR.

      Asking for NPR not to receive my hard-earned cash cannot be construed as an “attack.”

      It is mostly unbiased it is relatively cheap[…]

      Then you pay for it.

    6. Drop all subsidies and all protections of “public” media. The state shouldn’t be involved in operating any media. This has nothing to do with bias against their programming. Government should not be subsidizing entertainment, or giving it special privileges.

      1. Only if we also end indirect subsidy of commercial media–all those government agencies buying airtime via the “Ad Council,” to tell you to choose to save, not eat salt, buckle up, walk 3 miles, have a disaster plan, whatevs.

        I suspect folks like ClearChannel derive nearly as much of their revenues from the Fed as does NPR.

        /And I’d like to see both subsidies go.

    7. Watch where you point that “we”

  3. Oh…he is from faux news. No wonder he wants NPR cut. Fucking biased as hell. This is a shitty article.

    1. Fucking biased as hell.

      Yeah, there’s a lot of that going around.

      1. Anyone who fails to acknowledge the existence of Unicorns and Pixie Dust is just begging to be tarred with the whole “bias” smear. . .

        1. Invisible Pink Unicorns as well.

    2. John Stossel previously was the “conservative” counterpoint on 20/20. He would spar with Barbara Walters. He was saying the same things back then as he does now.

      Also, “Faux News?” Really? As though CBS, with their manufactured polls are objective? Or Rachel Maddow and the late Keith Olbermann are objective? Go back to the Daily Kos, you partisan hack.

      1. As though CBS, with their manufactured polls are objective?

        Not to mentioned forged documents in a smear against the President of the United States.

    3. NPR isn’t biased, but Stossel is, merely because his show is on “Faux” news, his actual points be damned?


      Go back to DU, TEAM BLUE moron.

      1. That’s exactly correct.

        The content of the message does not matter. Only the source matters.

        If the content mattered then the person would need to apply critical thinking skills, and we can’t have that.

        No, it’s much easier to call the person names and dismiss what they say because they are a [fill in the blank] or they are on [fill in the blank] network.

        Why bother to think when you can emote?

        1. Or kick kids out of school summarily for unauthorized spitballs.

    4. There’s no issue of NPR bias in the decision to cut it from the government. The question is “given that we are over 1 trillion in deficit every year – how do you balance the budget”. The answer is – scale back everything that isn’t required. Broadcasting goes on just fine without government having ownership. Drop the subsidies.


      You could have just typed the above and saved yourself the effort required to form a coherent thought.

      1. Yeah, because anyone that can see past Fox News propaganda is also a government tool…..

        Spend some time in the madhouse that is the Glenn Beck show and tell me that’s not propaganda.

        And I hated Olbermann.

    6. His bias is that he’s highly skeptical of the state and its power. This makes Stossel different from 99% of the media personalities out there- and that includes Fox news.

  4. The anti-Stossel nitwits coming out of the woodwork….

    1. … and I was not dissapointed.

      I.e. Choppa.

    2. They’ve never really hidden in any woodwork. They’re basically pod people who often times look normal, but on cue will open their yaps to make the high pitched whiny noise, cock their heads back and point, exactly like Sutherland did in the movie.

      1. I remember the dog with the human head…. and Mr. Spock playing an emotion-less alien…

  5. Tomorrow we scrimp, but today we spend!

    Yeah, I’ll never forget that post title courtesy of the Obama napkin tuck pic.

  6. I don’t know what the Labor Dept.’s budget is, but we could cut that too.

    1. According to their website ( http://www.dol.gov/dol/budget/2010/PDF/bib.pdf ), their budget for fiscal year 2009 was $126.3billion, and FY 2010 was $104.5billion). That drop appears to be caused by a reduction in “Recovery Act” spending.

      Let’s just cut it, already. I guess we could keep the BSL until we get rid of social security, but the rest of it can go.

  7. Balance the budget by cutting spending? But that’s…that’s…crazy talk!

    I mean seriously how could congressmen get reelected if they stopped stealing money from people that have it and giving it to people that don’t?

  8. Today, we have more than 50,000 soldiers in Germany, 30,000 in Japan, and 9,000 in Britain. Those countries should pay for their own defense.

    My tax money at work… Providing free room and board for Globe trotters, all while the closest I have come up to being in Europe is Las Vegas…

    1. This is not to say that having them there for a while wasn’t somewhat useful. Those Euroweenies sure calmed the fuck down about blowing things up and killing each other when two armed groups showed up that could make all their previous efforts look piddly shit by comparison in under 15 minutes seems to have had some effect. Well, except on the Bosnian Serbs, or their (the Euroweenies) ability to deal with that sort of crap.

    2. THIS.^^
      I know people that join the military and through some sort of gimmick can rig it so that they are on a Japanese base. These are the dorks that are obsessed with Anime that figure, “Hey, why not get paid by the U.S. government to go visit Akihabara on my weekends off?”

      I was over in Japan for a year working as a teacher of English (paid for by the Japanese government) and loathed seeing the “navy-men” in Roppongi or Shibuya when I would occasionally skip down to Tokyo for the weekend. Bunch of faggots, that’s what they are. And far less useful than an actual bundle of sticks, to boot.

    3. I made it all the way to the eastern tip of Martha’s Vineyard one time.

  9. Hi, I’m a firm believer in libertarianism, but something’s been nagging me about the whole pull our soldiers out of Germany, etc. argument; according to national security experts, our military presence in various places overseas is necessary to stabilize regions like the middle east and provide counter-weights to regimes like Russia. Given that as libertarians we are supposed to believe in freedom but be all for laws against violence as well as police action to curb said violence, and given that the US is now the policeman of the world (like it or not) don’t we have a moral and ideological mandate to make sure no country resorts to violence? If we don’t then how can free markets or freedom ever function globally? The rest of the world might resent it just like I may resent the local boys in blue for ticketing my jaywalking but does anyone here have a powerful argument that a global economy could be free without a global cop enforcing contracts and rights?

    1. “…does anyone here have a powerful argument that a global economy could be free without a global cop enforcing contracts and rights?”

      Wrong question.
      Right question:
      When are the Euro free-riders going to pay for their own damn defense?
      As a libertarian, understand the need for defense. I do not understand why the US should provide defense for the world

      1. It’s so they can afford socialized medicine.

        1. So let’s cut their defense and stop making their people even more dependent on their governments. It might teach them that There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch!

          1. Why can’t Germany, England and Japan pay us for the defense of their countries? They can rent our military defense services by the hour, and pay our housing and food expenses. We can also start charging Canada for this service as well, they’ve been mooching off our military for years. The Saudis can start sending oil by the barrel, or we leave them to the mercy of their neighbors. “Hey guys, heads up… we just sold Yemen the deluxe air/sea package, you’re gunna need to upgrade to a better plan if you want to keep up.”

            1. I would be perfectly fine with that. They get their defense, but still pay for it. We provide the military, but they foot their own defense bill.

            2. Your solution sounds too much like a mob protection racket to me. No thanks. Better we demobilize the empire. We can not be truly free as long as the empire exists. Our sense of freedom now is in spite of the governments adventurism, not because of it.

              1. Interesting point. Of course, these countries could just say “No, thanks” and have their own military. That presumes that the U.S. plays fair.

                It would probably be better to pull troops out of every country and just keep a handful of bases in other countries (that we pay for the use of).

            3. Yes, we benefit from military protection but dude, you’re getting our natural resources in return.

              Fair deal for you, no?

      2. someone has to be the adult…

      3. The US’s economy is so massive that the world IS our economy, and as such must be defended from violence and coercion by other states. We are defending those countries only tangentially; what we get in return is the projection of power into the region that allows us to trade unfettered by local psychopaths with guns and troops. The small price of a base in Japan is more than worth it when you consider how strong a deterrent it is to Chinese ambition, as well as a damper on Japan’s own nationalistic tendencies. The US is no longer a weak confederacy of colonies, but rather a global economic empire. Our borders are not sea to shining sea, but rather all-encompassing, and within those borders, all trade we take part in, or hope to take part in, must be protected and defended. I agree with everything else Stossel said, though.

      4. You do of course realize that our military is not stationed in Germany to protect Germany from foreign aggression, right? Right?

        It’s a much shorter hop from Germany to Iraq than it is from South Carolina.

        Many Germans, I’m sure, would be happy to see us gone.

    2. A ‘powerful’ argument is unnecessary where a simple observation will do – primarily that this is the “if not us, then who?’ fallacy.

      I’d simply counter with a couple of other old time sayings to evoke some thought – ‘hand a man a fish, feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, he’s fed for a lifetime’ – and – ‘make someone your bitch, and they’ll whine for this, that and the other constantly, instead of figuring out how to get or make it themselves’. Yeah, ok, so I just made that last part up, but can you really tell me it is wrong?

    3. Have you ever heard the the phrase “Kill them with kindness”? Instead of holding a sword over their heads we should be showing them the way to peaceful co-existence. Trade stops violence. It’s bad business to kill your customers.

    4. Re: Roman,

      according to national security experts, our military presence in various places overseas is necessary to stabilize regions like the middle east and provide counter-weights to regimes like Russia.

      My wife once bought this anti-wrinkle cream because the saleslady told her it would do erase years of age within 24 hours, and my wife believed her as well.

      […]don’t we have a moral and ideological mandate to make sure no country resorts to violence?

      At another time, my sister had a friend whose boyfriend mistreated her. During his bouts of abuse, my sister tried to intercede but was rebuffed by her friend, who told her in no uncertain terms to mind her own business. Obviously, my sister stopped being her friend.

      Which is what you should learn as well: MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS.

      If we don’t then how can free markets or freedom ever function globally?

      They function because people still trade, even during war.

      1. I understand and agree that we should be minding our own business, but that’s only true to a point. Libertarianism (despite what some here seem to think) does not advocate for the absence of police or law enforcement here in the U.S., and when they come knocking on your door because you’re beating your wife or stealing from your neighbors “mind your business” does not cut it. On a global scale, free trade and freedom in general must be protected by laws (and the will/ability to enforce them) as well, or else Hussein would have owned Kuwait and China would squash Taiwan. Contrary to the belief that Free Trade (incredible tool though it is) can somehow prevent war, the facts are that trade entanglement also leads to war as countries become dependent on each other for resources (the highly economically interdependent Europe of pre-WW1 nevertheless went to war). When so much of our life-line resources like oil come from overseas, how can you say we should withdraw our troops from the volatile regions we so desperately depend on? Take troops out of Germany and you move the Germans closer to Russia, a pact that would be ruinous for the US and the region. Remove troops from Saudi Arabia and the democratic uprising would install an Iran/Hezzbolah-friendly regime. I’m no fan of trade at the end of a bayonet, but what Stossel and some here seem to suggest is that we send our trade caravans into hostile territory with no defense and trust in the goodwill of the locals. Like it or not, our economy is too huge to be contained within our own borders, and so our interests must be defended by troops if necessary, but preferably by the power their presence projects into the region. We cannot teach anyone to “fish” any more than we can teach them to vote.

        1. I understand and agree that we should be minding our own business, but that’s only true to a point.

          Then you don’t agree.

          Libertarianism (despite what some here seem to think) does not advocate for the absence of police or law enforcement here in the U.S.

          Who said anything against law? Do you think law can only come from the federal government? Police can only be employed by the state?

          Contrary to the belief that Free Trade can somehow prevent war, the facts are that trade entanglement also leads to war as countries become dependent on each other for resources (the highly economically interdependent Europe of pre-WW1 nevertheless went to war).

          You must have absolutely no idea what the causes of WWI were to suppose it had anything to do with free trade, or “trade entanglements”- whatever that means. Perhaps you mean treaty entanglements and alliances which are the product of State stupidity and have not a jot to do with free trade.

          When so much of our life-line resources like oil come from overseas, how can you say we should withdraw our troops from the volatile regions we so desperately depend on?

          So the Saudis would not sell us oil at huge profits if we abandoned the area militarily? Why? Do they hate money all of the sudden? We may rely on oil now, but it need not always be that way. The supply will not last forever anyway. The Saudis choking off the supply will only make America do what it does best; innovate.

          Take troops out of Germany and you move the Germans closer to Russia, a pact that would be ruinous for the US and the region.

          Why would it be “ruinous”? The Russians don’t like our money? I suspect they’d love to have more trade with us Americans. Your notions of the world seem based on government fear-mongering. The “evil Russians”, yawn.

          Remove troops from Saudi Arabia and the democratic uprising would install an Iran/Hezzbolah-friendly regime.

          Again, so what? They like money too. The only reason Hezbollah hates our guts is because the US government shunts billions of our tax dollars to Israel every year. If not for our government’s activities I see no reason why anyone in the world would refuse to trade with Americans. Our government likes to make enemies around the world. It does this for its own purposes, and not at all to our benefit.

          And despite what you think, the world is not full of tyrants looking to attack their neighbors out of the blue. Iraq had a long standing disagreement with Kuwait which Kuwait chose to ignore.

          China would never “squash” Taiwan. Taiwan is far too valuable to simply obliterate. Again, most of the tension over the Taiwan issue was caused by our government’s shenanigans in wanting them to declare total independence from China. There is no reason for any of it other than to set up China as the next “evil empire”, from which our government will require trillions in tax payments to “defend” us.

          1. “When so much of our life-line resources like oil come from overseas, how can you say we should withdraw our troops from the volatile regions we so desperately depend on?”

            The majority of our oil comes from Canada, Mexico, and Venezuela, not the middle east as you seem to mean by “over seas”.

    5. Sorry, you may be a “firm believer” in libertarianism, but it seems to me that you do not really understand it. It is not their job, nor is it morally correct, for the U.S. government to coerce other nations into adopting American ways.

      The free market doesn’t need government or military assistance. In fact, these parasitic institutions only ever serve to stifle a true free market. Freely trading with all nations is the very best thing we can do for them. Thus will they come into contact with Americans and our notions of liberty.

      We cannot force the world to become capitalists, but we can show them, by our own good example, that liberty and free trade is the only clear way to prosperity. Unfortunately, many people in our own nation no longer seem to believe this, or understand how it can be. Some of these people even refer to themselves as libertarians!

      1. Please see my reply to “Old Mexican.” I believe you are mistaken in thinking we can get rid of government altogether, and without some (however small) form of government which has the power to enforce contracts and rights the free market would fall to the first violent tyrant who came along. I have never seen a definition of “Libertarianism” that even came close to having absolutely no government or police.

        1. Nowhere did I say to get rid of all government (although I’ve heard worse ideas). But a government that uses its military to enforce its will all around the world can never possibly be small. I don’t know how you think it could be. So… see above!

  10. John’s right! Have you ever watched the Drug War Clock as it ticks away all our hard earned tax dollars? http://www.drugsense.org/wodclock.htm

    Or the US Debt Clock http://www.usdebtclock.org/

    Alcohol prohibition in the US run from 1919 to 1933 – Now google ‘The Great Wall Street Crash’ and see when that happened!

    During alcohol prohibition, all profits went to enrich thugs and criminals. Young men died every day on inner-city streets while battling over turf. A fortune was wasted on enforcement that could have gone on treatment. On top of the budget-busting prosecution and incarceration costs, billions in taxes were lost. Finally the economy collapsed. Sound familiar?

    If you have liberty then expect prosperity, but there’s most definitely no chance of prosperity without liberty.

    To support prohibition you have to be either ignorant, stupid, brainwashed, insane or corrupt.

    1. Re: malcolm kyle,

      To support prohibition you have to be either ignorant, stupid, brainwashed, insane or corrupt.

      Or buy into the canard that the “interstate commerce clause” gives government the authority to engage a war on drugs and anything else tat strikes its fancy and… Oh, sorry – you already included that with “stupid” and “corrupt”. My mistake.

  11. Yes I do not agree with him on the NPR cuts because he is from faux news. If you read my first post I agreed with him on everything else. Maybe I overreacted but one should question the fairness in trying to cut one news source when he works for a competitor. A fully privatized media is prone to problems. They can try to be neutral, left leaning, or right leaning. My only source of news are NPR, daily show and Colbert report, and websites like this. NPR actually interviews ppl within the country and are less dependent on talking heads. I don’t agree with everything they say in their programs but they often time just report the facts. So I stand wholeheartedly behind my support of NPR and I already a member contributor. I am all for smaller government but why can’t the government be small and have just 1/8 of it’s budget be a public broadcast.

    1. Re: Choppa,

      Yes I do not agree with him on the NPR cuts because he is from faux news.

      Beautiful display of logic and reason, Choppa. Keep it up…

      Maybe I overreacted but one should question the fairness in trying to cut one news source when he works for a competitor.

      The fact that the so-called “competitor” receives funding from stolen money (i.e. what you would call with some sort of sick sense of humor “taxes”) whereas Fox receives its revenues from entirely voluntary transactions being a Never Mind to you, right?

      I am all for smaller government but why can’t the government be small and have just 1/8 of it’s budget be a public broadcast.

      Because several other rent-seekers will say the exact same thing and ask for a piece of the action… as in “c’mon, how much can be ‘a little'”?

    2. cut subsidy does not equal “force off the air”. They’d be fine and dandy without the subsidy. They provide quality programming.

    3. You are probably just a troll, but here goes:
      1. Neither running nor funding a media outlet is an enumerated power of Congress.
      2. State funding implies state control, and state-controlled media are inherently not objective.
      3. Members should therefore want funding to be cut in order to eliminate any perception of pro-government bias or state control.

      1. Before WWII, Winston Churchill couldn’t speak against the Nazis because the only outlet, BBC, was government run.

    4. Giving money to one competitor but not others is “fair”? This word, I don’t think it means what you think it means…

    5. Choppa,
      So you admit that you count as a “news source” 2 comedy shows?


      1. That was the most LOL comment in the whole paragraph. Got to be a college dorm rat.

    6. “Yes I do not agree with him on the NPR cuts because he is from faux news.”

      And that’s why you should be ignored outright with this sort of logic.

      I guess it means little the scams CBS pulled or that the effen NYT had an impostor inventing stories for the longest time or that MSNBC commenators are every bit as specious as Glen Beck in their oft-hyperbolic nonsensical gibberish.

      You have no logical, reasoned argument here. If “your side” was free of such abuses then you may have a point but you don’t.

      It’s a form of logical fallacy.

      As you were…

  12. My only source of news are NPR, daily show and Colbert report, and websites like this.

    Please define what you mean by “news” first; then I will laugh AT you.


  13. Can any of you do math?

    I’ll even pretend his numbers are correct – he says:

    1.5 trillion deficit
    Cut $246 billion discretionary
    Cut $93 billion SS
    Cut $281 billion healthcare
    Cut $150 billion military/defense

    = $2 billion surplus?

    Good luck with that.

    No wonder nobody takes you people seriously.

    When you want to sit at the adult table and have an adult conversation, let us know.

    1. Sentence #2: “It also says that over the next decade we’re on track for annual deficits of “only” $768 billion.”

      1. Sentence #2: “It also says that over the next decade we’re on track for annual deficits of “only” $768 billion.”

        Was that not bigger than Bush’s largest deficit prior to his signing of the bank bailout?

      2. Oh, i thought he meant the deficit this year…not in a decade.

        Hell, that’s easy, any progressive could do that.

        1. Do you mean fix, or understand? If you mean fix, do you mean by taxation. *Still* haven’t heard a reason why that’s moral.

        2. They’ve sure had a hell of a time trying to make it happen in the last 54 years.

  14. I’m afraid that summarily cutting the Department of Energy isn’t a great idea. They do far more than just “energy investments.” The biggest bit that shouldn’t be cut is the cleanup of the nationwide plutonium production complex, i.e., Hanford, Savannah River, Pantex, etc., etc. It was government actions that created these hazardous conditions – isn’t it their job to assure that things are set back to as right as they can be? (You’ll never, ever make a site absolutely pristine, but you can get close enough).

    Also, DOE runs a number of national laboratories that do the heavy lifting of basic reasearch, then spin it out to the commercial world as soon as possible. We’ve reaped far far more from the output of these labs over the years than we’ve spent, both in products and in knowledge.

    Look a bit deeper into your subjects, please, John.

    1. Not to mention the part of maintaining and securing the nuclear arsenal.

      1. That should be the DoD’s problem. And we really don’t need that many nuclear weapons.

        1. I prefer having the nukes under civilian control, but that may just be me. Getting rid of nukes would increase the DoE’s budget in the short run. As we’d have to keep spending money to maintain and guard the existing arsenal and spend money to dismantle the old ones. Not that I disagree with you on the basic premise. But until they’re dismantled the maintenance and protection of the nuclear arsenal is in the category of spending that should not be touched.

          BTW, you are aware that we just signed a treaty indicating that we’d reduce our nuclear arsenal?

          1. I have some news for you that might shock you.

            A whole bunch of our nukes are under military control, which, as it turns out, is under civilian control in the form of the president of the united states.

    2. That doesn’t fix the problem that government shouldn’t be directing the economy. And there’s no reason why commercial laboratories couldn’t do the “heavy lifting.” They would probably do it better than the government.

      There’s no reason why private companies can’t clear up those sites. It’s just uncreative thinking that prevents people from finding profitable ways to do so.

      1. Private companies -are- performing the cleanup work, under oversight and direction of DOE as the customer. Myself I do work for a contractor to DOE performing D&D & cleanup work. The only direct DOE forces in the field are there to watch and make sure that everything is done to approved DOE documents (Orders, Procedures, Guides, etc.).

        The problem with this situation is that it is all too amenable to distortion through political pressure – such as the time in the ’80’s when eastern Washington had one senator, and South Carolina had 3.

    3. “We’ve reaped far far more from the output of these labs over the years than we’ve spent, both in products and in knowledge.”

      How do you know that ?

      1. Get out of your basement some time.

        Look around.

        Hell, you can read these words, right? Why do you think that is so? Oh, right, government research.

        1. Still doesn’t mean that we might reap *even more* if we did it privately. And it was hardly the government which made all the electronics we know today. They got us started. It’s entirely possible that we would have gotten here quicker without government development.

        2. Oh I forgot, Al Gore invented the internet.

          1. *Citation needed* Oh wait! I have one!


    4. Also, DOE runs a number of national laboratories that do the heavy lifting of basic reasearch, then spin it out to the commercial world as soon as possible. We’ve reaped far far more from the output of these labs over the years than we’ve spent, both in products and in knowledge.

      What you mean “we,” kemo-sabe?

    5. Actually the DOE does not dispose or of waste nuclear material, private companies do, the DOE just charges for it.

  15. Only politics stands in the way? Whew, what relief. I feel much better now.

  16. Of course, Stossel left out the tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires that is actually tax spending… that is one of the BIGGEST contributors to the debt. And trying to argue that tax cuts create jobs is like trying to show all the awesome jobs that were created between 2001 and 2008. Oh they were service jobs? my bad!

    Btw geniuses…. Social Security is not part of of the deficit or the debt.. it is a completely separate program!

    1. Crystal, stop being such a commie. It’s the rich who pay 70% of the taxes in America, it’s the rich who start companies that employs progressives like you who then go around bitching about their bosses.

      As for social security, it’s a poncy scheme. I say privatize that sucker before it’s too late.


      1. You misspelled Ponzi, but that aside you’re completely correct. Social Security isn’t some sort of government superbank, it takes your money in and pays it to those who already have. It requires new payments to ensure that those already recieving benefits actually do. In addition, it needs three newbies to pay one person’s benefit.

        It’s a Ponzi scheme, just government run.

        1. If I die before the Ponzi scheme I am a victim of collapses, is it a Ponzi scheme?

          If the government actually invested the enormous amount of money it receives every year for the SS trust, you would all be up in arms yelling about government takeover of the energy sector/healthcare/research/whatever else.

          I would also bet good money that 90% of people who claim to be libertarians would go batshit if their mother’s monthly SS payment stopped coming in.

      2. Gregory Smith,

        It was Stossel who is saying that in order to balance the budget, in order to reduce the deficit… is to privatize Social Security. Whether you think it’s a scheme or not doesn’t isn’t the issue. SS is a completely separate program that neither increases or decreases the deficit. Therefore, Stossel is misleading people when he says that privatizing SS will magically decrease the deficit – either willfully or ignorantly or both.

        It’s the rich who used to pay an income tax rate of 70-90% between the 1940’s to 1980, when a family could survive on a single income and we weren’t running up huge deficits. Today, ALL of us have the lowest personal income tax rates since the 1940’s. So quit your bitching about taxes and pay them like a real patriotic American, rather than justifying why libertarians deserve be selfish and greedy.

        And sorry the economical and historical evidence doesn’t support your theory that companies magically start companies that give us good jobs…out wait they DO! In India or at Applebees!!

        1. Listen, stossel really doesn’t give a shit about your math. He just wants to cut as much as anyone will let him, so he tries to come up with what he thinks is the most “politically acceptable” way to phrase “taking an ax to anything i can.” Of course he is being disingenuous.

          Have you ever heard of a libertarian reducing future growth and revenue prospects when they cut programs? Of course not. Do they tell you a ton of their ideas add to the debt? Of course not. If the debt doubled tomorrow because we agreed to cut taxes in half again, or add a trillion bucks by cutting romney care, he’d accept that. He has NO INTEREST IN THE DEBT WHATSOEVER. His sole mission is cutting federal programs. He assumes once they are gone, then he can stop paying taxes too. This tripe is a means to an end, the same as his lying.

          They really don’t care what happens to you or the country or the world, or the human species for that matter…they just want their precious…oh my precious…

          They’re just a bunch of greedy, selfish, intergenerational welfare queens. You’ll get used to it.

          1. What libertarian ideas would increase the debt? Do tell.

            1. Repealing healthcare.

              Cutting taxes.

              Plenty more in the long run when you start to look at lost productivity and lost tax revenue…

              …and the rest of your ideas are just inefficient cost shifting…why would i want to pay a profit to a ceo to educate my kid when public schools COULD do it for less? Why would i want to pay more in interest for my student loans so some asshole can have a bigger jet? Why would i want to pay for some clowns fourth and fifth house instead of getting single payer? No thank you.

              A libertarian would rather pay 20% of his income for health insurance, 20% to educate his kids, and 20% for roads and tolls and “protection”…than 35% for all of that to the government.

              1. A libertarian would prefer to be given the chance he can pay for all that…in 10%.

                Public schools don’t do it for less. They do it with taxpayer dollars. And you wouldn’t understand how that is not “free,” no how the free market would prevent you from being gouged.

                Cutting taxes wouldn’t increase the debt, if we cut the spending moreso. Or did you not read the article?

                1. Yes, in a libertarians head, he’d rather pay 60% on the off chance he “may” pay 10%…he’ll also end civilization if he gets to pay 0% taxes along the way. I get it.

                  Unicorns, son, unicorns. Some day libertopia will be here…

                  1. Unicorns are biologically possible, but nevertheless nonexistent. Give ’em a break.

                    You *still* haven’t provided an ethical justification for taxation. On top of that, you don’t have any evidence to back up your claim that freedom will destroy civilization.

                    I won’t even bother trying to clean up your economics mess. Who is John Galt?

              2. A libertarian would rather pay 20% of his income for health insurance, 20% to educate his kids, and 20% for roads and tolls and “protection”…than 35% for all of that to the government.

                Yes, we would, because we could finally make the decisions for ourselves, or even choose not to buy some of them, and the competition of the free market would inevitably bring those prices down.

                1. Good point. If John Smith Health Insurance can give me package X for $1500, why would I buy an equivalent package from William Doe for $2000? The desire for profit will actually bring the prices down.

              3. Curious: how would cutting healthcare increase the debt. Spending less doesn’t increase spending. If you think that, you’ve got some serious psychological issues.

                1. There should have been a question mark in there.

                  1. The only people who love the “unicorn” concept, are those who think we can tax and spend our way to prosperity.

                    Fucking statists. Do they work?

                    1. I disagree with you on one point, Doktor Kapitalism. Unicorns do exist, they are just invisible and pink! Just ask your friendly neighborhood atheist!

        2. Social Security isn’t *supposed* to increase the deficit because it’s *supposed* to be fully funded. This past year the government had to borrow money to meet it’s SS obligations. Unless something is done, these obligations are only expected to increase and require more borrowed money. How exactly does borrowing money and paying interest not increase the deficit and who’s being willfully ignorant here?

          You might also try learning to read. Gregory didn’t say that the rich pay a 70% tax rate, he said that they pay 70% of the tax money collected. The numbers that I’ve seen indicate that the top 20% of earners pay nearly 80% of the taxes collected.

          Let’s see, you’re saying that companies never take their profits and invest them in expansion and hiring, they only downsize or outsource, and our savior is the government taking our money then hiring us back with it. Good luck with that.

    2. Social Security’s money is being used to cover up the debt. Plus the government still won’t be able to pay benefits much longer. It will stop being used to cover the deficit and start being part of it.

      1. …or you could tell the truth and remind everyone that it can pay 100% of its benefits forever if we’d make a small correction to it, equivalent to the size of the bush tax cuts for the rich…and even if we don’t, until 2037, then reduced benefits after that forever…

        1. Or we could just get rid of the thing.

          And said “small correction” is…?

          1. Yeah, don’t try to get SM to actually show his work there. It would be way to difficult.

            Of course, this is the same moron that thinks inflation is going to save our bacon, as if the last 35 years weren’t a complete rebuke to that.

          2. Doktor Kapitalism|2.3.11 @ 10:35PM|#

            And said “small correction” is…?

            Raising the age to collect benefits to 78 years old should do it.

    3. Crystal Dawn, your whole post is idiotic, but let me address this one point in particular:

      “social security is not part of the deficit or debt..it is a completely separate program.”

      You do realize that starting this year social security is going to run yearly deficits which will grow larger. Where do you think the money comes to cover that deficit? Think hard, or ask somebody.

      1. Except, no. It will run a surplus again adding over a trillion bucks to the trust fund…but don’t let the facts get in the way of a good diatribe.

        1. +1 for SM!
          Zero for Alex because he doesn’t realize that the SS trust fund is completely separate from the regular budget and must pay it’s own way, by LAW. Next!

          1. See below.

            “The lost revenue is to be repaid to Social Security from general revenue funds, meaning it will add to the growing national debt.”

            Tell me again how social security is “completely separate.”

            1. They are stealing from it for a tax cut. It is completely seperate. It has a trust fund, and is, BY LAW, completely seperate.

              Buddy, they’re still putting 6.2% in the fund, they’re just refunding us 2% from general revenues as a stimulus. Twist words all you want, hell, i can prove they’re taking the money from the chinese government to put in SS, so they must be one and the same…

          2. Zero for Alex because he doesn’t realize that the SS trust fund is completely separate from the regular budget and must pay it’s own way, by LAW. Next!

            Christ, if nickels were brains you wouldn’t have enough money to take a bus across the street.

            Here’s a clue for you, sugar-tits–the “trust fund” money isn’t there. It’s gonem, already spent. So when SS starts running deficits next year, the Treasury will have to–wait for it–SELL A BOND in order to buy back the SS IOU. That bond means interest, costing taxpayers EVEN MORE as the interest on the bond has to be paid back (or not, but if the government can’t make good on its bond payments, well, Katie bar the door then, right?).

            Just because the law says it has to be paid its own way doesn’t mean it will be. Hell, the law says banks aren’t supposed to commit fraud, but you aren’t seeing anyone go to jail for the CDS games during the housing bubble.

            1. This post is so true, he had to quote himself as he wrote it! But really, I thought everyone knew that S.S. will increasingly be funded by outside tax revenue and budget transfer shenanigans. This ponzi pyramid is upside-down people!

        2. It will run a surplus again adding over a trillion to the “trust fund”? Really? Please enlighten me as to where this trillion will be coming from?


          Here’s some quotes for you:

          “The program has been supported by a 6.2 percent payroll tax paid by both workers and employers. In December, Congress passed a one-year tax cut for workers, to 4.2 percent. The lost revenue is to be repaid to Social Security from general revenue funds, meaning it will add to the growing national debt. ”

          So tell me again how social security is “completely separate.” Especially considering the fact that we’ve been taking money from social security funds to pay for things outside of social security, and now we will be paying for social security out of general revenue funds. “For much of the past 30 years, Social Security has run big surpluses, which the government has borrowed to spend on other programs” and “The $2.5 trillion surplus, however, has been borrowed over the years by the federal government and spent on other programs.”

          “New congressional projections show Social Security running deficits every year until its trust funds are eventually drained in about 2037.”

          “This year alone, Social Security is projected to collect $45 billion less in payroll taxes than it pays out in retirement, disability and survivor benefits, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday. That figure swells to $130 billion when a new one-year cut in payroll taxes is included, though Congress has promised to repay any lost revenue from the tax cut. ”

          “Now that the system is running deficits, it simply becomes clear that we need to act on Social Security reform.”

          (and this is all ignoring the fact that the “trust fund” is simply made up of IOU’s.”

          You live in a fantasy world.

          1. SS trust fund isn’t full of IOU’s.. it’s full of U.S. Treasury Bonds. The evil FED has never missed a payment on a Treasury Bond. That’s why most Americans and foreign banks invest in them. Unless of course you believe conspiracies.

            1. What do you think the Treasury bonds are? They’re IOU’s. Just b/c they’re backed by the US government doesn’t mean they’re not pieces of paper that states the government will repay what it took out of social security to pay for other programs.

              Again, tell me how it’s separate. The very fact that we’re talking about the Treasury bonds the government put in the “trust fund” shows that it’s not as separate as you wish. The government dips into social security funding to pay for other projects, and now will begin to pay for social security benefits with general revenues.

              Separate my ass. Don’t be so blind.

              1. I should add in that the bonds are actually worse than IOU’s, as the Supreme Court has already ruled that people have no right to their social security benefits.

                So the government, if it realizes it can’t pay these IOU’s, can simply (and legally) decide to pay only a portion on each IOU.

                So technically, it’s like borrowing 10 dollars off of someone (if we ignore that we “borrowed” it by pointing a gun at the person) and giving them a piece of paper back that says “I borrowed 10 dollars off of you, and I may or may not pay you the full amount.”

              2. So if your kid has a bond, he’s part of the government? Interesting.

            2. “The evil FED has never missed a payment on a Treasury Bond.”


          2. You just pointed out how tax cuts add to the debt. Thank you.

            SS covers itself and has a massive surplus built up.

            For one year everyone agreed to give a tax cut from general funds back to people as stimulus.

            At its legal rate of 6.2% forever, it is fully solvent til 2037, plus can pay benefits forever at a reduced rate after that…assuming we don’t make a slight adjustment.

            Nice try though. We new you conservatives would try that crap after we agreed to a tax break.

            1. Don’t try to change the subject, feeble as your attempt at changing the subject is.

              The surplus, as already pointed out, is in IOUs.

              You’ve done nothing to address my point about how “social security is separate” is a farce.

              I also like how your argument boils down to “Social Security is fine…..until 2037.”

              And in your world, social security only covers itself after benefits are reduced, something which nobody is willing to even discuss at this point. That’s solvent to you huh?

              “Oh this program’s fine! We just will continue to collect the same tax rate and pay out less and less! Perfectly solvent. Nothing to see here.”

              You and crystal should team up and write a movie or something, you both are very creative BS artists.

              1. Its in bonds, just like if you or i or anyone else bought a bond. That wouldn’t mean that we are broke and wasted our money. We have a bond right there.

                Read the trust fund’s report, then get back to us. Its solvent for a long time, and easily forever with one minor tweak.

                1. No, it’s not the same. I’ve already pointed out the difference, and I will do so again.

                  What happens to the person who receives the benefits from a bond purchase? If you or I buy a bond, there’s a legally enforceable contract stating what the conditions of that bond sale are. When the government owes this money to itself to pay for a program that has been ruled by the Supreme Court to not be required to pay back stated benefits, then the calculus changes. The government can, at any time, figure out that it cannot afford to pay those exact same benefits that it was before, and payments will decrease. There is no obligation by the government to its citizens to pay what it says it owes today. Why would the government need to put the equivalent revenue into social security based on what it states it owes today, if they change what is owed? For example (just for argument’s sake), let’s say the government says “we can’t afford any more social security payments, so we’re not paying out any more SS benefits, starting tomorrow. Would the government still pay back money into social security, even though it has no outlays left to consider?

                  You also continually ignore my above point, that to pretend social security is some separate thing is a complete and total joke, considering the commingling of revenue from social security and the general fund.

                  Thanks for playing.

                  1. Bush Did It!
                    damn him and his fuzzy math!
                    sorry, i couldn’t wait any longer…

    4. No, Social Security is not completely separate. Its funds are not even kept separate, not since LBJ dumped them into the general fund where they’ve stayed.

      The deficit/debt represent all government outlays, including S.S., Medicare, etc.

      Some of you people really will believe any government propaganda out there won’t you?

  17. I’m sure he’s got explanations, but how does the Department of Education just “get in the way”? How would letting the private sector run education be beneficial? I get the impression half the time that some people believe that the private sector is the shining light of morality. Let’s be real and acknowledge the numerous shortcomings of both government and private sector before demonizing one and venerating the other.

    1. Have you seen the US education system? It’s terrible. And the reason for this is that it is stagnated, without any competition.

      Why are Catholic schools usually better? Because they have to do a good job to keep students. If they do a bad job, then students will leave. Public schools, on the other hand, get their money no matter how badly they do.

      The USED has spend literally tens of thousands of dollars on kids by the time they graduate high school, and some can’t even read. Then they spend $3000 and a private tutoring agency and learn more than they did in twelve years of subsidized schooling.

      1. No argument from me that our education sucks, but what is to keep the private sector from turning education into profit centers? What prevents them from spurning disadvantaged kids because they decrease the “prestige” (and therefore profits) of the school? And who pays for said kids school?

        1. Profit is icky

        2. You obviously don’t understand libertarianism. This is your problem, not theirs. They don’t really care if a single person gets educated. Its supposed to be a free country.

          You have a lot to learn if you want to fit in around here.

          They love to point out that every “socialist” experiment failed, but hate when people point out their “libertarian” experiment is failing too: Somalia.

          Now, they say “drink!”

          1. SM,

            Do you have a mental handicap or something? You equate libertarianism with somalia? I’m sorry, but you show a painful lack of awareness and understanding of what libertarianism is.

            Here’s a hint: It’s not complete statelessness. Beyond that, if you want me to educate you, you’ll have to pay me for my time, b/c it’s going to take a lot to educate you. I’m talking about a team working around the clock, holding meetings, having seminars, to get a clue into your dumb cranium.

            1. Here’s a hint: there are 2 types of libertarians – statists and anarchists.

              Now, i never know which i’m talking to…so i guess you’re a statist.

              In that case, you realize there is a role for the government, and the entire disagreement is over what that role is. Luckily, the gross majority of us think it has a role in education. We have come to a different conclusion than you have over what the state is effective at doing. If you’d like to discuss this rationally, by all means.

              I will point to the states around the world that educate their children better than any minimal or stateless country, and argue that we should emulate them – that it provides the greatest cost/benefit in the long run. We should be Finland.

              I assume you’ll agree when you see the benefits.

              1. The gross majority can be wrong. If the gross majority think that killing Jews is okay, does that make it so, Mr. Hitler?

                1. Brilliant! You disagree, you’re Hitler!

                  Now we see what libertarians really are…corporate fascists…

                  …the difference is, you don’t a vote in a corporation.

                  1. In a corporation, you can quit. The point I’m making here is that just because the majority thinks it, it is not right. Just because the majority thinks that education should be in the private sector, does not mean it is necessarily so.

                    1. You can’t vote out a corporation that influences your life, the world you live in, etc. Its a lot more complicated than you think…

                    2. In a libertarian nation with contract law, it wouldn’t be. Most of economics is just an excuse for big government. Get rid of that, and it’s so much simpler.

                      A corporation would not be allowed to use force. You can simply quit, or if contract forbids quitting, don’t sign the contract. It would not be allowed to adversly affect those unaffliated with it, and it would loose any adversly affiliated customers.

                      The Free Market fixed a lot more than you might think.

              2. Belgium has two educational systems, one that allows students to take the money wherever they want. They do better than we do.

                We shouldn’t be Finland. If you like it so much, we have a website for that: http://www.finnair.com/finnair…..ale=en_INT

                1. We “shouldn’t”? Says who? I thought we voted on this stuff around here…you hate democracy too?

              3. You confuse libertarianism with statelessnss.

                1. You think libertarians agree on anything.

            2. We wouldn’t want to be. Why don’t we vote with our feet. Those who like capitalism can stay. Those who don’t can go where they don’t have it.

              I don’t hate democracy, but I think that majoritarianism is seriously flawed. If 98% of the population votes that not being Christian should be punishable by death, does that make it right?

              1. If you don’t like it, you can vote with your feet.

                Listen, someone with power is going to beat you with their stick – this is what libertarians fail to grasp. They think if they break the governments “monopoly” on power, it will all just go away.

                Good luck with that.

                If i decide to build a sewage plant on one side of your house and a bomb factory on the other…you won’t have any say about it. You’ll be crying for big daddy government then, i promise you.

                1. No, I won’t. I’ll buy my house in part of a housing development, where it will be part of a bigger property with part of the contract that no industrial or commercial action occur on the property. Or just buy a house with other houses on all sides. No one wants to bulldoze houses to build their chemical plant, they’ll go somewhere else.

                  I’m not an anarchist, but a minarchist. I want to limit government to its legitimate functions of defense and stopping violent crime. Said government would protect me from whomever is holding this stick.

          2. They love to point out that every “socialist” experiment failed, but hate when people point out their “libertarian” experiment is failing too: Somalia.

            Yeah, because the leaders of Somalia preach about the virtues of a limited constitutional government whose only purpose is to protect individual rights.

        3. Yes, they would be profit centers. They make their profit by providing education.

          Some schools would spurn disadvantaged kids. No all would. No man with a gun would prevent YOU, Confused, from creating a private school for poor kids.

          The school would be paid for by the parents, who could afford it if they didn’t have to pay education taxes (by which I mean taxes that go to public schools). Or we could have vouchers, where the money is attached to the kids, and they can take it wherever they want.

          1. Right, maybe someone would just teach kids for less than it costs, because they don’t like profit. Maybe you people who had those retarded kids should’ve thought about that before they were born. Now its your problem.

            You hypocrites are amazing…they love to talk on the internet in this country…but hate how it came to be.

            1. The internet originated as a project between universities. It was devoloped by the military and government labs. But the massive improvements came from the private, profit seeking sector.

              Maybe people can create private schools that can teach poor kids at a price their families can afford and still make a profit. Maybe we can afford to teach those “retarded” kids. Maybe those private companies developing genomics can prevent anymore “retarded” kids from being born.

              Maybe YOU, SM, could teach those kids. But is it my responsibility? And do you have the right to take my money to do it?

              1. Nice revisionist history. ARPANET, MIT, government funded.

                You are proof, however, that our schools are failing.

                However, i think we should improve them, not disband them.

                You are an intergenerational welfare queen. What gives you the right to squat on the foundation that others sacrificed for, paid for, worked for? Get the fuck out if you don’t like it.

                1. Unfortunately there is no better alternative to the US currently. The countries that have more economic freedom have less social freedom and vice versa. I would love to go to a libertarian country. Its a wet dream really.

                2. I’ll concede that my understanding of internet history is not perfect. I did however credit the military and the government. But most of the applications of the internet were developed mainly in the private sector (Microsoft, Apple, etc.).

                  We’ve tried state-run schools to death. Reducing the amount of bureaucracy will help, not more. If a private company tries something, and it doesn’t work, they try something different. The government throws more money at it. Education is a prime example. Instead of actually fixing the problem (bad teachers and inefficient methods) they came up with No Child Left Behind, which mandated more funding, better grades, and provided no machinery to achieve it. What a nice way to say big waste of money.

                  I happen to have been raised in one of the better school districts, so your point is void.

                  As for a welfare queen? Seriously? Taxes and the cost of internet and computers contradict that claim.

                  And where do you want me to go? Socialist Europe. Communist China. The theocratic Middle East. Despotic Africa and South America? That’s why I’m glad that space exploration is finally being privatized, and find the Seasteading Institute very interesting. Let’s get away from you communists! Who is John Galt?

                  1. Sure the government payed for the Internet, in the same way that the Wright brothers’ uncle who spotted them $5, payed for United Airlines.

                    SM should worry less about his social security checks and more about filing that lawsuit against the Department of Education for abusive neglect. Thankfully he’s now got Obamacare to help soothe the headaches he gets from typing. If only there was a tinfoil prescription program, we could fix the voices that taxless rich people transmit to his fillings…with those EVIL corporations! Bwhahahaha!

    2. It’s not just about “letting the private sector run education.”

      It’s about getting the FEDERAL government out of the education business. States and localities would still run public schools. The difference being that a state or locality would be much more informed about what works or what doesn’t work in its area than Washington DC.

      It’s not just about private schools when talking about cutting the department of education. It’s about getting rid of federal controls and spending which have done little in the years the DOE has existed. You do realize that the DOE has only been around for like 35 years right?

      1. By “federal controls” he means 10% of the teachers of every school in the US…after they cut the budget.

        Plus every single pell grant and student loan in this nation…we can pretty much end college enrollment except for the rich.

        They have no plan, however, to deal with the 10s of trillions lost in productivity over the next generation.

        He’s just happy he got his. F all you and yours.

        1. You don’t seem to understand: if the government would get it’s grubby paws of our money, we could pay for our own college.

          And if you understood the first thing about economics, you would know that free economies are so much more effective than mixed or command economies.

          1. You seem to think they are holding your money tree hostage.

            The gross majority of people pay very little in taxes…if the government gave them back their tax money…THEY STILL COULDN’T AFFORD IT.

            The one thing i’m sure of is the libertarians ability to convince people that public schools are failing by simply opening their mouths.

            1. Maybe they could. Laissez-faire capitalism is the only untried system. When all the taxes, bureaucracy, and legislation are torn away, maybe they could afford it.

              Maybe, if we had capitalism, we wouldn’t have nearly so many poor people.

              1. Tried in somalia.

                They could my ass. They’d get paid less than they do now. When we had “free markets” people were worked to death by corporations, no education, it was a terrible time to be alive. You have no knowledge of history. Imagine that.

                1. Excuse me? Somalia? That’s no capitalist country. It’s a gangland.

                  And we *NEVER* had a free economy is the US. The Gilded Age was full of government subsidies for big business. Railroads got tax cuts for miles built.

                  No education–hardly. Plenty of states had public education. The kids didn’t care. Most of the kids preferred factory work to the non-learning they got at schools.

                  You’re so fast to criticize capitalism, but we haven’t tried it in it’s pure form. Socialism–tried it. Fascism–tried it. Communism–tried it. Mixed Economy–tried it. Feudalism–tried it. Capitalism, free of government subsidies and without unnatural barriers to entry hasn’t been tried.

          2. “It’s” shouldn’t have an apostrophe.

  18. End, Department of Education.
    End, Energy Department.
    End, EPA.
    End Commerce Department.
    End, All subsidies.
    End, Agricultural Department.
    Cut Defense 25%.

    That’s good for a start.

    1. I think we can keep going.

      End most of the “Executive Offices.”
      End the HHS
      End the HUD
      End Department of Homeland Security. The useful bits can be put under different departments.
      End the Bureau of Indian Affairs
      End most of the Department of Labor
      Most of the Department of Transportation could be given to the states.

      1. Very good, but end the Department of Labor.

        1. I’m not opposed to that, but I think until we manage to privatize Social Security we’ll need the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The rest can go immediately.

  19. Anyone else having a problem replying to posts?

  20. END traffic lights! I could easily make it to work in 13 minutes flat if those dang red lights weren’t time controlled and at every dang intersection obstructing my ability to make it on time. Freeeeedom!!!

    Libertarianism only works at like village level. Add real world complexities like population growth, economies of scale, and globalism and their fantasy land simply collapses.

    1. If you want to engage in silly misrepresentations of the counterargument b/c you’re not bright enough to understand/respond with well thought out arguments of your own, then fine.

      Start a government department in charge of driving! Government agents in every car to drive everyone around, thus eliminating reckless driving, intoxicated drivers, etc.

      1. If she wanted to engage in silly misrepresentations she’d be a libertarian.

        The entire plan: unicorns. If we were all “free” everyone would have all the unicorns they need…obviously.

        Why can’t you people just be honest?

        If the entire population died off because of your libertarian experiment, YOU DO NOT GIVE A FUCK. You would not abandon it at any point, because its more important to not pay taxes than it is for humanity to continue. You HOPE it works better, but that is not an overriding concern.

        You are fundamentalists wrapped in a different cloak. We all have to worship your arbitrary ideals of we’re “enslaving” you.

        Take your jihad to somalia.

        1. 1. Take yours to the PRC.

          2. We’d be perfectly willing to back off–if it turned out not to work. But did the Soviets turn back despite their failures? Does the failure of the mixed economy today lead to calls for privitization? I think not.

          3. We hope it works, because everything else is a nightmare.

          4. Finally, no, we don’t care. We think, we don’t emote. Try it sometime.

        2. You continue to have no concept of what libertarianism is, or what it means. Then you try and claim Somalia as a libertarian paradise based on your ignorance.

          It’s not surprising, apologists like you have been spouting your BS for decades, scaring people into making societies worse based on your own flawed statist philosophy. A philosophy that we have seen slaughter TENS of millions in the past century alone, and yet that does not give you pause.

          Meanwhile, nations that free their economies, and depart from the central planning model see their economies, and their citizens’ lives prosper. The most free economies in the world turn out to be the most prosperous, and yet you still advocate chaining those nations down with central planning, because to hell with prosperity, we must rule these people from above b/c we just know better, damnit!

          You are sickening.

          1. Somolia is about as close to Libertopia you can get.. no govt. regulation and every man out for themselves. To give you a 100 percent example of absolutely no goverment involvement is like SM said, giving you a unicorn.

            If you people truly want to have an adult conversation we can. But to create these unattainable contigencies of freedom, these “if only if it was completely free then it works, I swear!” then you can go back to la la land. Communism doesn’t work, just as the complete opposite doesn’t work.. libertarianism. A complex world requires mixed economies. One magical answer of freedom is along the lines of Ayn Rand’s nemesis.. religion (based soley on belief). Ain’t it ironic. p.s. Rand collected Social Security and Medicare. Snap!

            1. Again, you demonstrate that you don’t know what libertarianism is, and therefore you don’t know what you are arguing about.

              Anyone that uses Somalia as an example of libertarianism shows a deep level of immaturity or idiocy. Unless you think that imposing Sharia law, which some parts of Somalia do, is somehow libertarian.

              1. Ok give me ONE, just ONE real world example where libertarianism works. “Only if’s” don’t count. sorry :(.

                1. I was going to write this long post describing how libertarianism is a philosophy, and not an end point, and that it’s much harder to find true libertarian movements being successful because people generally don’t like to freely give up power once they assume it in government……but I’ll stop myself and just give you a quote (and this doesn’t speak to libertarianism as much as it focuses on individual freedom through free market capitalism, which is a tool of libertarianism):

                  “In the only cases in which the masses have escaped from grinding poverty, are where they have had capitalism and largely free trade. If you want to know where the masses are worst off, it’s exactly in the kind of societies that depart from that. So that the record of history is absolutely crystal clear, there is no alternative way, so far discovered, of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by a free enterprise system.”
                  –Milton Friedman

                  In short, one would have to be willfully ignorant to ignore the success of not only countries that generally employed the free market in their growth, but also the success of those nations that have cast off departures from the free market.

                  Look at the most prosperous economies in the world. Are they generally more or less free market? Look at the worst off countries in the world.

                2. You’d be wise not to cross libertarians, we’re a gun toting lot that lacks the stricter moral convictions of the religious right. Some of us, might be legally medicated and have altered the behavior-control centers of our brains… so basically just like Democrats but with balls and actual principles.

            2. Somolia is about as close to Libertopia you can get.. no govt. regulation and every man out for themselves.

              And those warlords spout libertarian ideology the way Hitler spouted National Socialist ideology and Stalin spouted Communist ideology, right?

              Now go douche your disease-infested cunt.

              1. Shut up.. Hitler wasn’t socialist just because his party used the word. Just as ‘conservative’ republicans aren’t really conservative. Go galt, douche bag.

                1. What do you mean by conservative. That term covers a who lot of ground. And John Galt was certainly no conservative. He was a classic liberal (not one of these nannies who call themselves liberals today).

            3. SM is a clueless state-loving twit, crystal. The sooner you realize that, the better off you’ll be.

    2. So the only form of governance that works for larger populations is top-down, one-size fits all, rule by self-declared experts?

  21. Don’t feed the trolls. Too late, the stupid is like a thick doughy paste.

    1. “Don’t feed the trolls” is libertarian for “they’re going to make us look like asses again.”

      Get used to it. You’re full of hypocrisy and shit, i’m just not sure in what proportion.

      1. Let’s see, you post on a liberterian website when you obviously have no idea what it means. You spout misrepresentations, insults, and outright lies while completely ignoring all evidence to the contrary and angrily accuse everyone else of being a hypocrit. Sorry, but the only person looking like an ass around here is you. To coin a phrase, “What is your major malfunction, numbnuts? Didn’t Mommy and Daddy show you enough attention when you were a child?”

      2. “Don’t feed the trolls” is libertarian for “they’re going to make us look like asses again.”

        Yeah, I noticed you dropped your “let me spout a random theory” MO right after I called you on it. Looks like now you’re limiting yourself to repeating the same endless talking points your idiot professors gave you in class this week.

        Get used to it. You’re full of hypocrisy and shit, i’m just not sure in what proportion.

        I must admit I’m getting quite used to confirming you as a dumbass college student.

    2. Trolls? I laugh at you. It’s the Ron Paul junkies who troll message boards all day spreading their love of greed.

      1. There the statist goes again. Demonstrating his confusion that libertarians want the most people to prosper, and think this is somehow greed.

        Guess what, central planning makes people worse off. Not ignoring this doesn’t make one greedy. It merely makes one observant.

        1. “Greed” is a term used by people who a) engage in wealth-envy and b) want government to tax the bat-fuck out of wealthy people.

  22. On this website, I expected more than Facebook-level comments.
    Your post, John, demonstrates just how deeply in debt we are, and–as you’ve indicated–the actual number is, in all likelihood, greater.
    We must, indeed, drastically slash spending; thereby, increasing freedom.
    Please continue to intelligently and effectively assert Liberty’s ways.

  23. Um, is he really saying that spending money in a democrat republic would be easier without politics involved? How else does he propose to make these decisions?

  24. Was that footage of Anderson Cooper getting his bell rung?

  25. Yeah, but women don’t watch FoxBiz.

  26. So don’t enroll 50% women and Title IX isn’t a problem.

  27. Women are of course interested in sports. That’s the best place to land a husband.

  28. They should arm wrestle for Title IX.

  29. Receiving federal tax dollars brings strings attached? Huh.

  30. Are professional athletes overlaid?

  31. The market uses reliable scouts.

  32. This is the worst episode of PTI ever.

  33. Lou isn’t a big outside-the-box thinker.

  34. Stossel breaks a hip! Tonight on Fox Business Channel.

  35. Reilly’s combover is brutal.

  36. The assemblyman must make arbitrary judgments. If you don’t let him do that, what’s he going to do all day?

  37. Bring It On was Tarantino’s bloodiest film.

  38. Ha, the MMA fighter calls watching political doublespeak “painful”.

  39. Stossel laying money on Green Bay? Probably a good bet.

  40. Poker? I don’t even know her.

  41. Steve Budin? No way his name doesn’t end in a vowel.

  42. Liquor in the front, poker in the rear.

  43. Steve draws the line at hookers.

  44. Who the hell is the victim in prostitution? Other than my wallet, heyyyy-ohhhh!

  45. Stossel’s sarcastic voice pokes its head out, sees its shadow, an early break is given!

  46. Ouch, John lumps women and disabled players together in opposition to male athletes.

  47. Go Stillers! Make Stoss cry!

    1. Seriously? Are you high?

      1. FOE liveblogs the stossel show, I don’t know if or how high he is.

        1. High on life, baby! And sometimes cough syrup.

  48. The article was enjoyable, but the real entertainment is to be found in some of the comments. It’s amazing how dumb they’re making people these days.

  49. All very well and nice. Just one question: why is it that every “I am going to balance the budget” guy starts with the petty cuts such as NPR or Amtrack before going to the real stuff?

    1. look up the recipe, “How To Cook Whole Frog”…

  50. >> Reason magazine editor Matt Welch wants to cut the Department of Homeland Security, “something that we did without 10 years ago.”

    1. Well, all things considered, we didn’t and don’t need it. If the flight rules had made any sense in 2001, the September 11 attacks would have never gotten off the ground, literally. Those guys took planes with 4″ knives. Any third grader could have figured out that was enough. But the rules let them fly.

      We don’t need a massive bureaucracy to fight terrorists. We need common sense customs and flight rules.

      1. It takes a village AND bureaucracy. You stupid unicorn-huggers think we need NO government at all, when the exact opposite is true – we need more and more government, at all times, to cover all contingencies – because humans are stupid creatures, and must be led by those who know better.

        1. “because humans are stupid creatures, and must be led by those who know better.”

          Oh lawd. Just a few things for you to know: The government is just people, as human as the rest of us. And since government has incentives problems ( caused by it’s monopoly power) and calculation problems ( caused by the fact it doesn’t work in accordance with the price mechanism, like private firms do), “those who know better” really DON’T know better. To paraphrase F.A Hayek, “the amount of information dispersed in the market is much greater than the information in the minds of a few central planners” .

          And no, humans aren’t stupid creatures. You are just an arrogant, narcissistic fuck who thinks like a 15 year old kid who think’s he’s better than everyone. That’s how dictators are born.

          And also, LOL @ people who think Somalia has anything to do with Libertarianism. Somalia was a Socialist country ruled by a Communist party for 30 years, got in wars with Ethiopia all the time, eventually the people rebelled, took down the government and started a civil war that lasts to this day. It doesn’t just have one government, it has SEVERAL governments ( read: warlords) fighting each other, and this is the result of the failure of Communism.

          Fucking Statists, man.

  51. Suppose all those useless government departments were cut off with the stroke of a pen. The effect would be the firing of tens — or maybe hundreds — of thousands of bureaucrats and a huge chain of specialized businesses that depend on government funding for their very existence. Can you imagine the effect of that massive unemployment on the economy, especially when most of them learn that the lobbyist market is already glutted? I’m not sure whether it woube funny or horrifying.

  52. The printing press is creating very high inflation in domestically produced services. Health care, education, military, etc… This is part of the reason the budget cannot be balanced. They print to make the price of imported Chinese shoes go up (part of the CPI), and this makes service inflation go wild (not in the CPI).

  53. Whilst I commend the desire to balance the budget, you make it sound significantly easier than it is. Many of the cuts you suggest have little thought put into them. The main reason I say this, is that you suggest the U.S have 30,000 troops in Germany and 9,000 in Britain to protect these countries and that they should pay for this themselves. The American troops in these countries are there for American stratgic reasons, such as missile detection systems run by the U.S with U.S interest at heart

  54. I’m gonna share it in Facebook, this is really awesome

  55. Get government replica uggs out of education and kids will get educated or fake uggs for sale not, as their parents desire. More of them will actually become educated without government than do now with it.

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